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Donkin's World: Cold Wet Nose Sniffs Trouble

Author and journalist Richard Donkin thinks that the Kennel Club should do more to address the perils of in-breeding pedigree dogs.

Do please visit Richard's well-stocked Web site

Details of his book Blood, Sweat and Tears which is acclaimed world-wide can be found here http://www.amazon.co.uk/Blood-Sweat-Tears-Evolution-Work/dp/1587990768/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1214554429&sr=1-2

Beverley Cuddy strikes me as a dog lover. She owns two dogs and writes about them frequently as editor and publisher of Dogs Today Magazine. She also writes a blog called Cold Wet Nose http://coldwetnose.blogspot.com/ - an excellent name for a dog blog.

She's just been in touch to remind me about an up-coming TV programme, Pedigree Dogs Exposed (on BBC 1, 9pm August 19) that will be putting the activities of the Kennel Club under the spotlight.

I have had my suspicions about the Kennel Club for some time. Does it represent dog lovers or canine eugenicists? Sometimes it can seem like a fine line as Beverley has pointed out in the past. http://www.richarddonkin.com/blog/labels/corgi.html I suspect it is an organisation that needs some reform if it is to live up to its primary objective: "to promote in every way, the general improvement of dogs."

A sign of its concern is that Ronnie Irving, the Kennel Club chairman, has been getting his retaliation in first http://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/item/1976/23/5/3 before actually seeing the programme.

I accept that the Kennel Club does many good things for dogs. It even recognises the merits of cross-breeds which have their own annual show called Scruffts. http://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/item/1178

But I do think it needs to do more to address the perils of in-breeding. If it's big enough to run expensive offices in Piccadilly it should be big enough to listen and learn from criticism, particularly any accusations that competition judges are still rewarding exaggerated features.

Our West Highland white terrier will not be watching. He's not the most clubbable of dogs.


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