German Shepherd Dog Review Group Reports Initial Findings to General Committee

The German Shepherd Dog Review Group has reported its initial findings to the General Committee, the Kennel Club has announced.

The General Committee has expressed concern over the current situation which it will not allow to escalate further, which would serve only to damage the reputation of pedigree dog breeders, the health and welfare of pedigree dogs generally and Kennel Club licensed shows especially.

The Review Group undertook extensive research into the issues currently facing the breed and consulted with a number of different groups connected to the GSD. Among the issues identified by the Review Group were concerns associated with both conformation and temperament, the latter appearing to be strongly linked to the ‘culture’ of double-handling practised widely at GSD breed club shows.

The Review Group reported that it had initially considered measures including deregistration of the breed and the removal of its Challenge Certificate status.

The General Committee will be introducing measures and is giving further consideration to the following:

  • Undertaking stringent enforcement of double-handling regulation.
  • Requiring all GSD breed club championship shows to be scheduled at General or Group championship shows in order to curtail double-handling and to better manage enforcement of the regulation in this respect.
  • Providing advice and guidance on the KC required method of exhibiting and presenting the GSD in the ring.
  • Reviewing the current BOB vet check for the GSD.
  • Requiring ringside observers to monitor judges’ performance, including their adherence to the Breed Standard and KC show regulations (including curtailing double-handling), and also to monitor handlers to ensure they follow the KC required method of handling.  
  • Providing education and training for all judges approved to award GSD Challenge Certificates. This education to include a conformation and movement seminar specifically for GSDs.
  • Requiring all judges (including overseas) to have undertaken KC education and training before being eligible to award CCs in the future.
  • Changing the breed standard.

A Kennel Club spokesman said: “The health and welfare of dogs is the primary objective of the Kennel Club and where a breed experiences serious issues in this respect, the Kennel Club has an obligation to take action. The measures presented by the Review Group will now be considered further by the General Committee at its forthcoming meetings.”