This week's Dog World Comment


This week's Dog World Comment

IT IS pleasing to have some unequivocally good news to report this week, with the announcement that Crufts is to host the next Eukanuba World Challenge.

  At a time when the country in general is taking a more inward-looking stance, it is good that this does not apply to our leading dog show.

  The World Challenge has become one of the most exciting developments in the show scene in recent years, with the opportunity for exhibitors to represent their country being very much coveted. In our view, anything that can bring together not just exhibitors but dog people as a whole from around the world is to be very much encouraged, and will hopefully have many benefits beyond the short-term thrill of competition.

  The pedigree dog world faces many of the same challenges around the world and if administrators and those with influence on the future can meet up this way, surely only good can result.

  This will be the tenth anniversary of the competition which began at Long Beach, California, as part of the American Kennel Club/Eukanuba National Championship. A few years later it and the whole show moved to Orlando, Florida, rather less of a journey for most of the international competitors.

  After the sponsoring company split in two, it was the European Eukanuba that retained its enthusiasm for the Challenge, rather than Mars who took over the American side of the business. Indeed from this year the brand is no longer sponsoring even the AKC National Championship, Royal Canin taking over.

  Thankfully the Challenge itself continued, albeit on a rather less extravagant scale, but with the support of the Fédération Cynologique Internationale, which happily will continue even at Crufts. 

  For the past two years the popular end-of-year event in the Netherlands, the Winner Show Amsterdam, has hosted the Challenge successfully. Now the event will reach a much larger potential audience as part of what is still (thanks to the overseas visitors) the world’s largest dog show.

  The event is timed for before the group judging on the Thursday and Friday. The hope must be that this will encourage spectators to stay on for the evening programme on those two days. Sometimes the huge Arena can seem less full on the weekday evenings, even though there is no extra charge, so the extra spectators supporting their country’s representative will be very welcome.

  No doubt the vast majority of the competing dogs will also be participating in the breed judging. The timing should ensure that any clashes are kept to a minimum, and we would hope that the show officials will keep an eye out for any possible cases of dogs needing to be in two places at once.

  The ironic aspect is that in the early days of the World Challenge, our own Kennel Club never seemed to show a great deal of enthusiasm for it. Most of the national governing bodies of the dog world made the decision on how their representative would be chosen, usually either the winner of a specific show or event or the Top Dog calculated on a points system. The KC, however, did not take part in this as far is the UK representative was concerned, and this has always been determined as the overall winner of the Eukanuba-sponsored champion stakes final.

  Gradually, however, the KC has become keener on the event, with officials attending it and accompanying our representative into the opening ceremony. And more recently there has been more direct involvement, in that the Crufts BIS winner has also been invited.

  Now Britain has become the host country and we all look forward to an exciting final with many of the world’s outstanding show dogs appearing together in the same ring. 

IT MAKES sense that if the Kennel Club allows Chihuahuas and Belgian Shepherds of a different coat type to their parents to be registered as what they are, rather than what their parents are, the same should apply to Collies and Dachshunds.

  At long last the KC has allowed this to happen for the small number of Rough Collies which appear in Smooth-bred litters.

  It appears that the KC wants to do the same for Dachshunds, though its announcement on Monday turns out to have been somewhat premature. We hope this will indeed happen – the recent crowning of a Swedish-bred Miniature Long bred from two Mini Smooths highlighted the lack of logic of the current situation.

  However there is opposition from some of the breed clubs and even we were rather surprised when the announcement, now withdrawn, appeared, as there was no reference to health testing requirements. There are problems which appear in certain coat types but not, or at least not in the same form, in others, and we would agree with the Dachshund breed council that any ‘recessive’ puppies registered should be tested clear of any problem, such as Lafora’s disease, which can appear in its parents’ variety.

Once that is sorted out, the way should surely be clear for this long-standing anomaly to be cleared up once and for all.