The Hovawart Club of Great Britain


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Breed Notes - 25 Oct 2012
I have been waiting most eagerly to read the critiques of the judges from our show, and the full versions have been posted on the club website. In the UK, as you know, we only get the first two placements published, and indeed, most judges only write a critique of the top two in each class, although, on special occasions, such as our annual club show, sometimes we are treated to the judge’s opinions of some of the lesser placings.
In contrast, the continental system requires all the dogs to be critiqued in the ring, and a written record, with a grading, is produced there and then. The judge usually then chooses for the top places from those given the top grade. At the show, although judging to the UK standards and regulations, our judges have written about all the dogs that came under them, and indeed given them gradings as well. It is certainly helpful to be able to understand the judge’s thinking, and even though one can’t always agree with everything that was done (if everyone always agreed, the whole idea of Dog Shows would be entirely pointless and a waste of time….just send in your photographs!), at least the continental systems allows for proper debate about every dog, and the “I preferred the winner to the second” scenario becomes untenable. I suppose the downside, if you don’t like hearing about your dog’s perceived faults as well as its virtues, is that you will get the “warts and all” version. One thing, though, is very important. When a judge gives an opinion, that is fine, and should be accepted with good grace…after all, if you don’t like the opinion, you don’t have to subject yourself and your dog to that judge again, but in the matter of facts being stated, it is absolutely vital that the judge gets it right, and at our show there were some instances of that not happening. A couple of times, the statement was questioned, the matter rechecked and the record put right, but not everyone has the nerve, brass neck or whatever to contradict a judge in the ring, and indeed, it would be most unseemly to do that under the UK system, where no discussion is the order of the day.
The ramifications of such errors being allowed to go unchallenged are great, because in our breed, the system of breeding permission and so on relies on records being accurate, and if faults are published and go on a dog’s file, that dog, and his near relatives, can be tainted without redress. It is easy to see the implications of such happenings, particularly when clubs are trying to be so careful about using only the best stock for future generations. A few incidents at our show may be isolated, or just the tip of an iceberg, so real care must be taken to ensure that absolute accuracy is the watchword on questions of fact.

Without naming names one particular Hovawart was mentioned in the critique as having a missing tooth, suffice to say that this exhibitor will, for future competitions, be carrying a letter signed by a vet., stating that the dog in question has a full set of 42 teeth. What are things coming too?
On a lighter side – did anybody see the going of my raffle prize? I won a bright orange padded coat with Hovawart written on the back, and when I went to collect it at the end of the day, all excited ,it was nowhere to be seen!

Elaine Betts
01544 318705

This article was posted on: 17-Oct-12