Tag Archive: pedigree dogs


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. 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

A feature article written for Dog World (14th April 2015) looking at how the media portrays dogs and dog ownership.

Years ago, when still at college, I briefly toyed with the idea of becoming a journalist. Then, in the autumn of 1991, by a series of strange coincidences, I met a lady that would completely turn that idea on its head.

She was an American soul singing megastar and we were to be friends for the next ten or so years. Whenever she came to the UK I would hang out with her, go backstage at her shows, go to dinner, to rehearsals and travel to swanky hotels in the shiniest of stretch limousines. A pretty fantastic experience for an impressionable youth and from the outside it did indeed look like the perfect lifestyle however one only had to dig not too very far beneath the beautiful veneer to uncover a world rife with paranoia and the irritant of constantly being watched, the bane of this woman’s life were journalists and the media – especially the British media who, back then, were notoriously brutal.  Continue reading

From my Dog World column ‘Crossing the headlines’ (12th November 2014).

A few days ago an elderly neighbour from several doors down knocked. I was quite surprised to open the door and find her standing there as we have only ever exchanged the usual polite pleasantries but I immediately knew something was troubling her.

Wringing her hands she said the words I suppose many of us dread; “I hear you know a bit about dogs… I wonder if you could help me?” Continue reading

From my ‘Crossing the headlines’ column in Dog World (12th February 2014) where I discuss potential pitfalls of designer crossbreeds.

While the dog world has been embroiled in arguments concerning the Assured Breeder Scheme, the media continues to focus on the growing numbers of ‘designer dogs’.

Jody Thompson writing for the Huffington Post (Jan 8) asked a question, “Why are people paying for designer dogs?”

It’s a fair question and one that many of us have puzzled over. Just why do people pay £800-£1,500 for a mongrel? Of course, it’s a free country and, as the old adage goes, a ‘fool and his money are easily parted’ but, why do a growing number of people pay out such a vast sum for their pet when a trip to the local animal shelter could fulfil all their needs for a fraction of the cost? If a long pedigree or owning a mongrel doesn’t bother you then why not simply adopt? This was the point Ms Thompson succinctly made in her well-written article. Continue reading