In the Dog House

By: Simon Parsons


In the Dog House

LAST WEEK I mentioned the question of whether in the case of ‘partnership shows’ (those held in conjunction with another show at the same venue) you could judge at one and exhibit at the other. The answer turns out to be no.

I do feel that the Kennel Club should hurry up and get this policy enshrined in the show regulations, if this is how it wants to proceed, as there does seem to be some confusion about this.

For example, John McCarthy tells me: “In 2016 I judged Dalmatians at Border Union in Kelso. On the same day and at the same venue the Dalmatian Club of Scotland (DCS) held its annual championship show judged by Bill Deamer.

“My wife and I, who own all our dogs in partnership, wished to show under Bill but questioned the position as to whether we would be breaking KC rules.

“A telephone call to Brian Stevenson, secretary at Border Union, reassured us that the two shows were separate events sharing the same venue on the same day and that we were entitled to exhibit at the DCS show despite my judging on the day. On the day neither Bill nor I saw each other until the end of judging.

“A further telephone call to the KC rules department confirmed the same position that the shows were treated as separate events and no conflict was involved.

“With the KC encouraging shared venues, and Birmingham sharing its venue with ten individual club shows, changing this ruling would seem both stupid and short-sighted.

“I am aware of many other clubs looking at shared venues as a means of both increasing the entry numbers and of cost savings which help to keep entry fees under control. This is also practised in Ireland and on the Continent. I have not heard of any problems resulting from it.”

Thanks John. It doesn’t seem to be entirely clear when the KC changed its position on this scenario, but I am assured it has! As I say, an official announcement would surely be appreciated.

To my mind the sad aspect is that it is the poor old specialist judges who will be penalised. It is they who might well also want to show at the ‘other’ show held that day (or even on a different day) but will now have to miss it which must be frustrating if it was a judge they would particularly like to show under.

When you agree to judge, you obviously agree to forego showing at the show concerned; that goes without saying and we all accept that. But to find that it means you have to forego a second show could well be rather irritating. After all if you are chasing a third CC, points towards a Top Dog award, junior warrant points or whatever, every show can potentially count.

Thank you Brenda

I’M SURE you will all join me in sending very best wishes to both Brenda and John Banbury and in hoping that we will see them at a show in the not too distant future.

You’ll have read last week that Brenda has decided to retire from judging. This can’t have been an easy decision for someone who has given so much dedication to her judging career over several decades so it’s a good time for us all to say thank you to her for her great enthusiasm for the task and for her unvarying courtesy to her exhibitors, not to mention her avid quest for knowledge of all breeds.

For many years Brenda was one of the British judges most in demand in Europe and beyond and one can be certain that she was always a super ambassador for the British dog scene.

Thank you Brenda.

One of the breeds for which Brenda was well known in the show ring was the Pug. There were Flocktons champions in Pugs, Schipperkes and Pyrenean Mountain Dogs.

Rising registrations

WHAT DO you think about registrations rising? Well in general terms it’s surely better than the opposite. Clearly we need a flourishing supply of pedigree dogs – indeed there’s a case for saying that within reason, the more the merrier; the demand for well bred pups is as strong as ever and the fact that there aren’t enough of them at any one time is of course one reason why so many of the general public turn to puppy farms, crossbreeds and so on.

If an increasing proportion of the puppies bred come from people who register with the Kennel Club, that can only be a great thing. One can never be sure what proportion that is but if people are choosing to breed from the lines whose history is preserved through the KC registration system, then that’s an encouraging trend indeed.

And from the KC’s own point of view, the registrations are the core of the club’s business, so the more revenue they bring in, the more other aspects of the club’s good works they can finance.

Of course in reality it isn’t quite as simple as all that. Different breeds have different trends in registrations and there are hundreds of different stories to be told. Take my breed the Pembroke – it enjoyed a rapid rise, starting in the middle of the war, after being something of a curiosity, all thanks to the royal patronage. This peaked in the late ‘50s, since when there has been a gradual decline, finally reaching ‘vulnerable’ status a couple of years ago. Now things seem to have bottomed out, so we in Pems are welcoming the slight increase we have seen and hope that a very slow rate of growth can bring fresh opportunities to the breed. It would be even better if a higher proportion than 50 per cent came from people breeding from lines we are familiar with in the show scene.

Conversely take a breed like the Frenchie, experiencing the most terrifying population explosion in living memory; indeed half the increase for the first three months of this year over the same period last year comes from this one breed. We’ve all written reams on this subject but in this context I can safely say that no lover of the breed can possibly regard the registration rise with anything other than horror.

In between, each breed has its own individual stories; some will be happy with a rising trend, some the reverse. It’s impossible to generalise.


AKC museum on the move

IT LOOKS as if the American Kennel Club Museum of the Dog is to move from its current location in St Louis to somewhere in New York City. Quite why it went to St Louis I can’t remember but, with all due respect to that city, the museum will surely vastly increase its footfall once it is more obviously on the tourist trail in the Big Apple. I for one would love to see its many treasures in the shape of paintings, sculptures and so on, donated by benefactors which the arts seem able to attract in the US.

In this country we already have the gallery in the Kennel Club headquarters in London, always worth a visit and especially when one of its themed exhibitions is on, though probably not on the average tourist’s radar and never open on weekends.

My dream, however, is still of a proper museum devoted to all aspects of the dog, not just art, and I’m sure that, properly managed, it would be a tremendous attraction to the dog-loving public and could also help steer people in the right direction on the various issues which regularly arise regarding dogs and dog ownership.

Within reason, the location wouldn’t matter too much thanks to the relatively small distances between the main centres of Britain, indeed somewhere rural would clearly offer much more space for the price.

The equine world has obvious focal points such as Newmarket in England and Kildare in Ireland; there isn’t anywhere comparable for the dog world though some still regret that the KC didn’t buy Ettington Hall, the one-time home of its founder Sewallis Shirley, when it had the opportunity.

Could a partnership be arranged with one of the country’s stately homes? Often one of these houses needs something to make it distinct from its rivals as a tourist destination, and one might have thought that a subject as close to people’s hearts as the dog would be just the thing.