Tuesday, 27 May 2014

And the Saints go marching on

The St Bernard that failed a vet check a fortnight ago has now passed a vet check just two weeks later.

I blogged last week about the St Bernard who failed the check at the National Champ Dog Show two weeks ago. (See here.)

Vet John Goodyear failed the bitch (Chandlimore On The Bottle) on the grounds of eye pathology which included small eyes and - judging from pictures of the dog - poor overall eyelid anatomy.



But, last weekend, the same dog won the Bitch CC at the Bath Championship Show and owner Tan Nagrecha elected to have the dog vet-checked (it is only mandatory for BOBs but he needs a pass for the dog to be made up to a champion).

Lo and behold, this time the dog passed.

What on earth is going on here?

I have no doubt that many in the show-world will use this to ridicule the vet checks. (The Canine Alliance has already waded in here). That's because most have hated the vet checks from the start, especially those in the breeds effected.

But, though flawed, the vet checks have proved to be be a powerful driver for change. There's a long way to go but we are - in the main - seeing less extreme dogs in the ring among the "high profile" (now called Category 3) breeds.

The answer, then, is not to scrap the vet checks - it's to make them more robust.

Yes, yes, but what happened here?

Here's my take on it:

The vet at the National was John Goodyear - an eye specialist.

The vet at Bath Champ Show was Chris Laurence - not an eye specialist - and, as it happens, a vet with a very long association with the Kennel Club/dog shows.

Did Laurence allow his relationship with the Fancy to over-ride common veterinary good sense?

Before you leap to an answer, here's the confounding factor:

Laurence failed the Best of Breed Saint - a dog called Bernmont Heathcliffe owned by Pat Muggleton - on the same day. 

So here's what I think happened.

First, there is an element of subjectivity in all veterinary opinion. That's always going to be the case.

Second, I suspect Laurence was going by the book more than Goodyear.

This specific book is written by the Kennel Club and it makes quite clear that a vet cannot fail a dog on the evidence of pathology/poor conformation alone (because, let's face it, otherwise whole breeds would fail every time). The rules state, then, that there has to be evidence that the pathology is causing grief to the dog on the day - eg conjunctivitis, lameness etc.

The problem with the BOB dog on Sunday was, apparently, evidence of "mucous discharge" and excess tear production (epiphora). This would suggest sore eyes/irritation.

But if the report in Dog World is to be believed, vet John Goodyear failed the bitch at the National purely on poor eye-conformation.

Laurence appears to have stuck to the rules at Bath in passing the bitch CC. After all, he is pretty withering about the BOB he failed -and St Bernard eyes in general - telling Dog World:
"This dog had epiphora [excess tear production] in both eyes and discharge in one eye,” he said. "The problem with St Bernards is that they all have a degree of ectropion; it is a general issue with the breed, and this makes it more prone to any sort of eye problem. If you put a dog with ectropion in a situation where the eye becomes stressed and vulnerable that dog is likely to fail. 
"When I do these checks I say to some owners to be careful because one day the dog will fail because the eyes are not normal; either there is ectropion or entropion or a degree of both and that makes it prone to eye disease. That’s why we do the checks.” 
Mr Laurence said the KC had set down rules which state that if there is any sign of epiphora the dog should fail. "The real point is that if the dog is showing signs of eye disease it should fail, and if it’s not showing signs of disease it should pass,” he said. "That’s how I understand the KC rules, which are pretty explicit.” 
Of course, if  I was the bitch's owner, I would be inclined to take John Goodyear's opinion as the expert one and think very carefully about breeding from the dog.

But I imagine that Tan Nagrecha is cock-a-hoop with the result.  His bitch now has two CCs... only one more and she she will be made up to a champion and will soon, no doubt, to be the bearer of a new generation of saggy-eyed Saints.

Because that vet check fail can now be erased from history. 

The KC's rules state the following:
  1. Any dog from a breed designated by the Kennel Club as Category Three on Breed Watch will not have its title of Champion confirmed until the dog has passed an examination by a General or Group Championship Show Veterinary Surgeon. The result of the examination shall be final.
You might think that would preclude Chandlimore On the Bottle from ever being made up to a champion. But it doesn't. "Final" only refers to the vet check on the day. There is nothing to stop a dog subsequently winning and passing a vet check at another show and for that to count towards the dog's championship.

It doesn't matter how many times the dog fails. Just one pass is enough.

Of course it's possible for a dog to go lame or bash an eye on the day... but a lame dog or one with a sore eye should be withdrawn from competition.

Just imagine if failing just one vet check was enough to prevent a dog ever being made up to Champion?

My guess is that it would lead to a very rapid improvement in conformation.

Hilariously, btw, the owner of Bernmont Heathcliffe, the BOB that failed his vet-check, puts the excess tear production down to the fact that it was "windy".

Says owner Pat Muggleton: "I wouldn’t take a dog to a show if it had bad eyes. The vet said my dog’s eye was a little bit wet but it was very windy where we were being judged. There’s nothing wrong with his eyes; his father and uncle were made up."

But here's his dam - Bernmont Sophie (who, incidentally, was bred without ever being hip-scored - a mandatory requirement for all St Bernards under the Assured Breeder Scheme)


I am not sure, then, that Pat Muggleton should be entirely surprised that this dog's son does not have perfect eyes - or indeed perfect hips. Bernmont Heathcliffe's hip score is a high 19 (9/10).

28/5/14: edit to correct that this picture is of the BOB's dam, not sire.

43 comments:

  1. Sorry state of affairs. One step forward, two back.

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  2. That is disgraceful aggravated by the excessive jowls which must weigh a lot. Wind my foot, what is wrong with these people they really must see what they are producing in the name of breed type. I'll say it again, disgraceful AND DISGUSTING. And yes, obviously any fail should be the marker for breeders to improve a huge problem like this, otherwise it is just another load of stupid hot air belching from the mouths of KC spokesmen.

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  3. OMG those dogs are horrific, the sire looks like it will be in constant pain with those eyes......eyes what eyes? I cant see any just gapping raw exposed conjunctiva sans eyeball. It looks blind.

    "Protrusion of the lower eyelid, with lack of contact of the lower lid to the eye globe, and exposure of the palpebral conjunctiva and the third eyelid – can usually be plainly seen
    Facial staining caused by poor tear drainage - tears spill over onto the face instead of passing from the eye to the nose via the tear ducts
    History of discharge owing to conjunctival exposure (the clear moist membrane that covers the inner surfaces of the eyelids and the front of eyeball)
    Recurrent foreign object irritation
    History of bacterial conjunctivitis (inflammation of the conjunctiva)"

    And in this case [stifled retching] there is no eye ball just a socket, no snow blindness here folks it aint got eyes!

    Oh for heavens sake you don't need to be a bloody eye specialist to see these dogs shouldn't pass. Laurence is a prat a stupid prat. If you keep infection at bay with antibiotic drops etc the dogs has "clean" good eyes? Even if its eyes are a complete deformed disaster?

    The dogs has deformed eyes end of story. Allowing such dogs to pass means they will be used for breeding yet more suffering animals.

    "Mr Laurence said the KC had set down rules which state that if there is any sign of epiphora the dog should fail. "The real point is that if the dog is showing signs of eye disease it should fail, and if it’s not showing signs of disease it should pass,” he said. "That’s how I understand the KC rules, which are pretty explicit.”

    As explicit as he is a literal moron (and a complete prat). Obviously the "KC rules" must be more clearly defined as the vets in use are of a very poor quality and need more to work with besides VERY OBVIOUS EYE DEFORMITY. Maybe they should put up large posters at dog shows showing normal eyes, deformed eyes, normal nares, stenotic nares, normal dog deformed dog........etc.

    Is this the KC trying to ease dog breeders into acceptance of breeding healthy animals or the KC being the KC and completely failing the welfare of pedigree dogs with what amounts to nothing more than a cosmetic make over?

    Why is the French bulldog no longer a category 3 dog, isn't turning a dark enough colour purple enough, does it need to collapse dead in the ring for a vet to see it cant breath???

    I see Im not above name calling but I am truly repulsed here by the condition of dogs like these and completely fail to see how a vet any vet can't see the dog has severe problems.



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    1. River P... NB a correction from me. The pic above is of the dam, not the sire.

      Jemima

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    2. Poor girl its enough to make you weep. I just dont think people quite understand how it must feel for a dog. Like having grit in your eyes permanently, no wonder they sit in a heap with their eys shut all day.

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    3. That makes it even worse I think. Sense for every bad female a breeder like this has,their is ought to be a male that's twice as bad.

      Even breeders (of all sorts of breeds) with moderate built and athletic females,can have some messed up males they just use for show.

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  4. Unfortunately vets have become so interwoven with the KC, they often are frightened to bit the hand that feeds them.
    The recent campaign of "My KC" is laughable. They say "there's money in scrap", but I think they should change the saying to, " there is money in pure breed dogs.," especially if your are a vet.
    The recent partnership with the KC and the veterinary business is vulgar at best and at worst totally harmful to an advancement in pure breed dogs being bred to be more healthy.
    Vets should never be in partnership with the hand that feeds them so insidiously. Disgusted by the KC and glad I washed my hands of them.

    How do we stop this madness ?

    Written way past my bedtime.

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  5. Here's a thing I've just noticed:

    I live in an area where 40% of households have a dog. So there are LOTS of dogs being walked in the village and around the neighbourhood every day. In 5 years here I have NEVER seen the deformed dogs highlighted on PDE just being walked around and about, except maybe for Pugs.

    I have seen loads of the poor blighters at dog shows, but never any being walked, exercised or socialised among ordinary neighbourhood dogs. Never any chilling with their owners at outdoor cafes, or romping in the park.

    Maybe I live in an area where people are nicer, saner, kinder than average (I like to think so) but it's just this moment occurred to me how telling this phenomena might be. Are these disabled dogs being kept indoors, or in kennels or gardens, away from the world? Are they being saved up as exhibits or for pedigree puppy farming? Battery dogs, like battery chickens.

    I wonder...

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  6. The KC rules are absurd. So, if my dog has history of seizures, but doesn't have a seizure on the ring, is he somehow magically an healthy specimen? that doesn't make sense.

    A the inspecting vet should be able to fail dogs who exhibit potentially debilitating pathologies. If whole breeds go out of the window because of this, then so be it.

    Vet checks maybe somewhat subjective, but veterinary science is objective. The grounds for disqualifying a dog can and should be standardised.

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  7. In Finland where I live in, the situation is quite the same. Some vets have more common sense than others, and they fail dogs in dog shows or even recommend the neutre or sterilize some dogs when they go to the vet's practice.

    FCI should change the rules according dog shows and breeding, but it is easier said than done. I have often discussed with other dog owners about the fact, that the competition in dog shows should be cut out. So that dogs would only receive EXC, VG, G... and so on with a written review, and the judge would not place the dogs at all. No Best of Breed or Sex, nor champions.
    This is because the dog shows guide the dog breeding in excess.

    OT: Thank you Jemima for this blog, I read it weekly even though sometimes I get very upset because of the way people breed their dogs, not thinking about the dog's health or well-being.
    I myself am a member of breeding commission in Finland, regarding the breed kooikerhondje (dutch decoy dog). So these breeding matters are close to my heart and I tend to take them (sometimes too) seriously.

    -Taru-

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    1. That is actually the best suggestion by far! The eradication of winners and champions! That would fix so many problems, popular sire syndrome is one of them.

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  8. The little Irish Setter puppy I told you about who was sold as cross eyed at half price. The family are devastated, their vet has confirmed what I suspected, that she is blind, but worse, much worse, is that they have been told that she may hydraencaphalitus (apologies for spelling) which caused the eye problem. The breeder is very angry with THEM! Not sorry that she has palmed off a puppy that she should have kept and not offered for sale, accepted her responsibility and that there may be other puppies affected because her bitch is a carrier. The owner of the sire is despicable, he has taken the money and walked away. There is a heartbroken little girl and her parents who don't know what to do for the best outcome of the puppy. And why was this litter born, just like a high proportion of the pedigree dogs bred today, MONEY. But when the breeder is approached and asked for help, the new owner is blamed for bringing a problem to their door. So the dog above who has sired 65 puppies, a high proportion will have the same deformities, bred to suffer, I wonder what the reaction of his owner is when somebody complains when their puppy is badly disabled, the cost of keeping them well escalates hugely, do they offer the new owner their money back and lifelong support, I suspect not because it is all about money and they will keep that come hell or highwater. It really is disgracefull you know, these people are creating lives, being rewarded by the KC who confirm that their decision to breed deformed dogs is good by awarding them prizes that increases the value of the dog and offspring, and opens the door to gross abuse. I despair and I am frightened for the little setter puppy because her future is dire and she doesn't deserve it, she is a dear little thing.

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  9. Taru, somebody needs to take matter seriously because the KCs aren't, we love our dogs, others apparently don't, just the money they can rake in from them.

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  10. Time for a petition? You have thousands of followers....

    Standardised and regulated vet checks in dog shows?

    Ban dog shows?

    Got to do SOMETHING!

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    1. The creation, or foundation of pedigree dogs is people breeding for what has value to them. What thrives, has purpose and value in their own back yards.

      THAT is the foundation of pure breed dogs.So The K.Cs were formed to take these community created dogs and refine them.Their stated goal is SAID to be "betterment".

      So what did they do? They decided that purification was the was the way to improve on whats been provided by those who came before.
      Not too bad in itself. A closed system can always be opened again if its shown to be unworkable.

      BUT. Then they ruled that no member shall 'Cross" breed a dog. So now you don't have just have a closed system, you have a double closed system.
      No outside influence on the standardized dog breeds, and no out side influence either on those who breed them.

      The constitution sets out the intention of the organization. Nuance of language and rules are critical.

      That rule changed the message given by the constitution and acted on by its members.Instead of a constitution that stands for "betterment" as may have been the intention, The message became that "Purification is the road to perfection" and all else is untouchable. This is the message that has ruled against side influence, but has massive influence out side of the K.Cs simply because they are an organization in opposition to what exsists outside its charter.

      A petition to change that rule could achieve massive change.not just for pedigree dogs but for all dogs.

      We have an organization in opposition to its very foundations. People breeding dogs specificaly for what has value and thrives usefully in their own backyards.

      There can be no 'Pinacle of good breeding" if every thing underlying that is chopped down. Pedigree dogs could and should represent the pinacle of good, thoughtful breeding, with purpose.

      Instead a pedigree represents records of proof for purity and predictability. Nothing more.

      RELIABILITY can come only when environmental demands are met. In our own backyards.

      Force the abolition of that ruling.

      We have the right to demand there be an environmental influence permitted in any body that has such influence on breeding practices both inside and out of that body.

      The future of Pedigree dogs and cross breed dogs are inextricably entwined. With out cross breed dogs bred for our own backyards, pedigrees have nothing to stand on. They become irrelevant.

      No wonder things are such a bloody mess.
      Removal of that rule changes the message that attracts members and is built on. Pedigrees can stand for the pinnacle and end result of good breeding practices as they should.

      An organization in opposition to own foundations can not possibly succeed, but is guaranteed to bring its foundations down with it.

      Aussie

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  11. you people must convince yourselfs you know everything , why dogs are bred "money" all conditions are "hereditary " all breeders dont care etc etc
    when realistically your just repeating the same rubbish you've heard by other bullshitters over the years

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    1. Seems you fit right in then eh?

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    2. yaaaaawwnn !

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    3. Thankfully anon 12;49 there are good dog breeders who do care, otherwise our dogs are in real danger. What we need is for these breeders to be acknowledged for their honesty, their concern, their morality. The issue of money is the only thing that generates excessive numbers of puppies being bred because they certainly aren't being bred for love, love of a breed, genuine interest in the wellbeing of dogs. So your rather unpleasant blog makes you look really silly, uneducated, blind to the suffering and I don't understand why you bother to visit a site dedicated to dogs for people who are deeply concerned by what is happening in the pedigree dog world. You seem to think that the blogs we are seeing posted here are acceptable, that the exaggerations bred and that cause that dog considerable distress, are acceptable. Goodness, I'm glad I'm not one of your dogs either owned by you or bred by you because my life would be utter misery. Just carry on yawning, it's a good way of taking in extra oxygen, and whilst you do it think of the pugs, pekes, bulldogs, shar peis etc who don't have the luxury of breathing easily because their owners think it is cute and is to breed standard.

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    4. I'm going to say something daring here: I don't mind a breeder making some money out of breeding a litter of puppies provided a) they breed with health and temperament in the front of their minds and b) make sure the puppies go to decent, caring, capable homes.

      Frankly, I'd rather buy a healthy, balanced dog off someone who might be a few quid in pocket at the end of the day than a puppy off someone who won't make a penny out of it but whose breeding will emphasise some undeniable feature (excessive skin folds, short nose etc) or increase an already high COI.

      I do appreciate that so long as there is money to be made in breeding dogs, some people will do whatever it takes to maximise their profits. I don't quite know the best way to tackle this, but saying that making any money out of breeding dogs is wrong seems a bit extreme (not that anyone has actually said that...)
      Bex

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    5. stop rabbiting on like you know what your talking about . i have healthy bulldogs as a matter of fact , i bet you dont even have a dog ?? bloody busybodys

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    6. Not daring at all, Bex. Exacty how I feel too.

      Jemima

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    7. In fact Bex I have paid top dollar for dogs I knew were going to do the job intended and had propects for a long pain free and healthy life.

      I am happy for those people to be in pocket for doing a good job, mostly they never are though unless they also have a sponsor of some sort. When ever I buy a dog Im happy to be that.

      Unfortunately the majority of show stock falls right outside this bracket of dog and yet more often than not these are the breeders that ask the most for their pedigree mutts!

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    8. Anon 20:37 I think it's you who doesn't have a clue. The 'Bulldog' and 'healthy' are not synonymous...

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    9. Good - glad to be agreed with!

      As for Anonymous 20:37... I should think almost everyone who comments on this blog either has or has had a dog or dogs. Personally, I like my dogs to be able to breathe.
      Bex

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    10. Bex you are correct and I thankfully know good breeders, they are friends and they are in different breeds. Their dogs are their lives and the contact made with the new owners of their puppies invaluable. Life changing in some cases. The difference is that they only breed every other year or often every two years, they have orders for the puppies and they stay in touch until the end. As I did, tho' in the 40 years I showed my gundog breed I only had very few litters. I too have no problem when money has been made from a litter when that litter has been bred for all the right reasons. But there is a very fine line between breeding for pleasure and using excess funds for the care and wellbeing of one's dogs for future generations to deciding to run an unlicensed backyard breeding establishment. And sadly, the human condition dictates that in the main, humans will make the latter choice. I too have paid top dollar for what I thought was going to be healthy happy pets who would be able to be shown only to discover that the puppies had entropian and "it was the first case known to the breeder" and that breeder had been showing for nearly 40 years at the time! So, sadly, money is the driving force for the over production of dogs which feeds the human condition of greed. And again I will say thank goodness that there are decent, kind, moral dog breeders who want the best for their dogs and their puppies.

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  12. It would be good to have some input from practicing veterinarians here. Specifically, description of the complaints they treat most often in Saints.
    Eye problems are highly visible and easy for an observer to fault, but I'll bet they are relatively trivial compared to other problems that beset the breed.

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    1. Absolutely Jennifer.

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    2. Ya? Degrees of pain?

      I imagine eye surgery being quite a lucrative business for vets, though and in all show mastiff type dogs.

      I would say the only "trivial" problems are the ones in fact the KC strictly forbids at all cost and could get the dog thrown out.

      Tail carried curled over the back, absence of required markings, curly coated, faulty primary colour, solid reddish brown coat, brown ticks in the white, slightly longer/shorter back, shorter leg, shorter tail, stop not well defined, mussel slightly longer than...nasal bridge slightly convex, leg shorter than the standard, its endless endless endless when you go through the body of the standard............

      Is it any wonder the dogs are so inbred there's no room for variety in type, however exaggerations on the standard are apparently just fine.

      And here in this case we have a complete tragedy a deformed dysfunctional eye (read head and dog) and on the day in the absence of puss, redness, weeping, staining, infection etc is absolutely fine!!! In fact it could even become a champ if you could see its cheek bones glistening through the flesh of the sagging exposed conjunctiva and third eyelid.

      I find it distressing but can one imagine how it feels for a dog?

      Apparently not and this is what honestly really really galls.

      "Folks" these are bits of a body that shouldn't be exposed they cant function exposed, imagine your inner cheek being constantly exposed? Just imagine it, drooling all over the floor, your face sticking to the floor, dirt dust collecting in your mouth, food and water spilling out when you try and chew, drink or eat anything, your words slurred and nonsensical ......then apply some of the same conditions to the eyes.

      It's plainly grotesque. Plainly wrong to be responsible for breeding dogs like this.






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  13. So sad that people are allowed to breed such freaks. Poor creatures. Makes me so angry.

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  14. 19 is not 'high ' hip score
    behave

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    1. Anon. It is.

      What breed are you in?

      Jemima

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    2. Another thing I guess that could be considered part of the breed. Being it is only slightly above average for a Saint Bernard,or many other heavily built dogs but would be considered high for a Rottweiler,Akita or even a Great Dane.
      Also a breeder I thought should only breed with dogs bellow the average not above it.

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  15. St. Bernards at their home kennels in Switzerland, 1913:
    http://retrieverman.net/2013/01/09/st-bernards-at-their-home-kennels-in-switzerland-1913/

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    1. Whoa... Those are totally different dogs!

      Why didn't those monks understand the importance of excessive skin and functional blindness?? Thank goodness for the show breeders!

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  16. http://www.swissysaintsennenhunds.com/apps/photos/photo?photoid=177217700

    This is a St Bernards outcross with Greater Swiss Mountain Dog. This outcross caused the St Bernard to move back to the proper type. The Sennenhund along with the St Bernards are the same breed and should be merged. The dogs who are best suited for search and rescue should be selected for further breeding and show dogs should not be breed at all.

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    1. Yes, I had a look at these dogs before and thought that they looked great. But I was concerned about the lack of health info on this website. No mention of eye tests or hip-scoring; just a rather blithe statement that the dogs have no health problems. I'd be asking a LOT of searching questions before buying one of these pups.

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    2. Yes they do look good though I would personally prefer more performance proven dogs rather than the six points the father has won towards his championship and the very good character references of the female Saints mentioned.

      Though I would if I thought the cross useful enough or liked the type at all certainly take a chance on one these pups over a pure bred Saint from a showing breeder...any day. Even if the show breeders dogs had low hip scores (long story on both accounts) but these dogs have a very high genetic load for HD which is pologenic in cause.

      My favourite hobby of blaming tight genetic pools in breeds......

      Anyway look for good hard muscling and tight ligaments in puppies and adults and take a good hard look at the parents in action. Cant jump up a steep six foot bank? No drive? Leave it alone. Are the puppies completely co-ordinated up and running from an early age, four five weeks old everything well connected, or are they a heap of uncoordinated fluff? Good bet they are in this cross but if they aren't you're onto a good thing........

      Dogs coming from and performance tested and proved themselves at various stages in their development are going to be better for breeding, but unfortunately you wont find many of these in either breed used here.

      Believe me if their grandparents were performance proved and tested and had no problems until they were old and the parents have been with no problems you are probably a lot safer hip wise than going on a hip score alone.

      IMO but of course.



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  17. The USSR military produce the Moscow watch dog which is also an St Bernard mix breed. This dog breed were breed as watch dog and may also compete in IPO. I found this excellent St Bernard on youtub, she is training in IPO https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ks8O4OvYSL0. And to the last this is best St Bernard I have ever seen, he is living at the Barry foundation and is retired avalanche dog named Justin, http://www.fondation-barry.ch/fr/justin. The only bad thing about Justin is that he is castrated.

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  18. If an eye specialist told me my dog's eyes were functionally too small, I wouldn't be moaning about failing the vet check, I'd be worrying about my dog having eyes that were too small! I'd also be thinking about what I had done to breed such a dog and what I could do to prevent it happening again.

    If an eye specialist fails a dog on an eye-conformation problem, then really, that should be the end of the game for that dog.

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  19. Rules of vet checks need to be changed to fail any dog that has a deformity that interferes with its physical fitness in any way.

    This will of course fail every sagging skin breed, every dwarfed (short leg) breed, every brachycephalic breed, every toy breed, every barrel chested breed, every roached back breed and any breed that has a trait that is associated with a disease (e.g. Rhodesian ridge backs).

    We will be left with the breeds that are more or less naturally shaped, which are more aesthetically pleasing as well as being healthier.

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  20. I'd take a mongrel over a pedigree any day. All the pedigrees I know are full of issues and problems. One was so aggressive to people it had to be put down (it was a spanish water dog, it even bit the families children leaving permenant scars), one urinates all over the house (chiuahua) one is so thick it cannot be taught anything (well its a bulldog so that's normal for the breed), one was so nuerotic it would run around constantly nipping at things and tearing the house up (a min pin).

    The worst of the lot are my step grandmother's titled show labradors that she breeds. She's won multiple ribbons including best of breed and yet the dogs are horrible creatures. They bark all day, snarl at strangers, tried to attack my dog, and chew up any item left at floor or nose level (I've lost loads of flip flops to their teeth). When they are let out of their kennels we have to stand perfectly still with our hands down and not make sudden movements while they inspect us or they'll snap. Horrible creatures. Even the "well trained" show dogs of the bunch will knock you down if you run from them and slobber and jump on you when excited. They are also compulsive flip flop eaters too.

    The dog with the nicest personality I've encountered was a stray picked up by my grandfather when it wandered onto his farm as a puppy. It was a mix but mainly podenco (and maybe galgo) - not a show breed. Despite having no pedigree and having started life as a feral stray she was the sweetest dog imaginable. Even though she had the same training and upbringing as the show Labradors (was brought up with them), she was gentle and obedient and never stole food or chewed shoes. I never felt afraid of her and she never showed the tiniest bit of aggression. She never barked and she was so healthy she never needed the vet. She lived to a ripe old age of 16 and everyone was heartbroken when she passed.

    When I went to choose a dog from the local rescue I chose my boy because he had the same look in his eyes as she did - and he turned out to have the same gentle character.

    I would never consider owning a show bred dog after the experiences with them that I've had. I wish more people would realise what amazing pets mongrels and moggies make.

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  21. At times, flunking whole breeds from the show ring seems a good idea; without show judges and show pressure, maybe the breeders of some of the most offending breeds would start listening to the public.

    People want nice, healthy pet dogs who are gentle with children, calm enough to not chew up the furniture, yap all the time, or pee on the floor at every sound. We need dogs who can live in our complicated world without going bonkers, dogs who can share our lives, and enjoy being part of our family, or good guests in our homes.

    We don't need dogs to be bred to be extra long haired, or giants, or attention grabbing strange looking animals. Just regular nice dogs.

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