It has recently been brought to the attention of the Kennel Club
Judges' Sub-Committee that some judges are examining the bite and
dentition of dogs in ways that are generally regarded as
unacceptably intrusive and, as such, may increase the risk of
eliciting undesirable responses from dogs being examined.
The Judges' Sub-Committee therefore wishes to remind all judges of
the need to show an appropriate degree of caution and empathy when
examining the bite and dentition of dogs in the show ring.
Whilst judges can expect all dogs being exhibited at dog shows to
have good temperaments and be able to be examined without any cause
for concern, judges do have a duty of care to ensure that they
examine the bite and dentition in ways which are not unnecessarily
intrusive to the dog, show a clear understanding and respect for
the history, intended function and behavioural characteristics of
the breed being judged, and may be regarded as acceptable to both
the handlers and ringside audience.
Whilst judges are expected to assess temperament and react
accordingly to any displays of inappropriate temperament, as part
of the overall judging process, it is absolutely necessary for
judges to ensure that their approach to going over dogs presented
to them in the ring is empathetic to the dog and considered
reasonable and appropriate by all parties concerned.
In particular, the approach to examining the bite and dentition of
any breed which is aloof or reserved in character, and which may
have the potential to react unpredictably to overly intrusive
handling, must always be conducted in a way which minimises the
risk of antagonising or alarming the dog. It is recommended
that when judging such breeds, judges are positive in their
approach to the dog and may wish to consider speaking to the
handler (to ask age, for example) as a way of assurance to the dog,
and ensure that they do not over handle the dog.
Whilst it is understood that the majority of judges do adopt a
sensible and generally acceptable approach to the examination of
the bite and dentition of the dogs they judge, it is however of
concern that reports are received regarding judges who are
consistently disregarding the need to exercise appropriate
sensitivity in this respect.
The Judges' Sub-Committee will therefore continue to monitor and
evaluate such reports and, if necessary, will recommend to the
General Committee that approval to judge such breeds be withheld in
the case of judges who persist in the use of methods of examination
that give rise to concern.