PLANS by the Kennel Club to clamp down on the German Shepherd and its presentation in the show ring are impractical and disappointing, the GSD League of Great Britain believes.
And recent proposals made by the KC could be ‘very detrimental’ to the breed, the League believes.
“We’re unclear how they are expected to achieve the objectives of addressing public concern,” said chairman Shirley Hutchinson.
Last week, the KC’s GSD review group announced that several courses of action were being considered including changes to the Standard, a review of the breed’s high-profile veterinary check and measures to stop the practice of double handling.
The KC swooped on the GSD after the Crufts debacle, when the best of breed came in for a barrage of criticism for her movement and demeanour in the ring. As a result it formed the review group to tackle perceived problems with the breed,
The current situation could damage the reputation of breeders, the health and welfare of pedigree dogs and KC-licensed shows, a spokesman said last week. Conformation and temperament of the breed were a cause for concern and the group believes these are ‘strongly linked to the culture of double handling’.
The group considered deregistering the breed and removing its CC status, but for the present is looking at other measures including providing advice and guidance on how to present a GSD in the ring, monitoring judges and curtailing double handling.
It may also insist that all judges, including those from overseas, undertake the education and training before they can award CCs in future.
Mrs Hutchinson said she hoped more detailed information on the review group’s findings would be shared soon with breed clubs.
“This would allow them to consider them and respond appropriately,” she said. “We were not consulted by the review group and feel that it is important that the KC continues to consult with representatives from the breed as they did in 2014 and ‘15.”
Since the League’s annual meeting in March it has been working on several action points. Among these are plans to organise seminars and other opportunities to educate GSD judges, breeders, handlers, trainers and owners in matters concerning the Standard and its interpretation, and an ‘internationally renowned’ expert has been secured to help produce a booklet on common constructional problems and how to eliminate them
“This will be launched at an educational event alongside presentations from another very important guest from the GSD world,” Mrs Hutchinson said. “Such publications and events take time to develop but we hope that diaries permitting the event will take place towards the end of this year.”
Action will be taken to protect the GSD’s public image; regional shows will continue to promote health, identification and temperament as key principles. Judges are being encouraged not to promote exaggeration ‘in any form which is detrimental to the health of the exhibits’, Mrs Hutchinson said.
The League is monitoring all photographs used in its publications to avoid any which are posed in an exaggerated manner, has introduced a health certificate system which records the mandatory health and identification requirements of regional shows and is talking to the WUSV regarding the aftermath of the Crufts controversy.
The League’s council will be meeting to discuss the review group’s findings.
In April the KC suspended the League’s registered status for a year, saying it should not use the term ‘champion’ for its regional shows or run its own Sieger show.
Today the council said it was disappointed that the KC’s appeal tribunal had upheld the suspension of its KC registration but encouraged that there were ‘positive opportunities’ for differences to be resolved.
“We are determined to have our KC status reinstated in order that we can continue to be a positive force for the GSD community in the UK,” Mrs Hutchinson said.
The League wants there to be one Sieger show a year and, from 2017, run by the League and the British Association for German Shepherd Dogs (BAGSD) working together as the two WUSV member clubs.
“We set aside our plans to hold a Sieger show this year and ran an extremely successful National Spectacular show last weekend,” Mrs Hutchinson said. “Many of our ideas for development of the Sieger show were trialled at this event and we will be very carefully considering the feedback from exhibitors and members in preparation for future events.
“We have written to BAGSD and the GSD breed council requesting that they consider that future British Sieger events should be run by the two WUSV clubs – GSDL and BAGSD. No reply has been received from the breed council. The BAGSD’s executive committee has decided that they do not wish to exclude the breed council from the British Sieger event.
“A meeting was held between delegates from the League and BAGSD during which the problems between the two clubs were discussed frankly. While there was no magic solution to eradicate these difficulties overnight, it was agreed that the problems should be put behind us and we should look to the future with a fresh start.
“This will be done by a total review of the WUSV working group agreement which was written in 2002 and updated in ‘05 – the objective being to set out a pathway to co-operation. BAGSD feels unable to commit to any changes to the British Sieger organisation until the WUSV working group agreement has been revised.
“The League has asked that until such time as an agreement is reached on working together on the British Sieger, the BAGSD and the League alternate hosting of the event and have requested that if necessary we should be allowed to run the 2017 event having forsaken the planned 2016 event.
“BAGSD has agreed to raise this matter at the next British Sieger working party meeting.”
The League is also to seek a more effective structure in Britain through which all GSD clubs can work together ‘for the betterment of the breed’.