GERMAN SHEPHERD DOG
The German Shepherd Dog League of Great Britain (GSDL) is genuinely concerned about the considerable reduction in GSD entries at Championship Shows, both at General Championship Shows and Breed Club Championship Shows.
The GSD League understands this problem has developed over many years, some 15 years at least. There are multiple reasons for the continual decline in entries, and therefore no single or simple answer exists to reverse this trend.
We appreciate this opportunity to hold discussions with the Kennel Club on this matter.
Other breeds may also be suffering from a decline in entries, which may be caused by similar problems, however whilst the GSD League understands the Kennel Club has responsibility for all breeds, and will therefore assess any proposals very carefully indeed, especially for any wider implications, the GSD League has thoroughly examined the challenges that face the German Shepherd Dog breed and make these proposals to the Kennel Club with sincerity and with conviction that an urgent and broad approach is necessary.
The current rotation system of GSD Breed Clubs has served a very limited purpose, mainly that of preventing some GSD breed clubs losing their CC status because of poor entries. What it therefore encourages is APATHY, because when you remove the risk of losing CC status, you remove any worry about low entries, because the rotation system protects a club from any negative consequences of their low entries. If and when the Kennel Club reduce the number of CC’s for our breed, the rotation system is simply stretched over even FEWER CC’s, thus making the periods between holding Championship Shows for each club even greater. It also means that the most successful Club Shows in terms of entries are NOT receiving their HIGH entries EVERY year, in order to allow a LOW ENTRY Club to enjoy having a LOW ENTRY Show.
Striking a balance between the positives and the negatives of the rotation system should be the objective.
The stark reality hits home when you consider the highest entry club and the lowest entry club is sharing 1 set of CC’s, giving each a CH. Show in alternate years. Ignoring the Two Day show, lets take Birmingham & District GSD (A) Association being ‘paired’ with GSD Club of Kent (Z), net entry for A = 180, net entry for Z = 56. Then take the NEXT highest ‘net entry’ Club and ‘pair’ it with the NEXT lowest ‘net entry Club, e.g. B = 177 & Y = 68. It is damaging to our Show scene to continue with such a scenario, and the worst scenario is exposed when a significantly higher number of LOW
ENTRY Club shows prevail in any particular year during the rotation pattern. This can have a demoralising impact on many exhibitors.
The rotation system also creates problems securing good venues, compared with the annual show, which can offer a preferred annual contract with a venue owner. The catering, stallholders, schedule & catalogue printers, and almost all other requirements and desirables for a successful Show, all benefit from an annual event, committees finish one Show and start on the next, giving continuity for the committee, developing valuable experience, and for all others connected with the Show, including the most important of all, the exhibitors.
The rotation system has for many exhibitors broken their habit of showing their dogs, they miss one show, or another, which is not being held, and they do something different. They used to know the schedule of CH. Shows held every year, the months they were held, the weekends of the month they were held, the venue’s they were held at, the catering offered at each venue, the parking arrangements at each venue and were able plan accordingly. Frequently joining up with friend’s en-route, sharing costs, sharing each others company, developing at each regular show a camaraderie and routine’s which added to their showing experience. Club secretaries were always aware at which shows to have their schedules available for their own shows, distributing them at shows, saving postage costs, administrative time, and also achieving higher entries, especially because exhibitors, on being given a schedule would discuss with each other their mutual plans for entering and travelling etc.
There are so many benefits for Clubs holding annual Championship Shows which were taken for granted by so many and they have been substantially lost with the rotation system. We hope it is not too late to recover and progress our GSD show scene here in the United Kingdom. The Kennel Club and all GSD Clubs in the UK can be assured the GSD League of Great Britain, the oldest GSD Show Club in the UK, will play a leading role in focusing attention on all issues requiring attention, and most importantly offering its experience and expertise in identifying solutions and putting them into practice, along with supporting, wherever and whenever possible, all other GSD clubs.
We recognise that some of our proposals may present the need for very difficult decisions to be made; indeed the GSD League was faced with many very difficult issues when formulating our proposals. The overwhelming interest of our breeds future, here in the United Kingdom, made it absolutely essential for us to fully explore every area that requires attention, even those which others may be reluctant to acknowledge. The toughest decisions are often the correct decisions; our breed needs us all to make the correct decisions.
1) We propose the top 11 GSD Breed Clubs are allocated CC’s on an annual basis – TABLE B
We propose the
bottom 6 GSD Breed Clubs have their CC allocation removed – TABLE B
We propose the
bottom 5 General CH. Shows have their CC allocation for GSD removed
– TABLE C
4) We propose that these 5 sets of CC’s are allocated to the GSD Breed Clubs
5) We propose that the remaining ‘rotation’ 16 GSD Breed Clubs (includes Cambridge GSD Club) have CC allocation on alternate years. (8 sets of CC’s per year)
6) We propose that the Cambridge Branch of the GSD League, becomes the Cambridge GSD Club, and is allocated the CC’s from the Iceni GSD Club, on a rotational basis. This Club is close to the geographical position of the Iceni GSD Club, and has held a Spectacular Open Show for each of the last 3 years, which has achieved net entries in excess of 150 each and every year. This is a truly remarkable achievement brought about by a dynamic committee committed to identifying GSD exhibitor’s needs and desires, and providing them. Every year they have carefully examined their show, with a view to introducing changes which will make a positive effect on their next show, and removing aspects which they considered may have had a negative effect. Continual monitoring, brainstorming sessions, and most importantly a determination to succeed - all the ingredients we need to instil in each and every GSD Club, to invigorate our GSD Show scene. Couple this with dynamic leadership from the Kennel Club and the leading breed club’s and we have a recipe for success.
7) The above proposals will result in GSD Breed Clubs having 19 sets of CC’s annually, and the General CH. Shows having 14 sets of CC’s annually.
The overall effect
of these proposals is forecast to be, from year one as follows:
There are other
areas which need addressing to bring about the reversal of the
We propose jointly
assessing the GSD CH. Show net entries every two years.
The GSD League went on to consider further proposals for the benefit of our GSD Championship Shows.
11) The Two Day Show is clearly a huge success, however the 4 year rotation could be reduced to maximise its benefit on our Show scene. We therefore propose the following:
The GSD League & GSD Club of Wales to host a Two Day Show on alternate years and the GSD Club of Northern Ireland & the GSD Club of Scotland host a Two Day Show on alternate years. The GSD League & GSD NI on the same year and the GSD Wales & GSD Scotland on the same year, with a minimum period of 2 months between the Shows.
There are many
issues which can affect the success or otherwise of a GSD
Championship Show. The GSD League fully recognises the need to
introduce training in order to address these issues.
b) Seminars for Show Managers & Show Secretary’s & Show committees
c) Central support for GSD Clubs regarding many aspects of running a successful Show.
d) Seminars for CH. Show Judges to raise their awareness of ALL of their responsibilities, with particular attention being paid to current breed faults which need addressing, and to the vital importance of the highest level of integrity when Judging our breed.
e) Workshops for Show Judges to highlight the major influence their Judging has on our breed, and on the morale of exhibitors, not forgetting their effect on the appeal of showing GSD to the GSD owner. The impact of using of foreign Judges compared with British Judges on entries, and their appeal to GSD exhibitors.
f) Seminars on the way our breed is Judged, the amount of fast gaiting, the levels of outside attraction, the time taken to Judge minor puppy & puppy classes, the length of time it takes Judges to Judge, and the finishing time of most GSD Breed Club CH. Shows which is currently around 6pm or 7pm. The importance of handlers in exhibiting our breed, can this be reduced, by a modified style of Judging. All of which affect the appeal of GSD exhibiting.
g) The way GSD exhibitors conduct themselves at Shows, participation in General Championship shows, including Group competition.
h) Greater accountability within our breed to constantly monitor all GSD Shows, particularly GSD CH. Shows, with a view to identifying the many negatives and positives, then proposing changes or alterations which will enhance our sport.
i) Having at least a maiden or Novice class at each Championship Show which encourages new exhibitors.
j) Having a junior handling class at each Show to encourage youngsters into our Show scene.
k) Holding regular “brainstorming” sessions within our breed, within clubs, to draw out ideas for progress.
l) CH. Show Judges should retire at 70 years of age, or earlier.
The GSD League of Great Britain presents these proposals in a genuine attempt to bring about the changes necessary to radically improve and re-invigorate our GSD Show Scene. We sincerely believe these proposals offer a great opportunity. We understand they will be difficult for some to fully accept, we ask that they put the interest of our breed ahead of any local or particular club interest. We hope they will be fully supported by the Kennel Club and the whole of our breed.
GSD League Chairman: Graham Stephens
GCS = GENERAL CHAMPIONSHIP SHOW – BCS = BREED CLUB CHAMPIONSHIP SHOW