Did You expect the short answer ?

Why didn’t we go to crufts? Well there’s a bit of an explanation behind it. Lets start with a little bit of history. Every dog attending Crufts for showing is considered to be there at the invite of The Kennel Club. For those that don’t know, this is the organisation that runs the event. There introduction can be found here.

In a nutshell, it was formed in 1873 to govern events involving dogs, including showing, field events and trials with the dogs welfare in mind, to the same standards nationally. 

They have come in for a lot of criticism over the years, I personally can remember sponsorship of the flagship event having both its sponsorship and TV coverage suspended following a BBC Documentary back in 2008. (This years event is been covered by Channel 4 and shown on YOU TUBE)

A google search will quickly reveal most of the reasoning behind this and the concerns people hold against The Kennel Club. This is not the focus of this blog entry.

As a Dog lover and a professional Dog groomer , I believe in the benefits of the symbiotic relationship between dogs and humans. Part of that relationship involves a duty of care on us to provide the best care we can, in housing, feeding, grooming and welfare in general. As professionals we should also be willing to share the knowledge around this with others. 

Having attended this event previously to speak with other Dog lovers about grooming and its benefits, a lot of attention on Dog grooming demonstrations has been given to those considered high maintenance breeds. Think Wool and wool mix coats, Poodles, Bichons, and their mixes. To me, just as important are those that are perhaps lower maintenance like the labrador, retrievers, and German Shepherds.

german Shepherd Alsation jack russellEnter Cedar…My 16 month old German Shepherd. Who loves been groomed.  We were both attending at Crufts to give a demonstration on the grooming requirements of this popular breed, on a stand held there every year by  The Groomers Spotlight

And then it started…

German Shepherds (Along with Bloodhounds, Bulldogs, Dog De Bordeaux, Mastiff, Neapolitan Mastiff,Pekingese,Pug and the St Bernard) Are classed as a Category 3 Breed by The Kennel Club. So Cedar was not to be allowed on The Groomers Spotlight Stand to give grooming demonstrations .What? I hear you ask, is a Category 3 Breed… Well. According to the Kennel Club under their Breed watch guidelines “The Kennel Club has highlighted a number of breeds as category 3 breeds on Breed Watch, as these breeds have been considered to be more susceptible to developing specific health conditions associated with exaggerated conformation; in particular problems that involve the eyes, skin, dentition, movement and respiratory function (breathing).”(Breed Watch kennel club page)

Why we didn’t go to Crufts.

On hearing this, Ill admit we were a bit taken aback. Did this mean then that these groups couldn’t be entered at Crufts ? On the contrary , from The Kennel Club website there are around 200 of these breeds entered, all be it a small proportion of the 19000 entries.  Also according to their website, The Kennel Club are keen to highlight the need for ongoing welfare for all dogs including their day to day care. So Whilst I may not be a huge fan of showing, surely we are on the same page from a welfare point of view. Having a German Shepherd on a stand that promotes welfare and Professional Grooming, is a good place to start education and conversations surrounding the breed.

I did try to email the kennel Club via their website, to ask the question “In View of the Kennel Clubs stance on the need for education in relation to the care and breeding of category 3 breeds, could you offer explanation as to why there are around 200 entrants registered for showing, yet one is not allowed on a stand that promotes education and Welfare at Crufts”

To date I have not received a reply. So  that’s the reason Myself and Cedar didn’t go to Crufts this year.

There were a number of qualified professional groomers that made the stand this year, and they all deserve a shout out for taking their time to demonstrate their skills and promote the welfare issues that they do. I would also like to give a mention to Julie Harris and Stuart Simons at The Groomers Spotlight for the hard work they put in. Hopefully I may see you next year. In the meantime..a little clip of what is involved in doing a full groom on a German Shepherd



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