THERE has been a lot of talk over here about the signs of an economic recovery. Growth has returned to the UK economy and people, it is said, are feeling more optimistic than they have for a few years. In the last couple of weeks I have found myself wondering if something similar is happening in the UK dog scene. We’ve seen some good news stories circulating and some indications that the Kennel Club might, at last, be listening to its customer base.
Just last week we heard the news that the French Bulldog has been removed from the list of so-called high profile breeds, the Kennel Club has said that one of the reasons the breed has been removed from the high-profile list is that ‘a reasonable proportion’ of the dogs being shown are not severely affected by conditions from which the breed suffers, you can read the full story at www.dogworld.co.uk
Then there was the news that Keith Young, a member of the KC’s general committee and recently retired secretary of City of Birmingham championship show, is to chair a working party that will examine ways in which ‘to repopularise exhibiting at dog shows’ and this is surely something to be celebrated.
And there’s more, The KC general committee has changed its mind with regard to the allocation of CCs for 2016 and now no CCs will be lost. This is surely an indication that the opinions of breed clubs and of exhibitors have been listened to and acted upon.
In her column last week Sheila Atter wondered if this really was the start of a new beginning for the KC and for the dog showing community? She did sound one note of caution though: “I do hope that this won’t lead to the situation that often occurs in clubs and organizations lacking a strong leadership – whereby every decision taken by the committee is then debated ad nauseam and eventually overturned. It’s right that the people should have their say, but in the end the committee has been elected to govern our sport and we should have confidence in them to do the right thing – after due consultation.”
And Sheila hoped that the people who have been so critical of the original decision to reduce the number of CCs on offer in 2016 and those who have expressed opinions on other matters pertaining to the dog show scene of today will, “not merely now sit back and hope that others will contact Mr Young, but will do their part by offering constructive suggestions not only as to what is wrong, but also what could be done to improve matters.”
On a personal level I was hugely cheered to hear that Keith had taken on this role as I believe he has the vision required. Under his secretaryship City of Birmingham introduced a number of innovations, including making the KC building at Stoneliegh available for breed club shows over the same weekend as the all-breeds championship show to give exhibitors lots of opportunities to show their dogs and meet their friends.
Registration figures for the third quarter of 2013 show figures are slightly up on the same period of 2012 which is heartening even if this is not enough to compensate for the first two quarters which showed a more definite decline.
In all, 61,738 puppies were registered with the KC from July to September, compared with 60,081 for these months last year. The total so far for this year is 168,652; the figure for the first nine months of 2012 was 174,936.
The group totals for the quarter are: hounds 3,835 (slightly down on 3,858 for the third quarter in 2012), gundogs 26,130 (up from 25,392), terriers 6,457 (up from 6,374), utility 10,100 (well up on 8,901), working 4,144 (down from 4,335), pastoral 4,049 (up from 3,940) and toys 7,023 (down from 7,281).
Most of the utility group’s rise is accounted for by French Bulldogs who registered 2,003 puppies in these three months compared with 1,111 in July to September 2012.
This year marks the first time that the French Bulldog has entered the Kennel Club’s top ten list with 4,843 registrations so far this year.
The French Bulldog’s popularity is closely followed by the Smooth Chihuahua, which has risen in popularity by 700 per cent between 2003 and 2012, and in the first three quarters of 2013 has risen by 21 per cent, compared to the same period in 2012.
The KC’s secretary Caroline Kisko, said: “Small dogs are becoming much more popular and while in some cases this is because they may be a better fit for particular lifestyles, it is also because people are buying on impulse and going for the most obvious or fashionable choices,” which is perhaps not the best of news. Surely responsible breeders should discourage impulse buying of puppies and it’s never great news when a breed becomes the fashion of the moment.
The registration figures also reveal that the Pembroke Corgi, which is currently on the KC’s ‘at watch’ list, is likely to become a ‘vulnerable native breed’ for the first time after registering just 241 puppies, 59 short of the 300 registrations needed to stay off the vulnerable list.
We also have an unusual interview available as a podcast this week Russia’s new anti-gay laws that were passed in June received wide coverage concentrating on what effect the laws would have on those visiting the country for the Winter Olympics in 2014.
The news was significant for those involved with conformation dog showing too, as the prestigious World Dog Show is due to be held in Moscow in 2016. The American Kennel Club wrote to the FCI stressing that holding such a show under the new laws ‘flew in the face of the human-canine bond’.
Well we recently ran a column by Göran Bodegård about what the laws meant for gay exhibitors intending to travel to Russia in 2016 and asked the question ‘Is Moscow still the right and safe choice for the World Dog Show?’
This week one of our reporters spoke to Vitaly Milonov, author of the gay propaganda law and a Christian fundamentalist, we asked Mr Milonov about the repercussions the law could have on gay exhibitors attending the World Dog Show and whether he felt such a journey would be a safe one.
His response was certain – he welcomed exhibitors of whatever sexuality to visit Moscow and to enjoy everything the city had to offer, while also proclaiming himself a dog enthusiast and suggesting he may be tempted to attend the show himself.
His reassurances are open to interpretation and we allowed Dr Bodegård the chance to listen to the interview before we published it and give his comment on the words of Mr Milonov and what they really mean for gay dog show exhibitors intending to show in Russia.
To listen to the full interview go to DW’s interactive page where you can find out how to access this podcast through iTunes.
We’ve had a great initial response to the launch of the Pawscars including another sponsor coming on board, Happy Dog will sponsor the award for ‘Unsung Hero’. I’ll keep you p to date with progress as well as letting you know how you can vote, when voting opens at the end of December.