A COUPLE of very interesting things happened over here at the weekend as the year’s championship show circuit really started to move in to gear.

One show saw its entry climb steeply – by almost ten per cent – over last year while the other took advantage of a new Kennel Club ruling that allows smaller shows to dispense with costly benching.

It was UK Toy Dog Society that saw its entry climb and that was all due to hard work by members of the committee. There really is a need for shows to think about innovation and of course one of the things people, certainly in the UK look for more than anything is a good deal.

Well UK Toy offered them that deal with five entries for £100. There was also an award for best veteran in show in memory of the late Ellis Hulme, this was in addition to the usual best in show and best puppy in show. For secretary Tom Mather and his team to see entries soar by 7.5 per cent, up to over 2,300 is no mean feat in these difficult economic times, even if the politicians do tell us that the economy is growing again!

UK Toy Dog has always been at the forefront of promoting youth and this year saw 19-year-old Dominic Santoriello promoted to assistant manager, working alongside the always capable Mhairi Brown.
Also shining on the day was 11-year-old Ryan Ross joining the society’s show team.

For the second year running best in show at the United Kingdom Toy Dog Society was the Yorkshire Terrier Ch/Int/Jap/Norw/Fin/Dan/Port/Blr Ch Royal Precious JP’s F4 Juliana, owned and bred by Yoshiko Obana from Japan and handled by Sergio Amien from Spain. Judge this time was Ann Ingram from Ireland. On previous visits to the UK Juliana has also won two group places at Crufts and has another group win. Sergio has now handled the UK Toy BIS three times in addition to one RBIS there.
photo Walker

Best in show judge was Ann Ingram from Ireland who chose, as BIS for the second year running at this show the Japanese-bred and owned Yorkshire Terrier who lives in Spain, Ch/Int/Jap/Norw/Fin/Dan/Port/Blr Ch Royal Precious JP’s F4 Juliana.

THE SCOTTISH Breeds Canine Club held its 30th general championship show at the Royal Highland Exhibition Hall in Edinburgh last Saturday. With 12 breeds scheduled (ten with CCs) the show caters well for Scottish breeds, making it is easy to see why it is a popular event on the show calendar attracting a total entry of 701 dogs.

The significant thing about this show, however, was that it was a first championship show without benching. The total of number of dogs entered was below the Kennel Club threshold, so the society had applied for permission to hold an unbenched show and permission was granted. Instead, large grooming areas were made available near each of the rings.

Patsy Hollings’ choice as best in show at the Scottish Breeds championship show was the Bearded Collie bitch Sengalas Breaking Dawn at Clovabrae owned by Colleen Stead, who handled her, and Angela May, who bred her with husband Nick. Winning her second CC, she is a daughter of all-breeds BIS winner Ch Sengalas Indiana Jones, ex a German-bred Crufts group-placing bitch. It was a good show for both owners as a puppy from Colleen’s first litter was BP in the breed, and the Mays made up a champion male.

In the opinion of some this seemed to boost the overall atmosphere of the show, as there was no cumbersome unoccupied benching taking up vital space within the hall. The whole area was far more ‘open plan’ allowing people to move about and socialise more freely. However ‘solo’ exhibitors complained that without a show companion, benching or a cage they were restricted in their movements and unable even to make a trip to the toilet without having to ask someone to hold their dog.

Benching is a big issue over here as it has always been a requirement for championship shows to provide it for exhibitors. There is a rule too that says their dogs should present on their bench at all times during a show other than when being exhibited, toileted or exercised. It’s a rule that many ignore and that no one seems prepared to enforce. What it means in effect for the show societies is that they pay a vast amount of money – many thousands of pounds – to provide these benches which ten lie empty for the duration of the show, it must be extremely galling!

In recent years, as money has become tighter and the days of the large sponsorship cheque from Pedigree becomes just a distant memory, show societies have been looking at ways to cut costs and benching has been in the spotlight. The Kennel Club has therefore agreed to allow some smaller shows to run without benches to see how it all goes. Disappointingly for many Scottish Breeds’ decision to run without benches did not result in the kind of saving in entry fees that many had hoped would be the result of no benching, the cost of entry was just £1 per dog less this year than last.

It will be interesting to see how any other shows that opt not to have benching get on and if it does make a significant difference to the cost of entries.

Somewhat more worryingly is the threat that the UK will see a case of Rabies confirmed before this year is out. That is the predictions of Paul Anderson who runs a company called Pets2Go that transports animals across Europe. Paul and his drivers regularly see infringements of the pet passport scheme and he fears that checking is so lax that it is ony a matter of time before Rabies and other infectious disease make their way into the UK.

Of course for many years it was virtually impossible to bring a dog into the UK. Any animal coming in had to spend six months in quarantine to ensure it wasn’t infected by rabies or indeed with anything else. Since 2001 though rules have been less onerous then a couple of years ago there was a further relaxation and its this that Paul Anderson believes puts the UK at risk.

As ever in these situations it is not the responsible owner or breeder who creates the problem. What Paul says he sees are what in effect are puppy dealers trafficking unhealthy animals across Europe for vast profit. He says that, for example, a French Bulldog puppy that can be bought for a few Euros in Romania can be sold for up to £1,500 to an unsuspecting and gullible buyer when it arrives in the UK. Rules on travelling with animals are being flouted right, left and centre he says.

Read more of what Paul has to say and the reaction to it from the government and the Kennel Club here: Rabies in UK by September