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Kennel Club of UK


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Flush, I think you and I probably agree more than not.  I know that it is human nature to ignore (kennel blind) or flat-out deny problems in a breed.  But people will always be people, and that's what we are stuck with. Personally, I trust the folks in the breed more than I would an overall non-breed-specific committee.  YMMV and I certainly may be wrong.

I honestly do not think of my dogs as AKC branded... I'll have to mull that over some as I have never considered that perspective...  In my mind, AKC is a registration organization and supports activities for breeders/owners/fanciers to better enjoy and evaluate their dogs.  I prefer to fight my battles within the National Club...  if they ever lose their damn minds and, say, decide to take Clumbers out of the sporting group and into the Terriers... well that's when I will stop supporting them.  But for now, I think they are the best recourse and body for addressing problems and encouraging improvements. I have a better chance of my rantings being considered within our club then with AKC.  (And besides, one of my battles with the AKC resulted in a big change in the hunt test rules, so that is probably my only WIN for my lifetime with that body, anyhow.)

Honestly, there are probably at least a score of Clumber people who would fall over in shock to read me defending the national club... lol  We don't agree on some major issues.

Bulldogs? Yep - they are messed up. In my opinion, anyhow. And historically gaining popularity with the general public is not a road to improvement... but who knows.  Maybe that will spur improvement faster.  In some ways I think that in breeds in the Sporting, Working, Hound, Herding, and Terrier groups have it a lot easier because we can use performance events styled for what our breeds were created for, and that pushes changes through faster than anything else.  No one wants bullbaiting tests.  Agility is not something for Bulldogs and probably shouldn't be... Rally is a great event for them - but may not be specialized enough to create changes in the breed.  In these ways, I think they have a tougher road.

I have no issue with the AKC pressuring clubs to do right by their breeds, and I think they are doing this more and more. For instance, they pressured all member clubs to add a rescue coordinator to the board.  Great Idea.  They pushed for standards to be more, well, standardized and with less flowery vague terms like "Leaf-shaped" to describe preferences. I am still waiting for how that ends up, and I can see both sides.  I mean, how else to really describe a Greyhound's proper ear than rosebud shaped, right?  "thrown back and folded" doesn't give the same image.

I think it was originated at AKC to change the wording in our standard from "...massive heavy..." to "substantial" in an effort to stop the breed from going behemoth and fat.  I didn't really check the origin of the push, I agreed with it on such a gut level that I just grabbed the flag and ran with it.

And I didn't mean to imply that i think the system is perfect or even best.  I don't know of a better one, though.  I DO think that the growing list of health conditions that can be categorized and screened for at the DNA level is going to have a HUGE effect on all our breeds, and the continuation of them.  We just in the last 5 years went from never having heard of a debilitating genetic condition, to discovering - via genetic screening - that something like 30% of tested Clumbers were carriers.  I don't recall the total number of Clumbers tested, but it was a substantial percentage.  IN this case, there is zero appearance of the condition in a carrier - it is a nice simple pure Mendel-esque situation where breeding 2 carriers can result in an affected offspring and breeding a carrier to a unaffected will at worst result in more carriers, but never affected.  I believe that less than 5 dogs were affected.  Clearly, this was a timebomb we dodged.  Folks like myself now advertise our dogs as clear (thankfully, all 4 of ours are clear) in the same way we advertise them as other clearances.  SOME Clumber people include their carrier dogs in ads, and those folks are possibly an exception.  If, say, our super boy Briggs had been a carrier would I advertise it?  Dunno. Of course I would disclose it to anyone considering him as a stud, or owners of his pups - same as I would that he does not have the greatest hips, although they are exponentially better than we could claim even 5 years ago.

See? I might be part of the problem too!  Points for honesty?

Another consideration... if I were to ask 100 folks with other breeds if they think entropian is bad and should be bred out - I bet 90+ would agree.  Except that in a couple breeds, including ours, it is almost called for in our standard... why?  Because Clumbers (and Sussex, as another example) were designed to slam through the thickest, nastiest, thorniest cover if there is a bird there.  The droopy skin and eyes actually protect them from crap getting into their eyes when they hunt.  I have seen this repeatedly, and compared notes with other hunting breeds who have tight eyes but more eye injuries.  Should entropian be wiped out in Clumbers?  You may disagree, but I say no.  We need to monitor the eyes like crazy so they don't get extreme, but losing the droopy eye would not only, imo, take a health advantage away from my dogs doing what they do best, but it would impact the type of the breed more than I would like.  We still CERF all our dogs and pay close attention to their eyes because we are aware of this. Currently in my pack (knock on wood!) there are no eye problems though all would possibly be called slightly entropic. As they get older (Jubilee) they are at risk for dry eye, but that is easily & cheaply treated.

We'll always have people who make wrong choices, and that can't be fixed by more regulating.  There will always be breeders that I want to hit with a 2x4 "clue stick", and breeds that I think are heading down the wrong path.  But where in life is that any different?

I've blathered too much already.  All can go ahead and flame me if they want, I'll do my best to bow out of the conversation now unless someone wants a specific answer. Since my breed was singled out in the UK report, and since our national club has been riled up about it, I felt like I should contribute some (too many) words to the discussion.  I look forward to reading other opinions, including those calling me names.  

:upside:

Rock on and peace out. Hug your dogs.

~tracy

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