Crufts In The Dog House Again


Crufts faces controversy again following the announcement of the winner of the GSD Best of Breed at this years event.

GSD winner at Crufts 2016

The GSD bitch, Cruaghaire Catoria, who was awarded top honours in her breed group, was seen struggling to walk and sporting a sloping back which looked almost deformed.

People were shocked, saddened and dismayed to see her. Social Media has allowed the public to express their feelings. One post on the KC Facebook page mirrored what many people were feeling.

Laura Robinson: "DISGUSTING that you allowed a crippled GS dog to even be there! The poor animal has been forced into a life of agony just to satisfy your twisted idea of perfection. CRUFTS IS A FREAK SHOW!"

PETA UK, in their article 9 Reasons Crufts Is Messed Up echo the "freak show" feeling. "Crufts is all about celebrating dogs who have been bred by humans to have unnatural, exaggerated features".

Writter for the Independent, Mimi Bekhechi, penned similar thoughts on the event Crufts is a spectacle of cruelty. It is very well written and well worth a read, discussing not only the GSD situation but the many other breeds also affected.

Jemima Harrison, writer of the Pedigree Dogs Exposed blog, posted further footage of the winning German Shepherd that was edited out of Channel 4's broadcast. The Kennel Club admitted they had deliberately removed this footage following concerns over "the unsound movement of the dog".

It is distressing that we are still facing these issues. Back in 2008 a BBC documentary, Pedigree Dogs Exposed, was televised. This in-depth investigation into the health of pedigree dogs stated that many pedigree dogs suffered because owners bred them for looks.

That same year and in the wake of the show being aired, the BBC removed Crufts from their schedule. After identifying certain unhealthy dog breeds, they stated that they would only televise the event again if those breeds be excluded from participating. One of the breeds believed to have been cause for concern was in fact the German Shepherd Dog (GSD).

The Kennel Club said they were putting measures in place to improve the health of pedigree dogs but refused to meet the demands of the BBC, claiming it would "compromise both contractual obligations and our general responsibility to dog exhibitors and our audience". What about their obligations towards dogs?

The RSPCA also withdrew from Crufts after the 2008 event and have again this year voiced their disapproval. "The RSPCA shares the concerns of the public and would strongly urge the Kennel Club to take urgent action to better protect the welfare of dogs taking part in these events."

They also point out that the GSD group was not the only problem area, saying that the Pekingese winner of the Toy group was "panting heavily and struggling to breathe".

Beverley Cuddy, editor of Dogs Today magazine, said "The show ring has changed the way many dogs look and you could say that they are now deformed. They are certainly not in the form they started off in."

This Youtube video called 'The German Shepherd Dog Then and Now' sums the point up perfectly.

So what will be done?

German Shepherd Dog then and nowThe GSD League of Great Britain have issued a statement regarding the GSD Best of Breed at Crufts 2016 saying the breed group winner "is a correct type to the German Shepherd Dog standard, she has a KC/BVA hip score of 13 and elbow score of 0 – these scores are well below the maximum for showing at WUSV shows, the Kennel Club have no minimum standard for showing or breeding purposes. She is a fit, healthy, family dog."

They go on to say that the bitch was overwhelmed in the main arena and "did not show her true beauty or proper movement."

A petition has been started requesting that the Kennel Club bans the breeding and showing of German Shepherd Dogs with excessively sloping backs. Steph Lang started the petition with a single signature and now has 19,697 supporters.

You can sign the petition here KC to ban excessively sloping backs in German Shepherd Dogs

The Kennel Club have suggested that the breed might be removed from further Crufts competitions. The inherent suggestion there is that only the GSD breed has issues, which is not the case. We really do have to ask whether the dog beauty pageant aspect of Crufts still has a place in today's society?

By Jenny Prevel

© D for Dog
This article belongs strictly to D for Dog and we do not authorise the copying of all or any part of it.

Sara Morgan
16 March 2016  |  2:28

Am I reading this right? The UK GSD group is saying this is correct for the breed? Poor dog couldn't walk and neither could the other dog in the ring. These breeders and their fashionista supporters need a reality check. Crufts dirty politics and uselessness of judges who pass dogs plainly in pain into the ring. HORRIBLE!!

Soggy Doggy
01 April 2016  |  22:18

Caroline kisco said that the kc are doingall they can......Really simple suggestion: Any judge putting up a dog which is running on pastern and hock gets struck off the judges A list, B list and never gets to give out another rosette. Watch the breed thrive in less than 2 years. I include every breed specialist and all-rounder. Fewer judges to go round, but it sure makes room potentially for a whole crop of sane people. Anyone got a better idea?

Su Brown
02 April 2016  |  14:38

Could not agree more Soggy Doggy. I have bben a devotee of the GSD for many years more than I care to remember, and its just tragic to see them so 'deformed', what other word can one use! Back 'in the day', Specialist Judges were a breed to look up to and learn from......Not now, for sure......too many of them who certainly dont have the breeds they are 'Specialists' in at heart....Less is certainly more! and as for the Kennel Club!!!!!!!!????

Wendy Scott
01 April 2016  |  23:13

I don't think you should change the breed to make them aesthetically pleasing

05 November 2016  |  23:08

Agree but what the heck is aesthetically pleasing about the weak hindquarters currently in fashion???

02 April 2016  |  12:13

I think Crufts should be stopped, this is certainly not about the breed standard. I have seen a few breeds who are NOT up to standard.

Jezz Moffat-Roberts
02 April 2016  |  12:26

this is just revolting it needs STOPING NOW........

Soggy Doggy
02 April 2016  |  21:16

Thank you for thinking about my suggestions. We had our last gsd in the80s, after that it was deerhounds as for the last 30 years. See a change in my breed too, "standardised show dog", a lot changing since we can no longer test dogs in the field. Many breeds are changing, in Germany there is now a pug club for "proper"pugs, legs and noses, at this rate I can see more than just gundogs splitting up into show and working. Friends of ours have working cockers and labradors, neither resemble show dogs. Very sad. We keep working deerhounds and they are jolly plain compared to their show brethren. Notable, that our dogs win under judges who have/know what working dogs look like. As I said, very sad, but it takes more than dna testing to breed sound dogs. Maybe enough people will wake up, where there's life, there's hope.

Soggy Doggy
02 April 2016  |  21:24

Another thought: I go to dog shows to assess the breed, that is what shows are really about, not winning. It is the only place where I can see dogs from the whole of the UK, I can get an idea of the overall strengths and weaknesses in the breed, and hopefully see the next dog to consider as a father for my next litter. Winning does not interest me personally, I am by now quite capable o f making my own mind up. But it took a lot of years of looking at a lot of dogs at the same time, and that is the real function of a show to my mind.