Personally, I feel the British Kennel Club's apparent encouragement of breeders to produce more and more hideously disfigured dogs - German Shepherds that can barely walk, Pekingnese, Boxer, Bulldog etc which can barely breathe properly - and possibly even worse, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels which suffer terrible pain because their skull is too small for their brain, should be investigated by animal welfare groups - and stopped . . . (rant ends.)
The above was originally written in 2004, several years before the BBC Panorama documentary on the same subject. Since the BBC programme, it has been edited to include the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel case, as that is particularly horrific.
Update - (11th May 2010).
Affiliates of the Kennel Club have recently appealed to me to remove the above comments because they believe the Kennel Club are taking sufficient steps to improve the health and welfare of dogs registered in their name.
I heartily applaud this but until I actually see improvements, such as Crufts-winning German Shepherds that can walk like normal dogs and Crufts-winning snub nosed breeds that can breathe properly (in other words, until the Kennel Club insist their members allow dogs to be normal healthy animals again, unmolested by the whims of fanciful show fanatics) my words will remain.
Update - 9th August 2010.
I'm told by more than one source that the Midland Border Collie Club have banned their members from taking part in our sheepdog training courses because of the comments I have made above.
If this is true, I'm surprised that a club would attempt to control its members' private lives in such a way, and I'm even more surprised that the members tolerate such control.
I understand that some members (including at least one committee member) have resigned from the club over this issue. I applaud anyone who is prepared to take such steps over something they believe in, and I would like to issue a challenge to the Midland Border Collie Club:
- If what I have written above is not true, prove it to me and I will remove it and publish an apology here.
- If what I have written above is true, why don't you urge the Kennel Club do more to protect the health and welfare of dogs?
Friday June 7th 2013.
If you have evidence that the Kennel Club's breed standards have been revised and the animal welfare issues mentioned above no longer apply, PLEASE let me know so that I can announce it here.