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Episode 128 - Debbie Connolly discusses Crufts 2012 vet checks

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Released Tue March 13, 2012
Length: 0:30:30
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Debbie Connolly discusses Crufts 2012 vet checks

This will be the Crufts we all remember, because for the first time we have fifteen high profile breeds having to pass a vet check to be awarded best of breed.

 - Debbie Connolly

At Crufts 2012 the Best of Breed winner in fifteen high profile breeds had to face a vet check to prove they were in good health. These fifteen breeds are the Basset Hound, Bloodhound,
Bulldog, Chow Chow, Clumber Spaniel, Dogue De Bordeaux, German Shepherd Dog, Mastiff, Neapolitan Mastiff, Pekingese, Shar Pei, St Bernard, French Bulldog, Pug and Chinese Crested. Of those fifteen, six dogs failed the vet check, those being the Neapolitan Mastiff, Mastiff, Clumber Spaniel, Bulldog and Pekingese & Basset Hound.

This move has attracted widespread comment both in support of and against the vet checks, and it is a complex issue. To help make sense of it Julie spoke to experienced dog expert and animal behaviourist Debbie Connolly on what's really going on, and what the future might hold for pedigree dogs in the UK.

To find out more about Debbie Connolly visit her SafePets website or find her on Twitter or Facebook.

To find out more about the Kennel Club, visit their website, or find them on Twitter and Facebook too, and below you can read the Kennel Club's press release about the vet checks. If you have a strong opinion about the new vet checks, do get in touch and have your say.

Kennel Club press statement

NO CRUFTS CHAMPIONS IN HIGH PROFILE BREEDS AT CRUFTS 2012 UNLESS
VETS GIVE CLEAN BILL OF HEALTH

All dogs of the fifteen ‘high profile’ breeds which win Best of Breed at Crufts 2012, and all Kennel Club licensed General and Group Championship Shows after that, will need to be given a clean bill of health by the show veterinary surgeon before their awards are confirmed and they are allowed to progress to the next stage of the show. This requirement is designed to improve canine health and protect the sport of dog showing.

This move was taken by the Kennel Club on the advice of its Dog Health Group, in order to ensure that the fifteen high profile breeds, which include the likes of the Pekingese and the Bulldog, do not bring the whole hobby of dog showing into disrepute.

In addition, before a Champion title can be confirmed for any dog or bitch within these breeds, the dog will have to undergo a successful veterinary examination at a Group or General Championship Show.

Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: “There are 195 breeds whose participation in the hobby of dog showing is overshadowed by the small minority of people within some high profile breeds who seem to continue to breed, and the judges who occasionally reward, unhealthy dogs, and who by so doing are bringing down the reputation of the hobby and the rest of the dog showing fraternity.

“The Kennel Club must ensure, for the good of dogs, that only healthy dogs go home from dog shows with prizes. We need to show that the show ring is, as Professor Patrick Bateson said it can be, a ‘positive lever for change’ in the world of dogs.

“This action will not only protect the reputation of the majority of dog showing people who put the health and welfare of their dogs first and foremost, but it will also continue to encourage improvement within the high profile breeds themselves, ensuring that the healthiest are justly held up as an example for others to follow.”

The changes come after measures were put in place in 2009 to try to ensure that only healthy dogs are rewarded in the show ring. Judges now have the power to remove dogs that look unhealthy from competition. Professor Steve Dean, Chairman of the Kennel Club and himself a veterinary surgeon, said of the new requirements: “Show vets will be given clear guidelines
and will be directed to prevent dogs from continuing at the show in question if they are suffering from a clinical problem which adversely affects the dog’s wellbeing.

“This move will enable the Kennel Club to work with vets to assess the real progress that breeds are making at senior award level and to take to task more effectively the minority of judges who pick unsound or unhealthy dogs to the show ring as their winners.”

"For some of the breeds this will still be a huge challenge. but the intent is to improve the overall health and welfare of dogs and if the veterinary checks helps achieve this then it has to be a step in the right direction."

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