Saturday 2nd November 2019
Firstly, I would like to welcome back to the Council North of Scotland, Potteries and Western which now takes the total constituent members to 14 out of 17 clubs let’s hope that in 2020 the remaining 3 clubs will consider re-joining. Also, this year we have seemed to change within clubs not least with three new Secretaries Michaela Riley for Merseyside, Stacey Rhodes for Northern Counties and Lisa Emery for the Western I am sure we wish them every success in their new roles.
At the last meeting I was tasked with contacting a few people and I now have some feedback on those letters that were sent out on behalf of the Breed Council
The first letter was sent to Kathryn Mansfield in relation to the issues surrounding the Terrier Group judging at Crufts this year when our Best of Breed was asked to place her dog on the table, which she declined. The letter to Kathryn was acknowledged and I was advised that this matter would be taken to the Board, I did have to chase up a response in which Jason Winnington replied to confirm that all Group judges will be made aware that the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is judged on the ground and not the table which I think is a result that they have taken notice.
The next letter was sent to the actual Group Judge Mrs Sporre-Willes but to date I have not had any response from her and doubt we will.
The next letter was sent to the Best of Breed winner for Staffordshire Laila Strom who was over the moon that we had contacted the KC on her behalf.
I also wrote to FCI President Dr Jakkal again I had a response and advised that this would be put forward to the relevant meeting this was sent on the 14th May and following my two follow up e-mails the last being the 21st October I have not received a reply from either him or Adrian Landarte who Dr Jakkal copied in with a view to bringing it to the relevant committee.
My next letter was also sent to Adrian Marret in relation to Mentoring under the JCF as we all know following the Kennel Club AGM the JCF was placed on hold following a Review which is now complete and will be taken to the SGM at the Kennel Club on the 12th November after which I am sure we will be updated on the outcome.
A letter was also sent to the Judged Department regarding the A2 assessment procedure again acknowledged and again I followed up with an e-mail recently and yet to receive a reply the points we as a Council put forward were valid.
1 provide feedback to the judge who has been assessed so they know how well they did and if there were any areas, they needed to improve upon
2. The KC to provide feedback to the Breed Club Secretary who organised the assessment to confirm that a response was received back by the Assessor.
I think both the Mentoring and A2 letters will be address following the SGM this month and I will do the necessary follow up after this date.
A letter went to the KC in relation to the CC rotation and if anything had been confirmed with a view to CC available from 2022. I did have a response from Catherine Doheny stating that the rotation will remain in place for 2023 and will be reviewed for 2024. We have an agenda item today to discuss this. As we know the current rotation was compiled by Jenny Smith at Notts & Derby back in 2011 and although we have not been asked to put forward a rotation for 2023 the delegates from Notts & Derby will be bringing to the table today something to discuss and take back to your Clubs for consideration to take the Kennel Club
Finally, the letter that I sent to Bill Lambert in relation to various Health matters following the Seminar in 2018 and his response back during the latter part of 2018 stating what could or could not be done about our concerns and ensuring our breed remains healthy.
There is a proposal to today in relation to the BC Secretary contacting the KC for an update however I had already contacted Bill prior to the proposal to see what was happening. I have sent him two emails and I even saw him at Discover Dogs and yet no reply. I am aware that the Kennel Club is having some major upheavals both with computer upgrades and the recent exits of key members of staff but for me there is no excuse to not even acknowledge the email when he clearly stated at DD he had received it. I will take direction today from the member with my next course of Action.
During 2019 the breed has received some good and bad press and we as caretakers need to keep educating the general public both Crufts and Discovers Dogs recently received a lot of interest and our thanks must go the volunteers who take the time out of their lives to attend these events with their dogs to educate and guide potential pet owners.
The breed has so much to give to the general public we continue to see the work that the East Anglian Club do with agility and attending various events around the UK we now have Police Service dog and other Staffords are now doing Scent work, they are also used as assistance dogs in some areas along with Pets as Therapy. All this highlights the breed in a positive light.
The Breed Record Supplement again is showing the continued high number of registrations of blue litters and in the Summer edition the number of Staffords registered was 2075 for the first 2 quarters of 2019 compared to 2264 in 2018.
Finally, the Officers for the Breed Council are up for re-election for the 2020- 2022 term of office. Nominations for Chairman Secretary and PRO should be with me by the 31st December 2019 .Following on from the point above the Council agreed that the breeds Lead Health Co-ordinator would also serve a term of 2 years, he/she is able to attend the Council meetings as an Observer and has no voting rights and nominations for this role should also be with the Breed Council Secretary by the 31st December 2019.
Helen E Reaney Secretary
KCBLO BREED COUNCIL MEETING REPORT
SATURDAY 2nd NOVEMBER 2019
We have almost completed our year as a BAND D breed after being downgraded from Band E. Our entries and averages are still falling and it does cause great concern for the future of the breed in the show ring, both for exhibitors and Judges alike. The figures are vastly different to the past 5 years and the drop is quite significant showing a steady decline since 2015. At one time everyone really pulled together to support the Breed Clubs with their entries including the numerous veterans entered which were a pleasure to see at the shows but even that trend has seemed to tail off now… im not sure whether its because some clubs are charging £x amount for veteran entries or whether there is a certain amount of apathy because after the great efforts of many we still dropped a band.
As far as this year to date goes we are currently sitting at an overall average entry of 115 after 38 shows (only 2 to go) compared to 135 at the end of 2018. We made a huge point to the Kennel Club about Breed Clubs ‘holding’ up the generals, which is still the case in some respect, BUT the drop is very notable and if our breed average continues to fall will we then loose CC’s ? Lets take a good look at the split between Breed Clubs and the Generals – to date we’ve had 13 Breed club shows with an overall entry of 1775 (2498 in 2018) and an average of 136; the generals to date with 25 shows have overall entries of 2624 (2776 last year) and we still have LKA to add on so it could well come back up to near enough the same overall average figure of 135. So comparing the breed clubs v the generals, it appears as though the breed club shows are the ones with the most significant fall in entries. We need to address this as much as we can to bring the entries back up before we are possibly scrutinised for CC allocation among the clubs.
As you may recall, I wrote to the Kennel Club at the request of the Breed Council stating the stark facts of the Breed Clubs high and successful entries/averages compared to the Generals. The Kennel Club were very accepting of our efforts as a breed but mentioned our unfortunate continuing fall in entries and that we should perhaps encourage everyone to enter the generals as well as Club shows, to further boost our entry figures for the future. The Kennel Club when reviewing these for stud book bands, take an average over a few years, and currently we are falling even more so lets would hope we don’t drop another Band. What do you think the answer is? Does anyone have any ideas or can you suggest a better and fairer way that the KC should decide the stud book bands and also the CC allocation level?? Please feed any suggestion back to myself and I would be happy to discuss with the KC.
Regarding my letter to the Kennel Club about the North Wests proposal (supported by the Breed Council) that the Kennel Club offer reduced registration fees for breeders of puppies from parents that have followed breed specific requirements and recommendation in relation to health testing, and that they should be afforded the same privileges as puppies that are registered from an ABS member breeder. The item was once again discussed at the Liaison Council meeting. The Council felt it would be a logistical concern as to how to police whether the said litters had followed health test requirements as every breed has its own set of recommendations. Having considered the matter fully, the Council by majority agreed not to progress the matter further.
CC allocations from 2022 onwards as has been announced by the Kennel Club, is that we remain the status quo and this will be reviewed for 2024 onwards. We need to up our game to retain or even grow our CC allocation based on our current entries etc.
The breed ‘appears’ to be picking up from a breeding of litters point of view in relation to the ‘rare’ colours… by that of course I mean every recognised colour bar blue. There seems to be a good number of genuine enquiries coming in from people wanting a well bred health tested puppy which hopefully will bode well for the breeds future. Lets keep promoting health tested litters and responsible breeders.
I hope you have all taken the opportunity to write to the Welsh Government in relation to the newly proposed licensing system which would adversely affect the future of all dog shows and exhibitors in Wales. The deadline for any communication and letters is 21 November 2019. We all need to pull together on things such as this as it should never be a case of “well that doesn’t affect me” - strength in numbers as they say so please write that letter. If anyone needs assistance as to how to proceed the link at the Kennel Club is www.thekennelclub.org.uk/welshcon.
The Kennel Club has received a huge response to the JCF Survey with well over 2,500 initial responses to the Kennel Clubs Survey. The survey represents the second phase of the Kennel Clubs consultation on the JCF which together with work from the JCF review panel will inform the Board’s decisions on the future of educating and training of dog show judges.
At a recent meeting of the JCF Independent Review Panel on Monday 21st October 2019, matters were successfully concluded and a summary of their findings will be put forward to the Board for it consideration. The panels findings will remain confidential until they have been presented to the Board and KC Members at the forthcoming SGM on 12th November. We will await further updates on the JCF and the way forward.
I would like to finish by welcoming back those Clubs who have since re-joined the Council and hope that the remaining few will do the same. Strength in numbers is our voice. I am here to help the Breed and the Clubs in any way I can, so please feel free to utilise the avenue I can offer into the Kennel Club and the Liaison Council. Thanks to all of you who do just that and contact me on a regular basis.
Karon Jackson KCBLO/November 2019 ©
Lead Health Co-ordinator’s Report Nov 2019.
Firstly Breed Health Conservation Plan. I am afraid there has been no progress on this and we are still waiting for the KC to get back to us on this. A major problem is that there has been reorganisation within the Health team plus there has been staff turnover with all vacancies not necessarily being filled. The inevitable outcome is that Hannah James and her assistant Fern have been overstretched and this invariably leads to delays. We are thus in the position of just having to sit and wait.
The annual health symposium for breed health co-ordinators took place in September as usual at Stoneleigh. Proceedings were kicked off by Dr Sally Ricketts of the Animal Health Trust on Give a Dog a Genome (GDG) and Complex Disease Research at the AHT. Officially Dr Cathryn Mellersh was a co-author of the presentation but was unable to be present on the day. Although some of us had heard much of it before, Sally started by giving an excellent outline on the workings and principles of GDG and an excellent refresher for those who did know something about it. The big question asked about any such projects is ‘Are they worth it?’ The good news is that the answer is for GDG is ‘Yes’! Through being able to compare the genomes of a large number of breeds across the board, deleterious mutations specific for inherited conditions in a number of breeds have been identified and DNA tests developed, and one suspects this may be the tip of the iceberg with many more to come in the future. Sally then went on to discuss research at the AHT into complex diseases, by which we mean those conditions that many be polygenic with several genes contributing or which may be partly genetic and partly environmental in origin.
The next speaker was Dr Jacqueline Boyd who had decamped from the hallowed halls of academia to become nutritional consultant at Skinner’s Pet Foods. As we know, we have to be careful about articles, talks, etc. with any association with a commercial source but to be fair to Jacqueline there was no promotion of her employers although the Skinner’s logo did pop up. Her talk was entitled ‘Feeding for the Future’ and she did give a comprehensive overview of dogs’ nutritional needs which may depend on their life style. For example a racing greyhound or other performance dog, may require different feeding than a retired one that is now a rather large lap dog. She also pointed out that we ought not to look on our dogs, which are largely natural scavengers, as ‘little people’, certainly as far as feeding is concerned. It might seem rather disgusting to most of us, but many dogs would sooner eat their own vomit or even tuck into a plate of cat pooh, than be given a nice juicy steak. Jacqueline in her presentation discussed the dog’s microbiome, which is basically the range and diversity of bacteria in the gut. Anyone who gets on-line scientific blogs or news reports cannot but be aware of the current research into the microbiome and possible association with many conditions. We are bombarded with talk about ‘good’ and ‘bad bacteria, and pre- and probiotics. Interestingly Jacqueline is not a fan of probiotics, an example in humans, at least, would be live yoghurt, but is a big fan of prebiotics such as fibre, which does much for a healthy gut as we probably all know. Canine nutrition can be a very emotive subject as we all know, with a lot of advertising pressure through manufacturers trying to convince us why their often more expensive product is superior to all the rest. Of course if a dog is not doing well on a particular brand or type of food, or style of feeding, or has an intolerance, then steps have to be taken but if not and a dog is doing fine on whatever diet it is on, it is ’if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ as far as I am concerned.
The third and last main speaker was Tom Lewis of the KC on ‘Changes to Hereditarily Clear Status’ which as we know concerns the KC’s decision to limit dogs being hereditarily clear to two generations, requiring retesting every third generation. While mistakes in testing are always possible, laboratories’ best practice aims to prevent these. The problem, as Tom put it, is ‘mis-assigned parentage, where one or even both of the parents are not as stated in the pedigree. We have all heard tales of dubious matings or of litters of four puppies that miraculously become six overnight! Nothing new there and I doubt if any pedigree is completely accurate whether by accident or deliberate falsification, and we all know this is very possible with dishonest breeders today.. The problem is what happens if a carrier for some condition bypasses the system - what is the risk? A theoretical study was thus undertaken on the effect of possible carrier ‘wrong’ sires going undetected although for the purpose of the study all dams were assumed to be correct. Of course the basic carrier rate within a breed is important, as carriers, falsely deemed hereditarily clear will pose a greater threat in breeds with higher carrier rates, Hence it was conclude that the best course of action was to limit hereditarily clear status to two generations requiring re-testing every third generation. However dogs that have been DNA profiled, which can confirm parentage, are exempt from the retesting requirement and this perhaps should be encouraged.
The morning session was concluded with a question and answer session with the mentoring panel which had to be curtailed because of time while in the afternoon, as before, there were booths manned by the speakers, the KC health team, and other relevant bodies like the BVA, to allow delegates to come and have a chat as necessary. These symposia have now been running for some years and they do provide not only a good link between the health co- ordinators and the KC but also between those from different breeds.
Now to the future. As most will remember the intention was that Kirsty Summerfield would take over from me as Lead Health Co-ordinator at the spring meeting next year. However, most unfortunately Kirsty has let us know that through family, work and other commitments, she will have to opt out although I really do think she would have done a great job. As for myself, I have reached burn-out and will not be seeking re-election. The opportunity is thus there for anyone wishing to get more involved in the health field and I would be happy to discuss what would be involved with anyone interested.