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From my Dog World column ‘Crossing the headlines’ on 16th November 2016, I follow up on my previous article on the subject of how to tackle exhibitor dissatisfaction.

My last article, ‘The real reason people are quitting’ certainly stirred the hornet’s nest and provoked a deluge of very interesting reaction from show-going dog folk. Unusually for the dog world there was a general feeling of agreement for what I had written and a consensus that if we are to survive and thrive as a hobby, some very important and urgent changes definitely need to take place. View full article »

In October 2016 I wrote my first article in a series of breed histories for the leading US publication, The Canine Chronicle. The first of these is about the history of the Chow Chow. See it here at http://caninechronicle.com/uncategorized/the-fascinating-edible-dog/

Published in my Dog World column ‘Crossing the headlines’ (19th October 2016), my article sparked a large debate – with hundreds of share and online comments – among exhibitors in response to my observations and suggestions regarding dog shows, breed standards, judging and exhibitor dissatisfaction.

One subject that has certainly got a lot of you talking on social media is the announcement of an idea that a reduction in the number of breed clubs through amalgamation could lead to higher show entries. I can see where those who support such a move are coming from but, like a lot of you, I think they are missing the point.

Show entries are falling for a whole host of complex reasons, reasons that have been fully discussed in this paper by various commentators for many, many years and frustratingly so many of the useful ideas put forward by people who really know what they are talking about have been dismissed or completely ignored. View full article »

From my Dog World column ‘Crossing the headlines’ on 17 August 2016 promoting the Pedigree Paws Unite event.

‘It’s Good News Week, someone’s dropped a bomb somewhere contaminating atmosphere and blackening the sky’ – these are the opening lines from the biggest hit of British band Hedgehoppers Anonymous back in 1965.

The song takes a satirical swipe at the media’s all-consuming obsession with bad news and the lyrics couldn’t be more apt today. Every morning it seems we awake to hear yet more stories of gloom and doom in our press, more examples of man’s inhumanity to man and a heavy feeling of despair and unease. View full article »

From my Dog World blog on 11 August 2016.

In my monthly column Crossing the Headlines (17 August 2016) I wrote about Gavin Robertson’s marathon charity fundraiser, Pedigree Paws United – a series of sponsored walks totalling 160 miles and featuring every recognised breed of dog in the UK.

Each dog will be walking a minimum of five miles.

 

Bulldog1

‘King Orry, owned by Mr G R Murrell. Born January 25, 1889, by Pagan ex Koorie. Breeder J Tasker.’

 

The announcement put me in mind of another famous walking match, which took place in London, featuring the Bulldog. The full story is recounted in the marvellous The Bulldog – A Monograph by Edgar Farman. View full article »

From my Dog World Blog on 3 June 2016.

You can certainly tell that summer has arrived when the county shows begin. I visited the Devon county show the other week and, as usual, it didn’t disappoint. While Marc showed the dogs I wandered around Westpoint and visited the various livestock exhibitions.

It’s always incredible to see how such a small island has managed to create and develop so many breeds of cattle, sheep and poultry, especially impressive when they are all presented together in one place. The breeders of these pedigree animals are very keen for the public to get close to their beautiful animals and wandering around the pens it was fascinating to see the displays some of these proud owners had put up, illustrating their breeds’ long and often illustrious histories. View full article »

From my Dog World Blog on 27 May 2016

I love a good mystery. And the world of pedigree dogs certainly has several head scratching ones worthy of an investigation by Miss Marple! Most of them revolve around the dubious ‘heritage’ of certain key dogs usually at a particular breed’s inception.

Many of you will be aware, for example, of the controversy created by the Mastiff, ‘Ch Crown Prince.’ If we put aside the mystifying facts of how a dog with a Dudley mask, brown nose, light eyes and straight hindquarters actually went on to become a champion, there were also the many murmurings and questions over this dog’s parentage. The criticisms were obviously taken seriously enough by the Old English Mastiff Club to initiate an enquiry, which subsequently found nothing to prove that Crown Prince’s pedigree was incorrect. View full article »

Dog lovers were outraged to see a Facebook post by Alan Tobin, an Irish politician, about his delight that breed specific legislation had been brought in, affecting owners in his constituency. This was in Dog World on 25 May 2016.

As many of you who read this column regularly know, I’m not the biggest fan of the internet age and social media. Obviously it has brought us huge benefits, not least being able to track down the girl that played Nancy in your junior school production of Oliver.

But along with these dubious benefits of ‘connectivity’ comes some serious negatives. There’s the time many of us waste maintaining the numerous casual relationships fostered on social media sometimes at the neglect of our most important and meaningful relationships here in the ‘real’ world. And, of course, we have the growing incidences of cyberbullying, witch-hunts and the wildfire-like spread of malicious gossip that we all too commonly see in various forums. All very nasty and something I’ve actively tried to avoid. View full article »

From my Dog World Blog on 9 May 2016.

Once again this weekend saw us on our usual ‘house-hunting’ expedition along the south coast of Devon. For lunch we stopped into the dog friendly Visto Lounge and ordered their Thai green curry. As the weather was unusually clement we decided to sit outside and soon a couple (accompanied by a gorgeous Samoyed) claimed the next table. Eventually our meal was brought out to us and I don’t know whether our smiling Samoyed friend was a secret connoisseur of Thai cuisine (or a budding food critic) because just as our plates were set down he decided to come over and join us. View full article »

From my Crossing the headlines column in Dog World (13 April 2016) I reflect on the case of Baby the Bulldog whose abusive owners were let off lightly.

Reading through the newspapers there are many, many times that you literally despair at the depths of depravity mankind can sink to and one story I read last week really made me wonder what on earth has gone wrong with some of our young people today and it seriously makes me fear for the future.

Andrew and Daniel Frankish’s hideous crime only came to light, two years after the offences had been committed, all because of a sim card being discovered on the floor of a supermarket. When the footage contained on the card was played it revealed truly harrowing footage of two brothers systematically torturing their pet Bulldog. View full article »