The RSPCA, Great Britain’s version of the ASPCA, began boycotting the Crufts show in 2009, due to the exclusion from competition of dogs who couldn’t prove their parentage. They made this bold move because of scientific evidence that shows that the in-breeding common in show dog circles can perpetuate inherited health problems. Their statistics show that one in four pure-bred dogs suffers from congenital defects including heart disease, epilepsy, and hyperthyroidism.
The RSPCA also cites research that shows in-bred Dachshunds often develop spinal problems while Cavalier King Charles Spaniels can have a brain defect as breeders seek to flatten the top of the head to meet the breed standard. For it’s part, the Kennel Club (Britain’s AKC) says that judges are trained to reward only healthy dogs in the show ring.
However, under pressure from animal rights groups, Crufts has developed a competition we might see as “separate but equal” (which as you know from American history, doesn’t always work out so well.) The new competition for mongrels, known as the Scrufts Show, features several national competitions which whittle down the field to four dogs who go head-to-head to become the Scrufts Champion.
I agree it’s a start. Time will tell if this is enough to solve the controversy entirely.
Until next time,
Good day, and good dog!