It seems a long time ago since the BBC broadcast the Pedigree Dogs Exposed documentary but the reaches of that programme and the waves it caused have been continuing.
The Kennel Club came under much fire, whether rightly or wrongly (we have debated this in an earlier article Pedigree Dogs Exposed: The Aftermath), but it seems they have seen fit to change their ways and in their words, speed already-planned activities up with the now much-improved support from the relevant dog breeders clubs.
Only this week, The Times published an article about how the Kennel Club is insisting that German Shepherd dog breeders change their ways or it is threatening to remove their rights to hold KC approved championship shows.
There are 33 German shepherd breed clubs in the UK and some of them have been angered by this announcement. Many state this is just the Kennel Club picking on a high profile breed to make themselves look proactive following the documentary findings.
It is certainly true, as pointed out in the letter from the Kennel Club to the breed clubs that the way the German shepherd breed has been bred over the last decade or so has resulted in weakened rear legs making the dog look crouched and many hip problems.
The Kennel Club has proposed to re-work the breed standards to ensure dog breeders change so they breed their German shepherds to remove this ‘deformity’ as some call it.
The threat of removing the right to championship shows may not sound much but for dog breeders it’s quite a big deal. A purebred German shepherd puppy might sell for around £1,000 but if it has top competition parentage as the stud dog or breeding bitch then this figure can treble or climb to £6,000 to £10,000.
Caroline Kisko, the secretary of the Kennel Club, said that action had to be taken. “German shepherd breeders do not accept they have a health problem and need to change the way they breed their dogs,” she said. “They do not meet our standards and until we see some movement the challenge certificates are on hold.”