Crufts: Kennel Club Announcement Update

by Mary Haight on March 7, 2009

NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 13:  Dogs compete in the B...
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Caroline Kisko, Secretary of the Kennel Club, fired off a letter regarding a recently rumored announcement at Crufts.  The supposition was that because of the uproar over inbreeding issues, the Club might open its studbook and promote a policy of crossbreeding to return breeds to a healthy state.  If you haven’t heard by now that Pedigree, the major sponsor, the RSPCA, and even the BBC backed out of this show due to crippling conformation problems evident in show ring dogs, you can catch up here

The upshot is they will not be announcing a new policy on crossbreeding as they say they have encouraged this for years.  If that is the case, then the question becomes why have show dog conformation standards created  crippled dogs? The Kennel Club has in the past opened the studbook showing who was supposedly bred to whom, and promises they will do so again despite protests from breeders. 

And now for something completely different…the Kennel Club will, be using genetic testing to improve breeding outcomes regarding genetically  inherited diseases.  Interesting way to change the subject?

You can read the Kennel Club’s full response to the rumors and all about their efforts regarding the use of genetics in disease prevention at Dog Magazine

This is not, however, the end to the argument according to Nick Britten writing for the Telegraph.  He reports that the RSPCA is not at all happy with the Club’s “knee jerk” response to the BBC expose.  The list of breed conformation changes released to end the controversy are simply not radical enough, were not formulated in consultation with other groups, and evidence no long-term strategy according to RSPCA Science Officer Clair Calder.

It will take 3 generations (10 years) to change the English Bulldog’s conformation to amend the problem of a head too heavy for the dog to support, and legs too short to support its weight.  The Pekingese changes that require a longer nose and shorter coat are reportedly going to cause an uproar in those breeding circles.  And the King Charles Spaniel whose skull is too small to hold the brain matter?  Well, that one was not covered in this interview.

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