I've been umming and ahing about writing another blog about Crufts and just let it be, but I'm here now, so I guess I'm going to write another blog about Crufts this year. Why I'm going to write another blog on Crufts 2015 is due to receiving an email yesterday about the handling of the overall Champion at Crufts a Scottish Terrier bitch known at home as Knopa from Steph, who has one of our dogs, and this news article in the Daily Mail http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2990491/This-just-trolling-Russian-owner-Crufts-Best-DEFENDS-handler-facing-190-000-strong-petition-stripped-title-picking-terrier-cruelly-tail.html
The article is the owner of Knopa defending the handling of Knopa in the ring, by the professional handler, Rebecca Cross. Rebecca Cross has been quoted as saying on her handling of Knopa, 'It's just one of those things. It happened and I tried to really think about it and not do it, but it's habit.' So from this statement we understand that this is how Knopa is generally picked up like all the time. Of course it is, that is why she does not struggle because this is the manner she has been handled like from a pup. These dogs are groomed from an early age to stand and tolerate being picked up like teapots, flicked in the face to stand with the head elevated, whilst the tail is pushed over the back and get use to being lead with the lead tugging their head up into an unnatural head position. The ones that will not tolerate this behaviour don't get shown. A top show dog is often not the best conformationally, just the most tolerant and of course has a pro handler.
Now lets look at what the Russian owner Marina Khenkina has said about the handling of terriers in this manner in the show ring and about those who think it is wrong to pick a dog up by it's throat and tail, 'Those who say such things have no idea about terriers. Terriers are hunting dogs designed for dragging animals out of holes. And the only way the hunter can take the dog out of the hole is to grab the tail.'
The reply by Marina Khenkina is the standard answer from show producers, when questioned about things they do, that those who question it know nothing. Well, Mrs Khenkina, I know one thing you know very little about hunting terriers because frankly you would not breed a dog to look like that, to do the function it was originally bred for.
This photo is Marina Khenkina with one of her Scottish Terriers, her kennel name (pre-fix) is Gemma Stonehenge. I showed this to a couple friends of mine who have working terriers and they laughed at the idea of that dog being a working terrier.
I have been brought up around working terriers, so know a little about the handling of these dogs and it's not common practice to pick them up in the manner shown in the photo. The tail if needed to be pulled to retrieve a dog from a hole, is pulled keeping the tail in line with the spine. Other than retrieving the dog from a hole, a terrier is not picked up by its tail otherwise and don't believe that old gem that terriers are bred with sturdier tails specially for being pulled out of holes, because that is just one of those pure breed dog myths, which has no science behind it. I have pulled Cavaliers and other dog breeds out of holes by their tail before, just the same as terriers in the past and have yet to end up with just a tail in my hand. It may of escaped Mrs Khenkina's attention but her dog was not down a hole whilst in the ring at Crufts, it was being lifted on to a table.
Let's take a look at what the Scottish Terrier was. It was a terrier for vermin control, like all terriers, used to catch rats, badgers and foxs. The image shows what they looked like in 1859 and they look a dog fit and functional for the job they were expected to do.
Now this is where we are in 2015 with the Scottish Terrier with the Crufts Champion 2015. So they have thickened the frame, shortened the legs, the tail carriage is more forward (Not sure if that's nature or the habit of them pushing the tail forward from a young age) and a much more profuse coat. Non of these changes make the dog a better terrier, in fact, they actually make them less functional as a terrier. So I think from this, that it is plain to see that Mrs Khenkina has no idea about terriers also.
Mrs Khenkina though did not breed Knopa, she comes from a top American kennel called McVan's neither of these breeders though come from a working background in dogs, so know little about using terriers and hence I feel this is reflected in the way the dogs are bred, not for function, but for aesthestics. Aesthestics that have cost a lot to the health of this breed. I did a little reasearch and found out that when Knopa was sold to Mrs Khenkina and shipped out to Russia, it was under the condition she was campaigned (shown) in America and I'm in no doubt that with a terrier specialist judging the final at Crufts this year, that although Mrs Khenkina says, 'Our victory was a fair and clear one. We are sure in ourselves and in our victory, although we did not expect it at all. It happened so suddenly.' it was not that much of a surprise.
Now what do I think the Kennel Club are going to do about the handling of Knopa ? Well, one things for sure, what ever they do it will not even register for Knopa because she is a dog and they really don't give a toss about winning stuff, they don't comprehend the ideology of winning. The only thing they can do to send out a clear message about handling dogs like this, is to take the title away from the dog. We know though that, that ain't going to happen in a month of Sundays, because there is far to much showdog prestige and politics involved. So the answer to what the Kennel Club is going to do, is nothing.
I promise that I'm all ranted out for Crufts 2015 now. Line drawn.
“The greatest pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him, and not only will he not scold you,but he will make a fool of himself, too.”
― Samuel Butler
Me with Bumble and Blottie, waiting patiently to be unleashed, November 2018
Hello, I am Jane, you might of guessed, I love dogs. We are situated in the North Devon countryside, England, United Kingdom. Our home is occupied by my husband, David, our children, pack of dogs and me.