The objective of the Kennel Club is to promote, in every way, the general improvement of dogs. We believe that every dog should have the opportunity to lead a healthy, happy life and our “Fit For Function: Fit For Life” campaign aims to encourage breeders, judges and all dog lovers to take the necessary steps to ensure that this happens, and to act as a reminder that a dog’s health and welfare should be the most important consideration in any decisions made.
As a judge you are in a unique position: firstly to influence the future development of the breed by your decisions at shows, and, secondly, to assess the current state of the breed as indicated by the dogs shown under you. You will play a crucial role in helping to identify points of concern for breeds as well and helping to make a difference for dogs.
Breed Watch serves as an ‘early warning system’ to identify points of concern for individual breeds. Its primary purpose is to enable anyone involved in the world of dogs, but in particular dog show Judges, to find out about any breed specific conformational issues which may lead to health problems. These conditions are known as a ‘point(s) of concern’.
From 2014 the way in which the Kennel Club monitors the health of pedigree dogs will be enhanced through the expansion of the role of Breed Watch (diagram on page 2 refers). As part of this work, all Judges at
Championship Shows will have the opportunity to report on any visible conditions or exaggerations that they consider to be detrimental to the health and welfare of dogs.
I hope you have a very successful judging appointment and please do not hesitate to contact Canine Activities with any queries or concerns you might have in your position as a Championship show Judge.
Kathryn Symns, Canine Activities Executive
As part of its on-going work to ensure that pedigree dogs lead happy, healthy lives, the Kennel Club launched Breed Watch in 2009. Breed Watch is a quick and easy reference tool which provides up-to-date information on breed specific visible health conditions that may arise from exaggerated conformation. Breed Watch also provides an opportunity to monitor and protect the future of Pedigree dogs.
The Kennel Club considers that providing information on breed specific visible health concerns allows Judges, Breeders and Exhibitors to discourage the breeding of dogs with exaggerated conformational issues that are
detrimental to a breed’s health and welfare. To this effect, from 2014 Breed Watch will be enhanced to include a health monitoring system (diagram on page 2 refers). As part of this process, every Judge at Championship Shows will have the option to report any emerging issues which may affect their breed by completing a form provided in the back of their judging book.
In addition to this, the Kennel Club will provide all Championship show judges of category 2 & 3 breeds (Category definitions outlined over the page) with a report form, which enables them to provide feedback on the overall health of those dogs they have judged. This Breed Watch Booklet and web tool provide judges with breed specific points of concern that they can reference prior to judging. This tool allows Judges to highlight to the Kennel Club any emerging undesirable trends or exaggerations in a particular breed(s). Judges are then encouraged to take these points into account when deciding awards and to penalised
accordingly. These reports also provide a facility for reporting on improvements of specific points of concern and provide supportive evidence for their removal when appropriate.
Guidance for Judges
It is believed that judges at Kennel Club licensed Shows and at Championship Shows in particular, influence the future development of the breeds that they judge. It is essential that judges take into account the well-
being of those exhibits that they judge and by implication the stock that will be bred from these dogs.
Introductory Paragraph to All Breed Standards
“A Breed Standard is the guideline which describes the ideal characteristics, temperament and appearance of a breed and ensures that the breed is fit for function. Absolute soundness is essential. Breeders and judges should at all times be careful to avoid obvious conditions or exaggerations which would be detrimental in any way to the health, welfare or soundness of this breed. From time to time certain conditions or exaggerations may be considered to have the potential to affect dogs in some breeds adversely, and judges and
breeders are requested to refer to the Breed Watch section of the Kennel Club website for details of any such current issues – Breed Watch. If a feature or quality is desirable it should only be present in the right measure.”
No matter how outstanding an exhibit appears in relation to the breed standard in other ways, care must always be taken to consider it in more general terms prizes should never be awarded to dogs which are visibly suffering from any condition which would adversely affect their health or welfare e.g.:
• Lameness – including ‘hopping’
• Inappropriate temperament – refusal to be handled, timidity or aggression
• A discharge from one or both eyes or any signs of discomfort in either eye
• Obvious breathing difficulty
• Obvious skin disorder or ear irritation
• Exaggerations that would make the dog unsuited to the breed’s original purpose
• Significantly over or under weight
Judges and exhibitors are reminded that:
• Decisions made by judges in the show ring strongly influence future breeding plans
• Judges must take conformation related health problems and temperament into account when making their
decisions, alongside breed type
• All show dogs should be Fit for Function: Fit for Life
• Judges should never award prizes to dogs which are visibly suffering from any condition which would
adversely affect their health or welfare.
• A judge is expected to make such decisions based on their extensive experience of dogs as owners and breeders – they are not expected to display the knowledge of a veterinary surgeon and should not
undertake any extra examination of a dog other than that which they would normally perform in assessing general fitness and breed type
Particular points of concern for individual breeds may include features not specifically highlighted in the breed standard. The features listed are derived from health surveys, meetings of Kennel Club Group Judges, judges’ feedback and consultation with individual breed club(s)/council.
BOB Veterinary Health Checks (High Profile Breeds - category 3 breeds only)
Veterinary inspections of the High Profile Breeds (category 3 breeds) have been introduced at Championship shows prior to the Group competition in order to ensure that no dog goes forward to the group which may
be suffering from a visible condition which adversely affects its health or welfare.
• Insufficient closure of the fontanel
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