Club have suspended the Challenge Certificates (CC’s) from
German Shepherd Dogs (GSD) for the year 2012. CC’s are used
for achieving the title of Champion in the UK, a dog needs 3
CC’s under three different Judges to be awarded the title of
This is an
unprecedented act against a breed, so the possible reasons
for this decision by the Kennel Club certainly need to be
carefully examined. The crux of the Kennel Clubs issues with
the GSD Breed is supposedly and primarily concerned with the
Health & Welfare of the GSD Breed. An admirable and laudable
cause for sure, until you examine the facts of the Kennel
Clubs refusals over many years to accept numerous proposals
directly addressed at significantly improving the Health of
the GSD and ALL Pedigree Dogs in the UK, put to them by,
you’ve guessed it! THE GSD BREED.
Club have placed three issues at the centre of their reasons
for suspension of GSD CC’s, as follows: “topline of the GSD”,
“looseness in the hocks” (bottom of rear legs) and “double
None of these
issues are KNOWN causes of health problems with the GSD, and
most importantly NONE of these issues have an established
health screening system in place with the British Veterinary
Profession for measuring the ‘problem’.
One issue the
KC has included in their letter to the GSD Breed Clubs is
“unsound hocks” – the lower end of the rear legs. I would
simply say that this is not a major problem within the GSD
or the Alsatian; however current Judging practices do deal
with this problem. The problem can occur slightly and to a
more serious degree, I have only ever seen one case of
severe looseness in the hocks over the last 10+ years. The
looseness is not caused by Hip problems and seems to be
related to ligaments, there are possible environmental
factors involved and possible hereditary factors involved.
Whatever the reasons our breed is dealing with it, can we do
more? Of course we can, however we would be silly to heavily
penalise slight looseness in the hocks on an otherwise
outstanding specimen of our breed. Getting the balance right
is what really matters, and our GSD/Alsatian breed
specialists are the best equipped for doing this.
the “topline” of the GSD, this is a breed characteristic
accepted and established throughout the World, and most
importantly established in the GSD Breed Standard by its
supreme authority the German GSD Breed Club, the
Schäferhunde Verein (SV). Which again is fully accepted as
the authoritive Breed Club for GSD by the Federation
Cynologique Internationale (FCI). The FCI is the World-wide
organisation for over 200 National Kennel Clubs. Somehow and
for some reason the Kennel Club here in the UK, believe it
has the authority, if not the expertise, to insist on major
changes in the breed type of the GSD, established by the
German SV and underpinned by the FCI.
By now you may
be asking yourself WHY? Why is the Kennel Club (KC) pushing
so hard for such a change? I can only surmise, and my
conclusion “the Alsatian”. This was the name give to the GSD
by the Kennel Club after the First World War, when an army
Captain brought one of these dogs back to England with him,
and wanted to register the breed with the Kennel Club. The
KC knew at that time the breed name was Deutsche
Schäferhunde (German Shepherd Dog). It took another 50
years, until 1973 before the KC would name our breed “German
Shepherd Dog (Alsatian)”. This year the GSD breed asked for
the name (Alsatian) to be dropped. This appears to set off a
huge reaction from a minority group, aptly named
“Alsatianists”, who, although very small in number, appear
to have enormous influence within the corridors of power of
the Kennel Club. The “Alsatianists” favour a dog which is
different in several ways to the German & International GSD
Type. The first and most obvious difference the Alsatian
type possesses is the level backline, they also have what
appears to be a “forward placed shoulder” which give the
upright “swan neck” appearance of its head, although this
may also be caused by the “stringing up” of its head with
the collar chain behind the ears. Another obvious difference
is also the rather flat backline; no doubt the usual
overweight of this type contributes to this, and must also
contribute to the very common “dip” in their backline.
Another difference the Alsatian has, is the rather short
front legs, the GSD standard is for a front leg length which
is 55% (just over half) of the height of the dog to its
backline, actually to its “withers”, which is the front part
of their backline, where the neck meets the backline. The
Alsatians predominantly have front legs that are 45% of the
total height to the withers. Perhaps this facilitates the
Of course the
way a dog is stood, and there are many varied ways, can
alter the visual appearance quite markedly. This is
something that needs to be remembered, always.
The GSD on the
other hand has a “topline” which is established by its breed
standard and also clearly illustrated at the German Sieger
Show annually, which is the German SV Show, similar to
CRUFTS which is the Kennel Clubs Show. The German Sieger
Show is the largest numerically SINGLE breed Show (GSD) in
the World with over 2,000 entries each year, from around the
World. The GSD topline correctly consists of a high wither,
straight back, gently curving loin into a gently curving
croup (the part where the pelvis lies). The whole picture
gives the impression of an unbroken line from its ears, down
the neck and then gently curving topline through to its
tail. Of course this can be altered by the way a dog is
stood, and in some cases, probably too many cases, they can
be stood “extreme” which can give the impression of a
“roached” back. I would simply ask that if a human being was
regularly photographed on the starting blocks of a sprint
race, in a position waiting for the starting gun to fire,
would you conclude that ALL human beings, or human sprinters
had a problem with curved spines and “roached” backs, of
course not! And this is the “crux” of this issue.
important to add here, there are NO known health problems
associated with a gently curved topline in GSD or a flat and
occasionally dipped topline of an Alsatian.
So why is the
Kennel Club making such strenuous efforts to change the
topline of GSD towards the topline of the Alsatian? If I
were to be kind, I would suggest they are doing it to avoid
extremes; unfortunately they have not balanced their
‘topline’ concerns, in respect of the Alsatians extremes,
with fat, flat and dipped toplines. So that leaves me with a
few possible alternatives; they are reacting to the TV Film
“Pedigree Dogs Exposed” by Jemima Harrison, NOT well known
for any degree of expertise of GSD or Alsatians, but
obviously have a preference for Alsatians. Her film was also
very obviously “sensationalist” had it NOT been who the hell
would have broadcast it? And who the hell would have watched
So as far as
GSD’s are concerned we have to ask, can we safely ignore
what her film had to say about the GSD? Absolutely NOT, we
have to watch out for extremes in our breed type, there is a
“Breed Standard” and we will always need to be vigilant to
extremes of any kind, especially if they are connected to
the Health of our breed. There are some extreme toplines in
our breed, both GSD and Alsatians, so this needs to be
pointed out by our Judges and penalised accordingly. A
simple matter to agree on and to implement, one would
brings me to another possible reason for the Kennel Clubs
over-reaction against the GSD breed here in the UK. They
have what appear to be more serious health issues with
several other breeds, which were highlighted by the film
“Pedigree Dogs Exposed”, rightly or wrongly. These concerned
alleged oversized brains in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels,
breathing problems in Pekingese, and Bulldogs, and Epilepsy
problems with Boxers, spinal problems with Rhodesian
Ridgebacks, which included euthanising healthy puppies born
without the ridge, which is apparently associated with Spina
Is it possible
that for the Kennel Club to take these breeds on, would
involve some very well connected and influential Kennel
Clubs members? So they decided to go for the GSD breed,
because they are one of the least influential breeds within
the Kennel Club, and they are a numerically large breed. So
for the Kennel Club to “take the GSD breed on” will send a
powerful message to these other breeds, without the need to
“directly upset them”.
Kennel Club reasons, I find it both unnecessary and
despicable that they chose to suspend our CC’s when our
breed were involved in a series of meetings with them on
matters directly related to Health and Welfare of our breed,
and the Kennel Clubs refusal to include ANY health screening
systems as a condition of KC puppy registrations over many
years, YES, you have read that absolutely right! The
Kennel Club have, over many years, consistently REFUSED to
include Hips Scoring of parents as a condition of KC
registration of Litters, and many more Veterinary health
Kennel Club are being xenophobic? After all they originally
refused to name the German Shepherd Dog by this it’s
international name, and named it simply as “Alsatian” for
over 50 years.
I now come to
“double handling” – The GSD breed is presented in show rings
around the world which allow “double handling”, indeed many
countries facilitate double handling.
handling is where the dogs owner is outside of the show
ring, and calls the dog’s name, or whistles, or shouts, to
attract the dogs, which makes the dog alert and expressive.
It also encourages the dog to walk and gait out at the end
of the lead, ahead of its handler. The walking and gaiting
of the GSD in the Show ring can take some time, and it is
important to test the stamina and fitness of each dog, and
its firmness, soundness. A judge can see many aspects of a
GSD when it is moving, especially when it is walking.
The GSD breed
understands the need to curb double handling when they are
at an ALL Breeds Show; it is unfair to distract other breeds
being exhibited nearby. So a less than ideal form of judging
takes place, of necessity at these shows. However the GSD
breed see no reason whatsoever for banning double handling
at GSD Breed Shows, where NO other breed is being shown. An
outer ring can be facilitated, and static outside attraction
can take place, all of which enhances the Judging of our
breed, and enhances the presentation of our dogs, and
enhances the atmosphere of our GSD Shows. This is a SPORT,
can you imagine a rule banning any shouting or other noise
by football supporters at matches, even Cricket is raising
its supporter involvement. It’s about time the Kennel Club
realised this is a very important aspect of the GSD Show
mentions Health & Safety in respect of double handling, the
risk of injury. I would ask them for statistics to support
their claims, I would also point out that driving and
walking on our roads presents significant risk of injury and
even death, I am sure they wouldn’t ban walking and driving
on our roads, or would they? If they wish the KC can insist
on “outside attraction rings” or “areas” – with notices that
those entering and participating do so at their own risk.
Other than these facilities, “Static outside
attraction” presents NO RISKS. The Kennel Club may say that
“outside attraction” may benefit some exhibits over others,
if so, then such a notice of the facility of outside
attraction could state this, and all entries would enter
knowing this. Of course ALL BREED SHOWS would continue to
have “no outside attraction rules”.
Below are some
FACTS which are important to this issue.
BVA/KC Hip Dysplasia Scheme was introduced by the GSD
The Haemophilia testing scheme for 'Males' was
introduced by the GSD Breed.
The Elbow Dysplasia Scheme was introduced by the GSD
The Breed Survey Scheme, which included all the
above, was introduced by the GSD Breed.
The GSD Breed has on many occasions requested the
Kennel Club to introduce Rules & Regulations to specifically
improve the Health and Welfare of GSD. In particular the
Only to Register Litters from Hip Scored Parents. The
German SV has done this.
Only to Register Litters from Parents with a low hip
score. The German SV has done this.
Only Register Litters from a sire that is Haemophilia
Include ALL Health Screening Test details of the
Parents, on KC Registrations. The German SV has done this.
Establish a foolproof "IDENTIFICATION" Scheme for ALL
Pedigree Dogs, to ensure ALL Health Screening Tests are done
on the named Dog, and NOT a substitute. Also to ensure the
Pedigrees of ALL PEDIGREE DOGS are ACCURATE.
The German SV has done this.
Introduce a compulsory DNA Parentage Test for ALL
Pedigree Dogs. The USA has done this. The SV have done this
in Germany for GSD.
A Tattoo and/or Microchip Scheme for ALL Pedigree
Dogs. The German SV has done this.
The GSD Breed introduced a Comprehensive Judges
Training Scheme some 20+ years ago, by the GSD League. The
German SV has done this.
The GSD Breed Council now runs the GSD Breed Judges
The GSD Breed Council introduced GSD Breed Surveys
and GSD Breed Surveyors. The German SV has done this.
The GSD Breed introduced the FIRST Breed Show within
Great Britain which actually includes Health Screening Test
information and criteria in order to qualify to ENTER. "The
British Sieger Event" which is run under the Breed Club
Rules & Regulations of GERMANY. This is a kennel Club
‘unlicensed GSD Event, and the KC are threatening to
withdraw their ‘recognition’ of this GSD Event.
Club have NEVER included the Hip Score Results of Pedigree
Dogs as criteria for entering Kennel Club Shows. Worse
still, they have NEVER shown any intention of doing so. The
German SV does so.
Club will register litters from parents which are NOT hip
scored. The German SV will NOT.
Club allows pedigree dogs which are NOT hip scored to enter
their shows and achieve the "HIGHEST ACCOLADES" up to and
including "BEST IN SHOW AT CRUFTS". The German SV will not
allow this for any GSD over 2 years of age, or who has
failed to achieve an ‘a’ stamp for hips.
Club clearly have "DOUBLE STANDARDS" - their policies are
inconsistent and unfair to the pedigree puppy buying public.
They need to listen to the GSD Breed "MUCH MORE" and then
they will make real progress with the Health and Welfare of
Pedigree Dogs. They CAN take lessons from the German SV,
cease listening to "sensationalist video directors" and
their "personal drivers" and the KC influential "minority
Alsatianists" and KC influential minority "middle of the
road GSD folk" and "UNCLE TOM COBLEY AND ALL.
EXPERTISE EXISTS WITHIN THE UNITED KINGDOM
KENNEL CLUB SHOULD LISTEN TO THEM