In response to the groundbreaking Pedigree Dogs Exposed documentary, the British Kennel Club has rolled out a new policy at this year’s Crufts, the largest and most influential dog show in the UK and perhaps the world. Best of Breed winners must pass a Vet exam before being rewarded their titles and right to move on to the Group and Best in Show rings. At least two dogs, the Peke and the English Bulldog, have already failed these Vet Checks during this first day at Crufts.
Bulldog and Pekingese fail Crufts vet checks
No dog representing the Pekingese and Bulldog breeds will compete in Thursday evening’s Best in Group competitions at Crufts after they failed the new veterinary checks that have been introduced to the show.
The Best of Breed award was not given to Pekingese, Palacegarden Bianca, or Bulldog, Mellowmood One In A Million, following their veterinary checks, which were carried out by an independent veterinary surgeon. This means that the dogs will not be allowed to continue into the Toy or Utility Best in Group competitions respectively.
Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: “We are determined to ensure that the show ring is a positive force for change and that we help to move breeds forward by only rewarding the healthiest examples of a breed.
“The veterinary checks were introduced to ensure that dogs with exaggerated features do not win prizes. The independent veterinary surgeon decided that the Pekingese and Bulldog should not pass their checks and therefore they did not receive their Best of Breed awards and will not be representing their breeds in the remainder of the competition.”
High profile Best of Breed vet checks to be launched at Crufts
Changes have been made to the way that the fifteen high profile breeds are awarded Best of Breed, to ensure that only fit and healthy dogs are awarded Best of Breed.
The changes, which came into effect on 1 March 2012, mean that any dog in the fifteen high profile breeds which is selected as Best of Breed at Crufts 2012 and at all subsequent Kennel Club licensed General and Group Championship Shows, will need to be given a clean bill of health by the show veterinary surgeon before their Best of Breed award is confirmed and before they are allowed to continue to compete in the final stages of the show involved.
These are two iconic breeds, both of whom came under intense scrutiny in the PDE documentary and around the blogosphere for the extreme brachycephaly which renders them oxygen deprived and prone to overheating and collapse from even moderate exercise. Winning Pekes are often displayed on blocks of ice to cool them to prevent heat stroke and Bulldogs are so malformed that they often are unable to breed and whelp naturally.
The English Bulldog is the veritable icon breed of England and this health screen failure sends a very strong message that the continued feebling of this breed will not be rewarded by the KC even if breed judges continue to put these dogs up for trophies.
The ability of this policy to effect change depends entirely on how stringent these Vet checks are and the willingness of the KC to keep them in place following the likely backlash of any failed high profile dogs. The early news is that the KC is serious and these vet checks are not meaningless rubber stamping of problem dogs.
The Pekingese PalaceGarden Bianca, from the same kennel and relative to this year’s winning Westminster Best In Show Peke PalaceGarden Malachy, and the English Bulldog Mellowmood One In A Million are the first two casualties of this new policy and hopefully two of the last casualties of breeding fads that have grown corrupt.
Congratulations to PDE and to the KC for highlighting this issue and for putting into place serious tools that can have the power to change the show culture and improve these crippled breeds.
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