Breed-Specific Instructions for Judges

A health project of the Swedish Kennel Club concerning exaggerations in pedigree dogs


Continued from page 1

The conformation judge is in an excellent position to prevent unsound breeding by abstaining from rewarding hyper-typed, or over-typed, exhibits.

The first edition of the BSI was put into effect and evaluated at all conformation shows affiliated with the SKK during 2009.

Based on the initial material, plus 1,840 evaluations from dog judges, a revised edition of the BSI was approved by the SKK Central Board to be implemented from 2011 and later. It is now integrated into the Swedish show system and will be continuously updated regarding the breeds listed and the areas of concern for these breeds.

The document focuses on 46 breeds. (One less than mentioned; the Shetland Sheepdog was omitted from the final list.) The status of each breed depends on all the factors mentioned above. The level of concern for each breed, which of course varies greatly, is expressed in the revised edition in the text identifying the specific risk areas for that breed, and not in the subgroups as in the first edition.

An example:
The extreme conformation of the Bulldog, with e.g. shortened skull and muzzle and underdeveloped bridge of nose, causes serious health problems if exaggerated.

Areas of risk are:

• Breathing difficulties, which can be linked to narrow respiratory channels on different levels, but are due foremost to insufficient room in throat cavities and ribcage. Breathing distress is a disqualifying fault.

• Exaggerated type conformation and insufficient angulation of fore- and hindquarters, which might result in unsound movement/lameness charging the standard's demand: “Soundness of movement of the utmost importance.”

• Excessively short bridge of muzzle, excessively loose facial skin and loose eye-rims which can cause injury and inflammation of eyes.

• Overhanging nose roll and skin wrinkles in the anal region which can cause inflammations.
Particular attention must therefore be paid to the shape of the head/skull, breathing, eyes, skin and tail, but also to movement.
The breed standard very clearly emphasises that unconstrained breathing and sound movement shall be highly rewarded.

Application and procedures
All judges invited to judge any of the 46 breeds in question will receive written, specific instructions for the breed he/she will judge. They will also receive a briefing at each show where they are judging these breeds. This briefing is conducted in English for foreign judges, with a Swedish judge chairing the meeting and informing the dog judges about the principles behind the project, and how to report observations made while judging the entry.

Dog judges should continue to select winners of correct type and quality. The BSI initiative should not lead to a loss of breed type or to an emphasis on fault judging. A dog that is obviously healthy and sound is not an excellent breeding prospect unless it is also of excellent type.

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