Less Gamekeeper Dogs Attending Crufts 2010 After New Health Laws

The world's largest dog show has seen a significant drop in the number of entries for some dog breeds after changes in UK law regarding the health of purebred dogs.

The National Exhibition Center (NEC) in Birmingham will open it’s doors on Thursday 11th March to the DFS Crufts 2010 dog show, culminating in the prestigious "Best in Show" award on Sunday. Over 22,000 dogs across 186 pedigree breeds will compete at the show. The Gundog group has attracted the most entries, with the Labrador Retriever, Golden Retriever, Cocker Spaniel, Irish Setter and Flat Coated Retriever the most represented breeds.

There has been an increased number of entries for many of the breeds that the UK Kennel Club considers in danger of extinction, including the Kerry Blue Terrier, Manchester Terrier, Skye Terrier, Deerhound, Irish Water Spaniel, and Dandie Dinmont Terrier. However, there has been a 17% drop in the number of entries in the Gamekeepers classes this year, largely due to new laws regarding tail docking. Even legally docked dogs are now not allowed to be shown at events where the public pay an entry fee. Following a debate in the UK last year about the health of pedigree dogs, the Kennel Club and the Dogs Trust commissioned a report which found that urgent action is required to improve the health and welfare of pedigree dogs. The report recommends that an independent non-statutory Council be formed to develop breeding strategies which address issues of inherited disease, extreme conformation and inbreeding.

"The recent Independent Inquiry into Dog Breeding highlighted dog shows as being a powerful lever for change and there is no more powerful lever than DFS Crufts. It is only through rewarding and encouraging responsible breeders and their healthy dogs in the show ring that the bar can be set for others to follow, and that is what DFS Crufts is all about," said Caroline Kisko, UK Kennel Club Secretary.

Meanwhile, it is yet to be announced if the winner of the 2010 Westminster dog show, Sadie the Scottish Terrier, will be attending Crufts this year. If she was to attend and win the competition she would be one of only a handful of dogs to win what has been coined as the "Canine Triple Crown" – which is achieved when a dog wins the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship, the Westminster dog show and Crufts.

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