Crufts judge thinks twice after KC’s GSD shake-up


KC imposes tough measures on GSD: Standard to change

THE GERMAN Shepherd judge at Crufts 2018 is having second thoughts about the appointment following the Kennel Club’s shake-up of the breed.

Nikki Farley – who is WUSV/GSD League British Regional Group chairman – said she was not sure that the KC could ‘break its contract’ with her that way.

“I have a contract and letters from them and nowhere there does it say anything about having to re-sit an examination,” she said.

“So I need to look at more detailed information and think very seriously about it.

“What the KC has done is horrible, but it hasn’t really surprised me.”

The KC has clamped down hard on exhibitors and judges, and announced yesterday that the breed Standard is to change on August 1; judges are to be scrutinised and all 2018 contracts suspended until the judges involved have attended an education seminar; and KC representatives are to be sent to shows to put a stop to double handling.

  In addition, the GSD’s category three veterinary check is to be reviewed.

  The KC said it had been working closely with the GSD clubs over 'a significant number of years' in an attempt to address issues surrounding the breed. 

  "However, it appears that the various initiatives designed to improve matters have had very little effect and this in turn is serving to damage the reputation of dog breeders, not just in this breed but across all breeds,” a spokesman said. 

  "Matters came to a head at Crufts this year where the exhibition of GSDs once again came under intense scrutiny, which merely served to reinforce the KC’s concerns for the breed’s future. As a result of this, a review group was established to examine the issues surrounding the GSD."

  The KC believes the culture of double handling, 'widely practised and condoned at breed club shows’, has a particularly detrimental effect on the temperament of dogs, who often show symptoms of enormous stress while being exhibited and at other times, the KC said. Erratic movement and apparently exaggerated conformation were other concerns which the review group looked at.

  "In attempting to address the worsening in the breed’s reputation the General Committee, guided by the review group, initially considered deregistering the breed and/or removing its CC status,” a KC spokesman said. "Both these measures would have had the effect of driving breeders outside the influence of the KC, doubtless causing a further decline in the breed, and eventually implementation was decided against.

  "Another measure, making it compulsory for breed club championship shows to be held in conjunction with group and general championship shows, was also discussed but has not been implemented at this stage due to the huge changes in infrastructure which would be necessary.”

  In June, the General Committee expressed concern about the situation which, it said, it would not allow to deteriorate further. Included in this announcement was a list of stringent measures it was considering in relation to the breed. Today the General Committee made the following directives:

  • * The GSD Breed Standard is to be changed from August 1 to include additional wording to emphasise the importance of the dogs being capable of standing comfortably and calmly, freely and unsupported in any way. The Standard will read, 'Characteristics: Versatile working dog, balanced and free from exaggeration. Must be capable of standing comfortably and calmly, freely and unsupported in any way, in structural balance, whilst both rear pasterns are vertical. Attentive, alert, resilient and tireless with keen scenting ability’. 
  • * Each judge of GSDs 'must understand their role, which includes proper control of the ring and adherence to KC regulations at all times'. Judges who ignore the breed Standard and/or allow double-handling will risk having future CC appointments rejected.
  • * All championship show judging contracts for 2018 and beyond are suspended with immediate effect until such time as each judge has attended a KC judges’ education seminar. The KC is to establish a programme of these seminars throughout the UK for championship show judges and expects all judges of the breed to adhere to the points made, which will emphasise that the breed is to be exhibited in the same manner as all other large pastoral breeds. 
  • * KC representatives will be appointed as soon as possible to attend all championship shows where CCs are on offer for the breed. They will work with the show societies and judges to curtail double-handling and will have executive authority to put into effect the previously agreed escalation procedure for double handling if the show societies and/or judges do not do so. Shows which allow double handling will risk having their future CC status rejected.
  • * There is to be a review of the category three breed veterinary check guidelines for the GSD breed to ensure that health and welfare concerns continue to be addressed.

  KC secretary Caroline Kisko said the KC had been given no option but to address the issues. 

  “The breed itself seemed to be taking far too long to address them, and this came to a head at Crufts this year,” she said. “The health and welfare of dogs is the primary objective of the KC and, where a breed experiences any issues in this respect, we have an obligation to take action where it can. The time for that action is now.

  “This situation simply cannot continue as not only is the health and welfare of the breed at risk but this is having a detrimental effect on the reputation of all breeders, pedigree dogs, dog showing and the KC. The implementation of these measures involves a considerable financial commitment on behalf of the KC, which demonstrates the level of investment that has been made to protect the future of this breed.”

• Read more: 'GSDs can no longer be stacked, say KC' >>

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