KENNEL CLUB INSIGHT
Your monthly guide to what the Kennel Club is doing for you and your dogs
By the Kennel Club Press Team
Shock collar victory
Since the excellent news broke that the Scottish Government would effectively ban the use of shock collars, following stringent lobbying by the Kennel Club and other bodies, the UK Government is under more pressure than ever before to ban the sale and use of shock collars in England.
Long-standing shock collar campaigner Matthew Offord, as well as Scottish Conservative Ross Thomson and SNP MPs including Tommy Shepherd and Deirdre Brock are urging Rt Hon Michael Gove MP, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, to follow Scotland’s lead and go further by banning the sale of the devices as well as their use.
Sign the petition
A petition set up by an SNP MP, Tommy Sheppard, states: “The Scottish and Welsh Governments using their devolved powers have already committed to ban the use of electric shock collars. The power to ban the sale of these harmful devices lies with the UK Government, which has failed to introduce controls on their use. This must change”. So far, the petition has over 6,000 signatures. When it reaches 10,000 the Government have to respond and if it reaches 100,000 this will spark a Westminster debate. In addition to this Tommy Sheppard has tabled an Early Day Motion in Parliament.
Meanwhile, Scottish Conservative MP Ross Thomson has set up a parliamentary petition open to MPs to sign in support of a ban on the sale and use of electric shock collars and has a meeting set up with the Secretary of State to discuss this further and Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Sue Hayman MP has tabled questions to the Government in support of a ban on shock collars.
MPs meet with KC
The Kennel Club looks forward to welcoming MPs from all parties to our shock collar drop in session where they can show their support for a ban, early in March. We will be joined there by a cross party group of MPs and dog focussed welfare organisations including Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, Dogs Trust, Edinburgh Dogs & Cats Home, and the Scottish Kennel Club as well as the BVA, well-known behaviourist Carolyn Menteith and leading researcher into electric shock collars, Dr Jonathan Cooper.
We are encouraging members of the public to sign the petition via the petition.parliament.uk website (entitled UK Government to ban the sale of electronic training aids for dogs) and to write to their MPs asking them to sign the Early Day Motion and the parliamentary petition put forward by Ross Thomson. A template letter is available on the Kennel Club website at www.thekennelclub.org.uk/our-resources/kennel-club-campaigns/electric-shock-collars/.
Competitions galore at Crufts
Crufts is almost upon us! There is plenty to see at the show including a number of exciting competitions which embrace various canine disciplines. Crufts will welcome around 27,000 dogs this year at the NEC, Birmingham from 8th – 11th March. Last year, a record attendance of over 162,000 visitors joined in the annual celebration of man’s best friend. As well as the group finals each evening and Friends for Life and Best in Show on the Sunday evening, don’t forget some of the other fantastic competitions taking place.
Thursday 8th March will see the Obreedience final take place in the obedience ring in hall 5. This event showcases a variety of different teams which are made up of four handlers and four dogs of the same breed. Each team has to complete a series of obedience exercises which include team and individual rounds. Teams have competed throughout the year at heats across the country, gaining points for accuracy, team heelwork, timekeeping and the ‘wow factor’.
This year there are 10 teams competing: Toy Poodles, Australian Cattle Dogs, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Miniature Long Haired Dachshunds, Smooth Collies, Bernese Mountain Dogs, Lagotti Ramagnoli, Labrador Retrievers, Jack Russell Terriers and Manchester Terriers, proving that a wide range of breeds are able to take part in this activity. Why not come along and cheer on your favourites?
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In 2017, there were 31 heats held throughout the UK. Two qualifying places are offered at each heat, plus the highest placed Border Collie/Working Sheepdog or Anything But a Collie (ABC). The heats have helped to encourage many new handlers and a wide variety of breeds to take part in obedience competitions. The test exercises include play with the dog, heel on lead, recall, examination of the dog control through gate and a one-minute stay.
In 2015, the scheme introduced a Best Young Kennel Club Member award in each of the heats, to recognise and encourage the dog handlers of tomorrow. Points are collected from each of the heats and members with the highest number of points now qualify for a separate Pre-Beginner Stakes Final specifically for YKC members. This final will be held in the GCDS ring on Friday.
Inter Regional Rally
This year marks the second appearance of the Inter Regional Rally Competition. Rally is a discipline that involves a dog and handler working as a team to navigate a course with numbered signs indicating different exercises to perform. Dogs from each of seven areas of the UK compete against each other in this team event, with the numbers of each breed restricted, which means that a good variety of different breeds are represented. Each team consists of dogs from the different levels of rally, from Level 1 to Level 6. The judge for this competition is Rachel Bradley who is an experienced rally judge.
Junior Warrant final
The Kennel Club Junior Warrant Winner of the Year final will take place on Thursday. The judge will be Robin Newhouse. The ten finalists were selected from 61 top young dogs at London’s biggest dog event, Eukanuba Discover Dogs at ExCeL London, where the semi-finals were held.
The Junior Warrant is an award for pedigree dogs from the ages of 6 to 18 months which have won a series of first prizes at both open and championship shows. Achieving a Junior Warrant is one of the highest levels of success for young pedigree show dogs.
On Friday 9th March, the Kennel Club Breeders’ Competition will take place, bringing together the best and most talented breeders of healthy pedigree dogs and their progeny.
This competition, soon to be sponsored by Agria Pet Insurance, enables talented dog breeders to showcase the dogs they’ve bred and provides a fantastic opportunity to promote and reward the excellent work done by responsible breeders. This is a stand-alone event and entries were received on a first come, first served basis. Forty teams will be competing highlighting the talents of British breeders as well as a few from Europe and will be judged by Ronnie Irving.
Saturday 10th March will see some great competitions including the grand final of the Kennel Club Vulnerable British and Irish Breeds Competition, which took place for the first time in 2016. The competition helps raise much needed awareness of our rare and native breeds and recognises those dedicated to ensuring their continued survival.
In a change to the previous year’s qualifying criteria, exhibitors who won Best of Breed at United Kingdom Toy Dog Society, National Terrier Club, National Working and Pastoral Breeds Society, National Working and Pastoral Breeds Society, Hound Association, and National Gundog Association have automatically qualified for this year’s final at Crufts.
The Best of Breed winners from each breed will go head to head to be crowned Best Vulnerable Breed and Reserve Best Vulnerable Breed and will be judged by Tom Mather.
The International Junior Handling final takes place on the Saturday and will see young dog handlers from all over the globe competing for the prestigious title. Around 45 countries are expected to take part in the final. The competition, judged by Yiannis Vlachos from Greece, takes place over two rounds, pre-judged earlier in the day in the Genting Arena, and tests the youngsters’ natural affinity with dogs by getting them to handle dogs which they have met only an hour before the competition starts.
Good Citizen Stakes
The Kennel Club Good Citizen Dog Scheme (GCDS) Special Pre-Beginner Obedience Stakes Grand Final will be held in the GCDS ring and will be judged by John Farr.
The Special Pre-Beginner Obedience Stakes aim to encourage those that have achieved their Bronze GCDS award to take part in competitive obedience competitions. The exercises involved are a combination of the current GCDS exercises and the Pre-Beginner Obedience test. Since this competition was introduced in 2005, it has continued to help bridge the gap between basic training and entering a competition. Over 1,000 entries are received each year.
The grand final of the Scruffts Family Crossbreed Dog of the Year competition, exclusively supported by pet food makers James Wellbeloved, will be held. Throughout 2017, 15 heats took place at events around the UK in search of crossbreeds with that extra special something. Over 1,300 dogs took part, raising nearly £4,000 for the Kennel Club Charitable Trust and the chosen charities of the heat hosts.
The six finalists each won their class in the semi-finals at Eukanuba Discover Dogs at ExCeL London in October. The six categories were Child’s Best Friend, Good Citizen Dog Scheme, Prettiest Bitch, Golden Oldie, Best Rescue and Most Handsome Dog. Scruffts is run in support of the Kennel Club Charitable Trust, which has donated over £10m worth of grants to benefit the canine world since its inception in 1987.