Crufts: Cruel or kind?

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10/03/2012 at 20:46
I think it's more the kennel club that place a premium on breeding in life-limiting features for breeds than Crufts per se.

Tickled Pink could shed some light on this...
10/03/2012 at 21:46
having just been stayed at a hotel adjacent to the Crufts Venue, i have decided that while i like dogs, i don't really like the kennel club type of dogs on display or a lot of the dog owners i encountered.

although i did follow the cue of all of the dog guests by going out into the hotel carpark for a shit every morning

10/03/2012 at 22:08
A lot of breeds are exaggerated and some (a minority but more than just a few) cross the line into actually being cruel. Certain breeds - Bulldog etc - are absolute abominations. At the same time it's easy to say there is something wrong with pedigree dog breeds per se which isn't the case imo.

The Kennel Club often get stick for the bad things that are sometimes highlighted. They aren't perfect and do deserve some criticism but not so much as the people within some of the breeds. The KC breed standards are open to interpretation - it's the way people in certain breeds interpret them that is the problem. Yes the KC could and should do more to clamp down but it doesn't have the degree of direct control over breeds that some people think it does.
10/03/2012 at 22:10
Having showed 2 of my Afghan Hounds are Crufts, I have to say that the dogs may have a slight normal attitude towards one another, however the owners are in my mind very arrogant and stuck up like the kennel club.
I can only compare it to the ultra elite looking down on us mere mortals from their lofty heights.
10/03/2012 at 23:33
Barking mad......
11/03/2012 at 07:58

I've stayed at a hotel near where Crufts were showing and the one thing that amazed me were the temperament of the dogs. They were so "docile". I'm used to happy/chirpy/go lucky things that are trotting around tails wagging etc. I only saw maybe 1 dog like that.

As for the breeding elements - I think some of the them are plain cruel (as has already been said: bulldog)... but if it's not harming the dogs and they enjoy it - why not?

11/03/2012 at 09:04

There was a tv programme a while ago about the breeding standards of some breeds causing problems - Cavalier King Charles spaniels were highlighted.

They are very in-bred and many of them suffer from an inherited disorder which means the skull is too small for their brains, which has horrible consequences.

One woman, whose dog won best of breed (I think) was still breeding from her dog despite knowing that it carried the disorder.

The camera crew confronted her about it at a show, and all the other breeders were outraged - that the camera crew would spoil the breeder's winning moment by bringing this up at a show!

Another breeder was disgusted that young vets wouldn't destroy healthy Rhodesian Ridgeback puppies - just because they lacked the ridge on the back (which meant they have no breeding value).  She said you have to find an older, more sympathetic vet who will do it.

Perhaps she should be put down as she didn't look like good breeding stock!

11/03/2012 at 12:05
I agree with you wilkie
11/03/2012 at 12:17
I remember seeing that programme too, Wilkie. It was that investigation that prompted the BBC to withdraw from televising Crufts.
11/03/2012 at 16:12
After seeing that TV programme, I think the downsides of Crufts outweigh the upsides (always used to have a soft spot for the agility bit!). I'd never get a pedigree dog, either. Mongrels all the way!
11/03/2012 at 18:42

They did an update programme recently, and the Kennel Club have modified some of the breed requirements - by saying things like they are "desirable" rather than "essential", and so on. 

They have also said that healthy puppies should not be killed just because they lack breed characteristics.

As if that's going to stop breeders who don't see any value in feeding animals which won't sell.

One positive thing was that the KC have said that mother/son, father/daughter and brother/sister breeding should stop.  Should you really need to be told this?

They looked at boxers this time, and at the number of dogs which develop juvenile kidney disease which kills them, painfully.

A researcher found that it seemed likely that this was also an inherited trait, and was testing as many dogs as possible and tracing their family trees.  One particular dog had fathered over 800 puppies - many with the trait - but his owner wouldn't have him tested for the trait (a blood test).  

 I'm horrified by all this, and I'm not even much of a dog lover!

Edited: 11/03/2012 at 18:42
11/03/2012 at 19:05

I don't have many gripes with the KC or with Crufts.  It's irresponsible breeders who are the problem and they're not breeding for show puppies, they're breeding to make money and that alone.

There are known problems with many breeds but they're not all that common really.  However, some breeders continue to churn out puppies with these traits in their bloodlines.  They really don't care about the health & welfare of the dogs.  The kidney disease is one I know about as we've had several dogs in with this problem and know which bloodline the common denominator is ... as does the breeder but they choose not to believe the scientific evidence as they'd lose their income stream

That said, these people are the exception.  For every one of them which the media focuses on there are 99 very responsible breeders who care about the health and life the puppies are going to have.  They have their breeding animals checked for eye/hip/heart problems and will only take a couple of litters off their bitch as she's a pet not a puppy factory.

The KC does good work trying to preserve British breeds which are in danger of dying out and has good schemes for hip scoring to try to breed out the terrible hip problems which plagued labradors for many years.

The dogs I know who are shown love it, they treat it as a day out and have great fun.  They don't seem to find it stressy at all.  If they did then they'd not do well.

Been to Crufts a couple of times, spent a fortune on stuff I didn't know I needed ...

Edited: 11/03/2012 at 19:05
12/03/2012 at 11:59
Well said TP I went to Crufts for the gundogs on Friday and found a great experience thousands of seemingly happy dogs and owners having a good time
I watched the Pointers and there was no end of waggy tails and mucking about. Anyone who says the dogs get stressed at dog shows is talking rubbish.
As for the breeders there are bad eggs but if you just showed the good ones which must outnumber the bad ones 100 to 1. The program made no mention of the good work done by the breed clubs themselves in irradiating disease. If you go on the JC website you can look up breed history and bloodline to checkout the interbreeding of your dog or potential puppy. In another site it was mentioned inbreeding in the wild. In event studies some wolf packs are 40% interbred. As an example the pointer low end is 9% our dog came in at 1%
The breeder I bought from it was her dogs first litter and she will have one more then she will "retire" her dog. She had five pointers and a litter of pups all the potential owners were vetted and we were questioned closely about our intentions as owners. The country is full of responsible people doing responsible things the problem is its the rogues that make the news.
Also amongst the dog world Crufts is just a big show it's not the Olympics a lot view in the sane way we might view the London marathon "OMG that's the only race in the world". It's just a well known event that gets on the telly. They would rather have a breed champion over year than a one off at crufts.
12/03/2012 at 12:03
Sorry about the typos, using a phone while trying to play with dog
12/03/2012 at 15:28

TP and Goldbeetle have saved me typing - I agree with what both of them have said.

12/03/2012 at 15:43

From another thread & can't be arsed to re-type

Nam wrote (see)

Crufts... I really don't know how I feel about Crufts.  I recently shared a link from the RSPCA on my FB which was raising awareness how shows like Crufts promote these irresposible breeding techniques where related dogs are bred too close together, what happens to puppies that don't make the cut, breeding 'features' that are actually really uncomfortable or harmful to the dogs... anything from excessively flat snouts, very short legs or long backs, to extreme skin folds etc etc.  I also think that 'some' people who are into all this extreme pedigree stuff... ("oohhh she is the offspring of Lord Flensburg the Third and Lady Marmelade...") are rather too far up their own arses for my liking... 

So on the balance of it I can't be arsed to watch it and rather take my scruffy mutt for a muddy walk...

I accept that for every irresponsible breeder there will be 10 good ones, and for every dog that suffers from congenital problems from inbreeding there will be 10 happy and healthy ones... but still, for me Crufts represents pretty much everything I dislike about kennel clubs, "showing" dogs, breeding them for looks and the types of weirdos who really get into this sort of thing.  

12/03/2012 at 16:07

I get where you're coming from Nam but it's a very very small minority who are obsessed with breeding the 'perfect' dog.  Most of those on show this weekend will have been family pets who go to shows at weekends.  We'd have had about 30+ clients down there and to a one these are cherished family pets who just happen to win the odd prize.  I think you're linked to my work FB page, have a look at one of our winners ... tell me that's not a happy dog who like to get muddy and wet rather than a specimen on a pedastal.

Think of it like runners ... there are some who are completely obsessed with running a better race, doing a faster time, adapting to different styles of running, who can't talk about anything other than what they've done, are going to do etc etc yawn yawn.  They are the equivalent of the weirdos you mention.  Then there are the rest of us who have running in common but who are equally into the social side of it, we train (sometimes), turn up, have fun and then get on with normal life after the race ... that's 99% of the people who show dogs

12/03/2012 at 16:39
You get obsessive people in any hobby. Some weirder than others. The Kennel club sets a breed standard. What a dog should look like.Also it covers fit for purpose in some breeds. Obviously breeds like the bulldog don't fit this. But spaniels, pointers and many others do. Unfortunately that breed standard has been taken to an extreme and it has turned our deformity and ill for purpose has been ignored. Where breeds exist where there is a shallow gene pool you sometimes get inbreeding. Some breeders like the ones shown with king Charles spaniels and boxers were acting in a disgusting way. Yet on the other hand I have just filled the pointer clubs yearly health and DNA data check.
12/03/2012 at 16:58
gb - what sort of pointer? we used to have a GWP...

tempted to go with a Slovakian wire hair when we decide to have another dog

anyhoo - Crufts - never seen the point of it. seems to be more for the breeders and showers than the dogs. and I agree that too many breeders are tarred with a brush they don't deserve - it's like many things in life, it's a minority that causes the problem and give the majority a bad name.
12/03/2012 at 17:10

The KC are tightening up on their 'fit for purpose' idea and all breed winners were vet checked this year to make sure they were functional as dogs.  I think it was the Basset who didn't pass the vet check and didn't make it to the Group final as well as being stripped of their breed title.

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