The health and well being of show dogs is one of the most important aspects of showing your dog at a conformation show. Getting the necessary genetic blood tests, x-rays, blood work, specialized heart exams, and specialized eye exams are all of up most importance to reputable breeders. They spend hundreds if not thousands of dollars on these exams in order to ensure they are breeding dogs that are healthy and will produce healthy offspring. Yes there are physical exaggeration in some breeds that the breed clubs and breeders are trying to breed away from but that is not something that can happen overnight especially if you follow that the dog should not be bred until it is at least 2 years old and then only once a year after that or the harder line school of thought with some breeds that your dog should be 5 years old before you breed for the first time. So what happens when new rules are put in place and an independent GENERAL vet determines a dog to have an issue or is too exaggerated (which of course is subjective). Should the kennel club then look at any health testing done by trained specialists in their field or just allow the vet check to stand thereby disqualifying the dog after a long hot day at the show? This weekend at Crufts the Kennel Club and the organizers of Crufts left the breeders, dogs, and Exhibitors out for the wolves so to speak. Not that I think General vets don’t know dogs but they are not specialists trained to know what exactly they are looking for. I wouldn’t hesitate to go to a regular vet for vaccinations, upset stomachs, minor surgeries, etc. But if I need a vet to hear a heart murmur and diagnose it I would use a specialist, true eye exams take at least 15 minutes using drops much like they use when a person goes to the eye doctor and then specialized scopes are used to make a diagnosis in a quiet dark room. How can a proper exam be done in the middle of the exhibit hall with hundreds of people and dogs walking around?
Don’t get me wrong. I really like the idea of a quick vet exam before the start of the day for a number of reasons. But at the end of the day after being under the spotlights in a really hot exhibit hall is not the time to do these exams and of course dogs eyes are going to be red and they eyes are going to be a bit more droopy then normal (they are tired and want to go back to their area to take a nap). I don’t think the dog should be penalized especially if the owner / breeder / handler can produce health certificates from specialists proving the dog passed the test under proper conditions and is free of the disease.
Since many of the dogs that were tossed out due to these failed exams had all of their health certificates in order they were taken to specialists the very next day and given complete exams and passed without issue. This means that dogs that had titles taken away from them in fact should have gone on to the next stage of competition.
Here is what the Clumber Spaniel Owner had to say about what happened along with the eye check that had passed the dog as free from any issues only months before.
Press Release fro the (English) Bulldog Breed Council
The Bulldog Breed Council wishes to support the winning Exhibitor and the very experienced and respected Judge at Cruft’s 2012 .
We wish to clarify the events of the past weekend at Cruft’s and put an end to speculation.
We have worked with the Kennel Club over the last 8 years in a concentrated effort to focus on the points that needed urgent attention to improve the health of the Bulldog.
Long before any media attention and publicity we have had a health committee and a strategy to take the health of the breed forward, we have had many meetings and dialogue over a period of time with the Kennel Club that have not been instigated by Media frenzy but by the Breeders themselves .
The Facts ….
The top winning Bulldog in question has an old eye injury, it is not visible to the naked eye in the normal manner of being examined by the judge nor is it visible without pulling the dog’s eyelid down and a light being used.
It was a knock to the eye the dog had as a puppy and as had no ill effects and the exhibitor had not given this a second thought as a reason the dog would not be classed as healthy by the independent veterinarian on the day.
It seems the Kennel Club are assuming that any mark on the cornea of any Bulldog is due to damage caused by eye disease, in this case this is simply not true, and will be taken up with the Kennel Club by representatives of the Bulldog Breed Council at a meeting on 23rd March which we hopefully will prevent situations like this re-occurring in future
In all other areas this bulldog is healthy and passed all requirements.
This bulldog also went through this very same veterinary check as a volunteer at the trial run held by the BUBA [British Utility Breeds Association] in December 2011which was witnessed and watched by two independent Show officials of the society. With this passed obviously there was no warning that this failure was going to happen at such a high profile show in front of the world just a few months later.
We wish to add that Bulldog Breeders, Judges and Exhibitors are in a total disbelief because this bulldog has done so well not only in the UK but also in Europe.
We ask but one more point for you to ponder, this bulldog is fit for function, it’s a dog and as such has the freedom to enjoy its life with the rough and tumble that dogs at play have, we as a breed have no intention to say our dogs must be wrapped in cotton wool, they are a tough dog.
Being a dog, any dog, accidents can and do happen!
When and if more tests, results, press releases etc become available I will try and post them here along with any action that might or might not be taken once those results are certified.