A FILM of a judge going over a Pug at a Swedish show has caused controversy on the internet and led to the judge being asked to explain his actions.
Ake Cronander awarded ‘excellent’ to the dog who some believe was in respiratory distress at the time.
The YouTube film has been viewed thousands of times, resulting in Mr Cronander receiving criticism – although more people have defended him. But this week the Swedish Kennel Club (SKK) Board said it deeply regretted what its members had seen on the film, and the fact that a Pug with ‘clinical signs of distress related to breathing’ was rewarded at a show.
However, Mr Cronander, a Pug breeder, told DOG WORLD that the Pug had no breathing problems and was only anxious because she was new to the show ring.
He said that after the criticism began he asked the owner to take her dog for a veterinary examination, and that this had resulted in a clean bill of health and a veterinary certificate stating as much being issued.
He claimed temperatures that day had risen to a maximum of 35 degrees Celsius in the sun.
In a statement the SKK said it had worked intensively on the education of judges on ‘how to handle exaggerated anatomical features in their duties’.
“Breathing has been in focus both in general and specific texts within the ‘Nordic Breed-Specific Instructions’, and there is also video production specifically focused on breathing difficulties available on YouTube,” the Board said. “We therefore deeply regret the scenario pictured on YouTube regarding the examination and rewarding a Pug with clinical signs of distress related to breathing at the show.
“The judge on duty has been asked to explain his actions, according to procedures to be followed when situations like this are brought to our attention. The process is not yet complete.”
The SKK does not expect ‘such scenarios’ to happen again, the statement said.
“Our ambition is to make sure that every judge at shows in Sweden will fully comply with breed-specific instructions and the importance of the health aspects in the evaluation of exaggerated anatomical features,” the Board said.
“This incident very clearly shows the continuous need for attention towards exaggerations in anatomical features and the importance to continue the work with these instructions.”
But Mr Cronander said in his opinion the Pug was a healthy dog.
“She has also had a veterinary examination which showed no problems with his breathing,” he said. “I asked the owner to do this because of what is being written about her dog.
“It was the dog’s first show and she very strongly protested about being put on the table and having a hands-on examination. Pugs have a strong will and can object very strongly and loudly if they don’t like or approve of something. Protests like these can also occur when handled by unknown persons at a show or when visiting a vet. This behaviour should not be interpreted as actual breathing distress, especially not so if a dog, in spite of its strong objections, resumes a normal behaviour and movement.
“This dog was of excellent type, in very good condition. In my opinion, a dog with breathing problems can’t show such good muscle tone and be in such good condition.
“The most interesting thing is that her tail was up all the time, and that would not have happened in a Pug with breathing problems. When she was given a treat she made no sound as she was eating it, which means she was breathing through her nose with no noise. It’s quite simple; she is a healthy dog who was just upset at that point.”
Temperatures that day were about 28 degrees in the shade and between 32 and 35 degrees in the sun, Mr Cronander estimated.
“The breed that the biggest problem in the heat that day was the Irish Wolfhound,” he said. “There were greater sounds of breathing coming from their ring than the Pug’s.”
In a bid to ensure that potential breeding stock in brachycephalic breeds meets expected criteria with regard to breathing, the SKK is collaborating with vets and other groups. There are six focus areas:
An update on nationally and internationally available data on the prevalence of health problems related to a brachycephalic conformation.
Investigation of the possibilities to centrally register diagnoses and surgical procedures related to exaggerated anatomical features.
Revision of the puppy health certificate, mandatory to all puppies sold by members of SKK, to include more focus on constitutional aspect on health.
Develop a protocol and veterinary certificate for potential breeding stock on breathing capacity ‘intended as a merit’, if necessary be made compulsory before breeding.
Further training on exaggeration for judges, vets and breeders.
Consumer education on health risks related to a brachycephalic conformation.
Watch the film at https://vimeo.com/144294227.