Category: Opinion


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. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

Three years on from my original post in Dog World on the dangers of microchipping (click HERE for the article), with April 6th looming I revisit the issue.

I recently saw a story in the Daily Mirror that certainly gave me food for thought. It concerned microchipping, which, as many of you know is a particular interest of mine. Three years ago I wrote a letter to Dog World because I was concerned about the blanket acceptance of this procedure and what seemed to be the complete exclusion of all dissenting voices. There had been many concerns raised over the safety of microchipping dogs, movement of the chips and indeed mumblings about a possible link to cancer. Continue reading

From my ‘Crossing the headlines’ column in Dog World (24th February 2016).

Thousands of words and column inches have been spent in this paper bemoaning the state of our open shows. Undeniably there are far less of these shows than previously which is a shame as it is widely acknowledged that these shows are where the majority of fledgling exhibitors first step into the ring and ‘find their feet’ and of course, they also provide wonderful opportunities for the up and coming judges of the future to ‘get their hands on some good (and not so good) dogs’.  Continue reading

From my ‘Crossing the headlines’ column in Dog World (21st January 2016).

A subject that has certainly generated lots of interest on social media and reams of column inches in both the canine and general press has been the recognition of the Jack Russell by the Kennel Club. Continue reading

From my ‘Crossing the headlines’ column in Dog World (22nd December 2015).

I know many of you have followed the progress of our little dog’s (Alfie) burgeoning TV career with interest on Facebook over the past year. He has certainly been a very busy boy, travelling up and down the country, meeting sporting stars and personalities and fronting the latest Vitality advertising campaign.

One evening we received a frantic call from the producer; could Alfie travel up to London for some filming? Due to the short notice, Marc couldn’t arrange time off work and I was up to my neck in young goslings, ducklings and chicks and couldn’t possibly leave the smallholding at such a critical time.

There was only one thing for it – turn to our friends in the show dog community and ask if anyone would be willing to be Alfie’s chaperone for the day! Continue reading

From my ‘Crossing the headlines’ column in Dog World (27th November 2015) about the misrepresentations in the national press on rescue charity intake statistics.

An interesting headline caught my eye in the Telegraph last week, ‘Pedigree dog owners abandoning their pets in alarming numbers’.

The article written by Patrick Sawyer went on to say that, “Welfare groups have warned that owners of pedigree dogs are abandoning their pets in alarming numbers after finding that they cannot cope with health problems caused by ‘irresponsible’ breeding.” Continue reading