Michelle Wright was delighted that her Ziva’s official Show Certificate of Merit confirmation finally came through and at Rutherglen Canine Club, Lacetrom Shuna ShCM celebrated by getting Best of Breed and then winning the Utility Group under judge Janet Kaye. It was their “Valentines” show so all the rosettes were pink with hearts on and they received a chocolate rose!
The same weekend at Swansea and District Canine Club, Sue Lindsay and Ch Cosmic Dreams Damn You Look Good for Mezanda got Best of Breed from judge Ian Page, the Utility Group from Bridget Croucher and then Sue and Asta ended up winning the Champion stakes and Best in Show from judge Gavin Robertson. They also won £20 cash, a Dorwest voucher, a Magnum of champagne and to finish it off Sue won bottle of plonk on the raffle!
Whilst having a clear out of some files, I came across this article that I wrote in October 2004. Hard to believe (and really sad) but that fifteen years on, absolutely nothing has changed and if anything, the state of the breed is in an even worse state.
WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD??
Not only are we seeing the number of puppies born plummeting to new depths each year, the knock on effect this is having on show entries is also becoming more apparent.
Even after taking into account the usual reasons for not entering a show; too far to travel, too expensive, don’t like the judge etc etc, two things are obvious – generally low numbers in the ‘age’ classes. ie minor puppy, puppy and junior and a high rate of absentees. Bitches in season & dogs dropping coats are one thing, but if puppies aren’t being born, where is the next generation of show dogs and more importantly, the stud dogs and brood bitches of the future going to come from??
Gone are the days (of not so long ago) when there would be 10 plus dogs in a class, with classes of 20 plus at Crufts not unusual. This year there have been less than 20 dogs/20 bitches in total at most of the Championship shows. As dog shows are traditionally regarded as a viewing place for potential stud dogs and seeing their progeny, do small entries and/or the same winning dogs encourage an artificially limited choice? Are dog shows not only becoming surplus to requirements, but contributing to the decline of the breed?
Modern lifestyles generally restrict the number of dogs that are now kept; the days of the “big kennels” are long gone, most breeders tending to keep only one puppy from a litter to “carry on” with. How often have you discovered that the best puppy from a litter has in fact gone to a loving pet home and will never see a show ring or be bred from?? Unfortunately none of us are getting younger, yet how many young people do we have coming into the breed for the 1st time as owners, let alone wanting to show their Keeshonden?
We seem to have an ever decreasing gene pool, are small litters a natural progression? Is this nature’s way of saying the breed is going in the wrong direction? Surely if the breed was in a healthy state then larger litters and more puppies would be born. Has breeding for success in the ring been at the expense of type & health?
Not only do we run the risk of losing CC’s at the general Championship Shows, which in itself would probably be no bad thing, we also run the very real risk of not having any Keeshonden left in this country to celebrate the breeds Centenary in 2025. What is the answer – is there an answer? I don’t know, but is a situation that cannot be ignored for much longer.