Kennel Club introduces phased and transparent system for elevating 'rare' breeds to championship status

The Kennel Club Board has agreed that a phased and transparent system be introduced for the elevating of some ‘rare’ breeds to championship status. This will begin with an annual allocation of three sets of CCs and will progress, if entry figures warrant, to seven sets and eventually, under stage 1 of the new CC allocation model, 13 sets.

It is acknowledged that some ‘rare’ breeds currently draw better annual entries than some existing CC breeds but do not have the same opportunities to win titles, Stud Book numbers etc. It was for this reason that a working group was formed to look into this matter.

At present, breeds can progress from no CCs to 13 sets and the Board feels that this is an enormous leap in one go, and it has therefore been agreed that intermediate levels be introduced. Moving through the various levels will be dependent on the breed’s average entry and the number of approved judges (JEP Level 4, including those who have ‘grandfathered’ over from the traditional route).

Breed clubs for potential CC breeds will be requested to make a full presentation which will include health, breeding lines, conformation and temperament.

The rationale behind this update is that it will allow breeds to adjust to championship status.  It will also ensure that there is a sufficient pool of judges for the number of CCs on offer at each stage of the process.

The new system will start from 2022 for potential allocation from 2024 and be divided into three stages as follows:

Stage 1 – allocation of 3 sets of CCs

The criteria used to consider if a breed should be considered for championship status are:

  • An average of at least 10 entered exhibits in breed classes per annum over a three-year period at ‘All-Breed’ Championship shows and the UK group show
  • At least 12 judges registered at JEP Level 4 – the number to be four times the number of sets of CCs allocated, with evidence of ongoing judges’ education. It should be noted that there will be many overseas judges qualified to award CCs and show societies may also choose to invite these judges without them being on the club list
  • Breed ‘readiness’: health, breeding lines, conformation, temperament and lack of exaggeration

The office will review the data annually, at the start of the year, and any breeds which meet the above criteria will be referred to the Judges Committee (JC) and the Breed Standards & Stud Book Committee (BSSBC) for consideration. With the JC/BSSBC and Board support the breed will move to the next stage when the breed club will be asked whether it wishes the breed to be allocated championship status and, if yes, a full presentation will be required to include:

  1. Number of dogs exhibited in each of the past three years
  2. Which general canine societies (championship and open) separately classify the breed and number of individual dogs entered
  3. Size and diversity of gene pool in the UK
  4. A statement on the current health and welfare of the breed
  5. Number of breed specialist judges registered at the JEP levels
  6. List of club members
  7. How the committee have consulted with members on this matter
  8. Any other relevant information

Once the application is approved the breed will initially be allocated three sets of CCs (Crufts, the relevant UK Group Show and breed club show) and be placed in Stud Book Band A.

The data will be reviewed annually by the office to identify whether the breed should move to the next stage.

Stage 2 – allocation of 7 sets of CCs

Once breeds have been at the introductory level for at least two years and meet the following criteria they can move to the next level of allocation – seven sets of CCs:

  • An average of at least 15 entered exhibits in breed classes per annum over a three-year period at the ‘All-Breed’ Championship shows and relevant UK group shows
  • At least 28 judges registered at JEP Level 4
  • Review of health, breeding lines, conformation, judges’ education and consideration of the number of dogs awarded CCs/Ch titles to be carried out by the JC and BSSBC, having received an updated presentation from the breed club(s)

The sets of CCs will be allocated to:

  • Crufts
  • The relevant UK Group Show
  • 2 sets at breed club level. If there are two breed clubs they will both have an annual allocation; if one breed club the second set must be held as a ‘partnership show’
  • Subject to data received from the club on popularity of shows and where the majority of exhibitors live, proposed allocation would include Scottish Kennel Club, Welsh Kennel Club, and Birmingham Dog Show Society.

The data would continue to be reviewed annually by the office for breeds to identify those breeds which are at a stage to move onto the CC allocation scale at Stage 1.

Moving to allocation of 13 sets of CCs

The criteria to move to CC allocation Stage 1 and therefore receive an allocation of 13 sets of CCs (10 ‘All-Breed’ Championship Shows, relevant UK group show and 2 sets to the breed club(s)) are:

  • At least 52 judges registered at JEP Level 4
  • An average of at least 22 entered exhibits in CC classes per annum over three-year period.
  • Review of health, breeding lines, conformation, judges’ education, and consideration of the number of dogs awarded CCs/Ch titles to be carried out by the Judges and BSSB Committees, having received an updated presentation from the breed club(s)

Conversely, The Kennel Club will also be reviewing existing CC breeds where current annual entry figures fall below an average of 15 and therefore may not justify an allocation of 13 sets of CCs. In this situation the breed clubs would be asked for their views which could result in a breed being put ‘on notice’ that at the next CC review, if numbers do not improve, and following further consultation with the breed clubs, its CC allocation could be reduced to seven sets. The Kennel Club Board believes this is less drastic than removing championship status altogether and gives breeds the opportunity to improve matters and revert to 13 sets where possible. However, it must be noted that any such review of relevant CC breeds will not take place before 2024 and, once again, the relevant breed club will be involved and consulted.

Judges currently on breed club A3 lists are asked to note that it will be possible to apply to award CCs in breeds that don’t currently have CC status under the new system, via the ‘grandfathering’ route in place during the transitional phase of the Judges Education Programme. To date, a number of judges of rare breeds have made in total 29 successful grandfathering applications. Breed clubs are encouraged to continue with their judges education programmes and place suitably qualified judges on their A3 list.

Kathryn Mansfield, Kennel Club Secretary, said: “This limited allocation approach to CCs is surely a more sensible way forward and very exciting news for the ‘rare’ breeds and indeed is nothing new. Research of the Stud Books of the 1950s and earlier reveals numerically small breeds often had just a few sets, with some breeds losing CC status for some years, most notably the Field Spaniel.

“Publishing this policy mirrors the Board’s view that the allocation of CCs should as far as possible be open and transparent.

“Some of these rare breeds, which have over many years never achieved great numbers in the show ring, nevertheless manage at regular intervals to produce dogs worthy of competing at group level, so it will be a very positive step when we can finally welcome them into the family of breeds with championship status.

“In the case of existing CC breeds, the ultimate outcome of a continued fall in entries could trigger a period of consultation with the breed club over the breed’s continued championship status.”