THE OWNER of the German Shepherd Dog best of breed at Crufts says she is ‘deeply shocked and terribly upset’ by the criticism of her bitch.
Her triumph at the show had turned into the worst nightmare of her life, she said.
The movement of Susan and Stuart Cuthbert’s Cruaghaire Catoria attracted a storm of controversy and was severely criticised by commentators on Channel 4’s Crufts coverage including the Kennel Club’s veterinary advisor Nick Blayney and secretary Caroline Kisko – despite the fact that the bitch passed her KC-mandatory veterinary check at the show.
Mrs Cuthbert said she had been ‘blissfully unaware’ of the negativity surrounding one of the best show days of her life until Monday, and called the comments directed towards her ‘beautiful’ dog ‘horrendous’.
“Words cannot express the heart-wrenching experience I have suffered,” she said. “This is so unreal I want to believe it is untrue and to wake up.
“Soundness in mind and body is a crucial part of the German Shepherd breed. The vet who examined my bitch before she was presented with her BOB certificate deemed her to have no visible condition which adversely affects her health and welfare. This is the second KC-required vet check she has passed in the last six months.”
She said the comments made on TV were ‘unbelievable’.
“Especially when one considers the brevity of the images,” she said. “How can you judge a dog on such a brief observation? There is a clear lack of tolerance and knowledge of our breed.
“It should not be a surprise to anyone why the GSD breed in the UK is being strongly drawn towards the German SV system – Germany being the founders of our breed just over 100 ago and they have established the most comprehensive system of any other breed in the world, which insists that dogs meet strict conformational criteria according to the German breed Standard, hip and elbow grades and assessment of the spine along with formal character assessment, endurance test of 20k gaiting.
“As if it was not upsetting enough that my bitch faltered under the heavy media coverage in the Arena on what should have been the happiest day of my show life, to then be tried and convicted on social media and the press this has now become the worst nightmare of my show life.”