A response to PETA’s disruption of Crufts…

Chuck’s Mummy here! I don’t often write long ranty posts, but I’m going to, to stand alongside every dog show handler, breeder, and dog. I don’t really care if anyone agrees or disagrees but this article makes me absolutely FURIOUS… and here’s why:

1) You cannot compare the cruelty of a bullring to Crufts or indeed any dog show at any level. If you’re going to stand up for animal rights, go and tackle illegal dog fights. Go and tackle puppy farming, animal testing, the ivory trade, hunting, game sports… go and tackle real abuse. Not a dog show where people put their dogs first.

2) “breeding dogs for their looks” – that’s an incredibly shallow scratch on the surface of what we do. We breed for temperament, health and type. Judges are judging against these qualities, they don’t go “ahhh, cute! First prize!” Many dogs are indeed bred for their looks – look at all the “designer” cross-breeds around. You know what? The KC takes a dim view of breeding for looks. They just don’t shout as loud about it as maybe they should. “Being bred with “pushed-in” faces and weak hips is what puts them at risk” this isn’t actually what Crufts is there for at all… you need to tackle the general public on this one, and the irresponsible breeders who will happily not test their dogs, not pay attention to Inbreeding COI scores and general disregard everything in pursuit of cold hard cash. If there’s a market, they’ll sell to it. Lots is being done to promote healthy stock by the KC, more than ever before, but this is a long multi-faceted marathon to improve, so many of these “deformed” dogs are being imported from abroad now, because UK breeders are taking a stand. It’s a bigger issue than dog shows themselves. Notice that none of these “deformed” dogs were put through to the show you disrupted. Things are moving forward, and you would do better to help promote welfare than protest against showing.

3) In a world where people are in a heightened state of paranoia over terror attacks, what the bloody hell did you think you were doing, storming the show ring? Do you know the panic you caused? It wasn’t helping your cause. You looked irresponsible. You say “my aim is to give audiences pause, to get them to stop and consider” – yeah, do you know what they paused to consider? If they were about to get blown up. Idiot.

4) Do you really know the organisation you’re “speaking” for, with these acts? PETA euthanise perfectly healthy dogs and other animals because they simply can’t be bothered to rehome them. They’ve even admitted to this. Why?

5) “I was no threat to the animals in that arena, but undoubtedly they did feel threatened by the thousands of people, bright lights, music, and loudspeaker announcements in the ring and by being yanked around by the neck, even while wearing choke collars.” They’re not wearing choke collars, they’re literally on the flimsiest of strings… Look at the canine body language of the dogs in that ring, did they look threatened, scared? No. Nobody would take a threatened, scared dog into a show ring like that – they’re well-acclimated to being in this sort of environment. Do you know what threatens them? A crazy person storming the ring and running at them.

6) “when they weren’t being forced to perform, they were being sprayed with products or confined to crates – all weekend long”. Incorrect on many levels, they’re not there all weekend long, you’re there for the time you’re showing, that’s all. You wander around, you go outside, you eat, you snooze… and when did crate training become abuse? Yes, some (but certainly not all) are sprayed with products – most of which carry fewer toxins than the things humans use on themselves. Nobody can force a dog to perform. Have you ever tried getting a Newfoundland into a bath when he doesn’t want to go? Good luck with that one… The steward wouldn’t even let you in the ring if they saw distress.

If I had been in that ring, and you had come within a metre of me and my dog, I’d have taken you down (and Chuck would have probably got to you first). How dare you put me and Chuck in the category of “animal abusers”, you misinformed, camera-hungry fanatic.

Crufts 2018

What an experience!  I loved every second – my tail was wagging, I was giving everyone lots of kisses and cuddles, mum felt sick with nerves and I came second in my class! You can see the results listed here – I’m Tough Cookie at Bolhaus.

It was a long, long day for the humans.  At least I had my crate trolley to have a nap in, but no chance for M&D!

A picture says so much more than any words, so here are some highlights… not all of these photos were taken by Dad, so he’d like to thank Archie’s Dad, Mollie’s PA and anyone else who took photos of me and sent them to us!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

It arrived!

Not all shows offer rosettes, when you qualify for Crufts, you can apply for a qualification rosette as you don’t automatically get given one just for qualifying.  It’s not necessary, but it’s a nice touch.  For many of us, it’s a big deal to even qualify.

So we got the rosette, it arrived in June, and I’m incredibly proud of it (and tried to eat it).

IMG_1539

WT Association Champ. Show

So, being incredibly unprepared (but incredibly well groomed), off we went to Wales for the WTA Championship Show.  It’s a breed championship, so only WTs.

Now, I only entered one class.  Postgraduate Dog.  This was because in previous shows, mummy learned that if you enter more than one class, win one but get beaten in another, you are no longer an “unbeaten dog”.  Only unbeaten dogs can progress to Best Dog, Best of Breed etc etc.  So we decided to just enter one class, so if I won, I wouldn’t then be beaten in another.

There were four entries in my class.  All younger than me, and two of whom were far better qualified already.  One was a ShCM, for example.

We saw lots of friends from the WT Club show, and lots of other exhibitors came up to offer us tips and assistance to ‘get it right’.  Mummy had soft shoes, tweed in a complementary colour.  I had my new grooming trolley…

Here I am in the ring…

I came second in my class.  So that meant I didn’t qualify through to Best Dog.  I came second in my first ever championship class.  Out of four! Now, initially, mummy was a little disappointed, this was my only class entered, so coming second meant I was eliminated unless the winner of PGD went on to Best of Breed and I could then come back in to challenge for Best Dog.

Whilst Mummy was sulking, one of our friends sidled up to Daddy (Photographer & Chauffeur in Chief) and said how pleased we must be for qualifying for Crufts!

WTA05

Here we are – the 1st and 2nd in PGD.  Ben (who came first) is a cracking dog and his dad John is one of the most helpful exhibitors we’ve met!

SO – coming second in a breed class qualifies you for Crufts – if only we had actually read the qualification criteria in my earlier blog post.  We were actually shocked.  This was our fourth ever show?!

Points of the Dog

Apparently you can’t just say “nice chap, isn’t he?”… There’s a whole vocabulary of doggy anatomy when judges look at us, and it’s called “Points of the Dog”.  In America, it’s called Conformation.

People say things about me, which mummy didn’t understand, like “good stifle”.  WHAT?  I’ve got a nice stifle.  Where is that?  So…

We all have a Breed Standard… Here’s ours for Welsh Terriers.  This tells us how we should look and move.

The Breed Standard will use words from the Points of the Dog anatomy vocabulary.  Here’s a good explanation.  The Kennel Club runs tests and training for judges to learn these terms!

Basically, I have nice knees…

Oxfordshire Show

show5Second Show ever.  Another Open show, another AVNSC class.  This time the Oxfordshire And District Canine Society on 5 March 2017.  More on offer for AV Terriers here, so we entered me into Postgraduate Dog and Open Dog.  I was the only entrant in AVNSC PGD and won the class, only to come third (!) in Open.

When you win a class, that entitles you to be judged ‘best of’ AV alongside the winners of all the other classes within that group.  If you win best AV, you then get judged alongside all the other breeds to become Best Terrier, and so on and so forth until Best in Show (like Crufts, yeah?).

What mummy didn’t realise is that if you win one class and then don’t come first in another, you’re a beaten dog, so you can’t move up the judging scale.  We should have withdrawn after winning PGD.

show6

But at least we won a class!  And daddy even came to this one!  He took pictures.

Onwards!

Starting a Show Career

In January, we started going to Ringcraft classes.  Primarily to socialise me better after I got into a few fights over the Summer last year.  Also, I quite like ‘standing’ and everyone always said how nicely I stood.  After all, 90% of a dog show is just standing in a lineup, right?!  I’ve attended Crufts before, as a breed representative for Welsh Terriers in their Discover Dogs stands, and I always enjoyed that.  Mummy thought that would be all we’d ever manage.  Not so!

show1So, we started Monday night “school” with the Buckinghamshire Canine Society, who run ringcraft classes locally.  At just over 3 years old, I was almost certainly the oldest pupil there… mostly lots of puppies of various sizes.  And absolutely no other Welsh Terriers.  Lots of Italian Greyhounds, Frenchies, retrievers etc… In fact, I think I was the only terrier of any breed!

Safe to say, I absolutely LOVED it.  Like, really really loved it.  I was fed cheese cubes to stand nicely, I got to meet other dogs who liked to stand around, and got touched by strangers.  The Society were holding a show later that month, so I got entered into that…

show2