Breed-Specific Instructions for Judges
A health project of the Swedish Kennel Club concerning exaggerations in pedigree dogs
Dr. Göran Bodegård
Continued from page 3
In the first edition of the BSI, the breeds involved were divided into three groups according to the estimated risks of health and soundness problems: urgent attention (seven breeds), increased attention (12 breeds) and attention (28 breeds).
This caused a strongly negative reaction and hindered the cooperation with the clubs; it was also, in fact, beyond the aims of the BSI project. The risk evaluation is instead expressed in the text for each breed, and the specific attention motivated for the high-profile breeds is determined directly through dialogue with experts from the SKK.
At this early stage it is not possible to assess the BSI project’s success, which is to improve the breeding of pedigree dogs.
In practice it was surprisingly easy to introduce the project and the routines. An interest in preventing and solving problems is ubiquitous within the Swedish dog world and among the country’s conformation judges. Awareness of the issues was raised almost instantaneously, and most judges have praised the initiative and its practical realization. Many have said that the BSI made these problems easier to handle and verbalize while judging.
It will be possible to investigate if the BSI routines influence the level of awards in high-risk breeds. There is, in fact, a tendency for judges to award fewer “certificate quality” awards (the highest rating) in some breeds than previously.
Only a few negative consequences have been noted. A couple of judges have used the BSI to incorrectly disqualify dogs. Dogs with poor breed-type characteristics have been preferred over dogs of excellent type. In some cases the instructions have been totally disregarded.
The main reason for the positive outcome so far is that the initiative coincides with a general opinion that these problems must be dealt with. The depth of the preparatory work and the continuous bilateral dialogue with the breed clubs were essential, as was the structured information to the judges and the follow up of their written, detailed opinions and observations.
There is, at present, a general awareness in Europe of the destructive risks of dog shows promoting exaggerations of breed type. The Swedish project has become something of a model for other kennel clubs. A report on the BSI will be presented at the 100-year anniversary of the FCI in November, 2012.
BREEDS ON THE “BREED SPECIFIC INSTRUCTIONS” LIST
Breeds which require URGENT ATTENTION (7):
Basset Hound, Bulldog, Chinese Shar-Pei, Chow Chow, French Bulldog, Neapolitan Mastiff, Pekingese.
Breeds which require INCREASED ATTENTION (12):
Bloodhound, Boston Terrier, Bull Terrier, Chihuahua, Clumber Spaniel, Dogue de Bordeaux, Japanese Chin, King Charles Spaniel, Mastiff, Miniature Bull Terrier, Pug, Saint Bernard, Yorkshire Terrier.
Breeds which require ATTENTION (28):
American Cocker Spaniel, Basset Artésien Normand, Borzoi, Boxer, Bracco Italiano, Brussels Griffon, Bullmastiff, Cardigan Welsh Corgi, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Chinese Crested, Collie, English Cocker Spaniel, English Springer Spaniel, German Spitz/Pomeranian, Great Dane, Griffon Belge, Irish Wolfhouind, Italian Spinone, Labrador Retriever, Norwich Terrier, Pembroke Welsh Corgi, Petit Brabançon, Poodle (Standard), Shetland Sheepdog, Shih Tzu, Skye Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Sussex Spaniel, West Highland White Terrier.
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