Handling of dogs at shows

The Kennel Club wishes to remind exhibitors of its policies regarding the handling of dogs whilst in the show ring, particularly in relation to the moving of dogs around the ring.

The Kennel Club is aware that some breeds are shown with a tighter lead as a matter of constraint or to emphasise the outline of the dog’s neck, which does not cause the dog distress. Exhibitors however are reminded that it is not acceptable to handle a dog in a manner which causes its feet not to touch the ground when on the move. Exhibitors should note that such practices could constitute harsh handling and reports of such practice will be referred to the committee under Kennel Club Show Regulations F2 and F11.The same applies to the practice of picking up dogs by their necks and/or tails when lifting them to and from the table during judging. Such practice is both undesirable and unnecessary.

We wish to remind trainers of the importance of ensuring correct practices are taught at ringcraft classes. If a judge feels that a dog is being handled in an unacceptable manner which may cause discomfort to the dog, they should remind the exhibitor that this practice is not allowed and ask that it cease. Any official complaints of harsh handling are taken very seriously and will be investigated.

Kathryn Mansfield, Kennel Club Secretary said: “Whilst the vast majority of dog owners show their dogs with great care, it is important that exhibitors, judges and show officials ensure the welfare of the dogs both whilst in the ring, and during the day within the precincts of the show.“Practices such as the correct use of a lead whilst showing and how to properly handle a dog is taught in ringcraft classes and we would remind instructors to ensure that correct handling is clearly explained and demonstrated.”