An article in this week’s Time magazine has re-ignited the row over dog showing and breeding in Britain.
The article highlights the growing concern over the treatment of show dogs and says: “Beauty shows have proved increasingly bad for the health of canines.
“Over the decades, changing fashions have encouraged exaggerated, distorted features, such as massive heads, squashed muzzles, hairless bodies and highly folded skin – all traits that can diminish the quality of an animal’s life, cause serious discomfort and in extreme cases even prove fatal.”
Some breeders are also criticised for “irresponsible in-breeding” of their animals, which “has spread inherited disorders among pedigree dogs”.
Beverley Cuddy, editor of Dogs Today, believes the Kennel Club is at fault.
“The Kennel Club should follow the example of other European countries and make genetic testing compulsory, “she says.”The general public are beginning to believe Kennel Club registration doesn’t mean anything anymore. They should insist on tests and charge more for registration “
However, Jeff Sampson, the Kennel Club’s canine genetics co-ordinator, defends the present system.
“We achieve the same objective with a volunteer scheme as they do in other countries in Europe,” he says.
“In some ways Britain is ahead of Europe in supporting the development of molecular tests. For one immune deficiency disease in Irish Setters, known as CLAD, the Kennel Club has given breeders a five-year-period to get their animals tested.”
He also says that certain characteristics in animals are ” revisited” by the Kennel Club at intervals.
One of these which he agrees could be looked at again is the short noses in Bulldogs, which critics say makes it difficult for the animal to breath and, in extreme cases, may even cause death.