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Christina Maxwell
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Thank you for a thoughtful article but I feel you are being a little unfair to the Kennel Club. Obviously the current examination of the 15 breeds (and the timing of it) with withdrawal of Best of Breed for those who 'fail' does seem like taking a sledgehammer to crack a nut but I can see where they are coming from. In recent years we have had the rewriting of breed standards and the formation of breed councils, both of which, in the case of my breed (Chows) has had some benefit. In our case entropion has been reduced and also skin problems, though I suspect that has as much to do with changes in feeding and improved parasite control. However, as far as I can tell there has been little improvement in, for instance, hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia and cruciate ligament injuries. None of these, obviously, can be diagnosed by sight alone though in my experience, with Chows, you can get some idea by looking at the conformation of the hind quarters. Some Chows have what I call 'teapot bum(!)', where the tail looks like it has been stuck on as an afterthought rather than flowing up and over the spine as it should. I personally don't have a problem with very heavy headed Chows as in my experience they still function perfectly well, both in their everyday lives and breeding-wise, as long as they don't have entropion. I was informed by a very wise man, the chief eye man at Edinburgh Vet School in fact, that entropion is NOT determined by the heaviness of the head but by an equal mix of genetics and environmental factors, something that is bourne out by my own exoeriences with the breed in that of the four I have had to have operated on one was heavy and three were certainly not! Of the three who were not two suffered badly from skin problems and the entropion started during bad eczema flare ups. Apologies for my random musings and anecdotal observations. I would like to add that I feel extremely sad for the breeders of the dogs who were disqualified at Crufts, what a horrible shock for them and I have seen nothing to suggest that they are anything but decent breeders. In summary the Kennel Club might have got the METHOD a bit wrong but the INTENTIONS are right.
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Mar 10, 2012