Tag Archives: Crufts

One in four dogs at Crufts is overweight

One in four dogs competing in the world’s largest canine show (Crufts) is overweight, despite the perception that entrants are supposed to represent ideal specimens of their breed, reveals research published online in Veterinary Record.

The widespread dissemination of show dog images online may be ‘normalising’ obesity in dogs, now recognised to be a common canine disorder, say the researchers.

As in people, obesity in dogs has been linked to orthopaedic problems, diabetes, respiratory disease, and certain types of cancer. It also affects both the quality and length of a dog’s life.

The researchers base their findings on 1120 online images of dogs from 28 breeds—half of which are prone to obesity–that had appeared at Crufts. This is the UK’s national dog show, and the largest of its kind in the world.

Only adult dogs that had been placed between first and fifth in their class between 2001 and 2013 were included in the study.

The images were coded and anonymised, and 960 were suitable for assessment. A second person then graded the body condition of each dog in one sitting, using a previously validated method.

Three out of four (708; 74%) of the show dogs were in ideal condition, and none was overweight. But one in four (252; 26%) was overweight.

Pugs, basset hounds, and Labrador retrievers were the breeds most likely to be assessed as being overweight. Dogs were overweight in 80% of the pug images, and in around two thirds of the basset hound (68%) and Labrador (63%) images.

The researchers say Labradors were one breed that was more likely to be assessed as overweight.   (Photo by pedigreelabrador.co.uk)

The researchers say Labradors were one breed that was more likely to be assessed as overweight. (Photo by http://www.pedigreelabrador.co.uk)

The three breeds with the highest prevalence of overweight among the online images are prone to excess weight. But, given that pugs were originally bred to be a companion dog, while hounds and Labradors were bred, respectively, for hunting and fieldwork, being overweight would not be advantageous, say the researchers.

Standard poodles, border terriers, Rhodesian ridgebacks, Hungarian vizlas and Dobermanns were the least likely breeds to be overweight.

The researchers point out that the prevalence of overweight among the show dogs was less than that reported generally for pet dogs in the UK. But the fact that “a quarter were above ideal weight is still a cause for concern,” they write.

“These dogs showcase the ideal characteristics of the pedigree breed, and there is a danger that widespread media exposure might adversely influence owner perception of optimal body shape,” they say.

The Kennel Club has recently introduced changes in policy for judging criteria, to emphasise characteristics that promote good health in dogs, say the researchers.

But breed standards of optimal condition should be reinforced for competition, to ensure consistency, they say, concluding: “Further effort is now required to educate owners, breeders and show judges so that they can all better recognise overweight condition, thus helping to prevent the development of obesity.”

Source:  EurekAlert! media release

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Winning at Crufts after a broken paw

This year’s Crufts competition was overshadowed by claims of poisoning and unethical conduct amongst competitors.  Unfortunately, this means some of the better, good-news stories have not been given the air time they normally would.

Take Kamba, for example.  A Rhodesian Ridgeback, Kamba had a piece of floating bone in his paw which was diagnosed last year after x-rays.  Kamba hadn’t been using his leg as expected and so his owner looked into the cause.

Kim Hodge and her Rhodesian Ridgeback, Kamba

Kim Hodge and her Rhodesian Ridgeback, Kamba

After the diagnosis, she pursued rehabilitation which included physical rehab and hydrotherapy which occurred from September 2014 with increasing frequency in the weeks leading up to the Crufts show.

Kamba won first prize in both the Post Graduate Class and Reserve Dog Challenge Certificate for his breed at the four-day event.  He beat more than 100 other dogs.

“Kamba loves meeting other dogs and really seems to enjoy doing shows, so it was great to see how the crowd and the judges reacted to him too. Usually, top prizes tend to go to the more seasoned dogs so it was really lovely that Kamba impressed them.”

Source:  Derby Telegraph

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

Chandi

Chandi book cover

I have just finished reading Chandi:  The Rescue Dog Who Stole a Nation’s Heart by Tina Humphrey.  Chandi is the story of Humphrey’s rescue dog who she trained for Heelwork to Music.  Published in 2012, the book opens when Humphrey meets her first dog, Pepper, in 1994.  Chandi is adopted from a shelter in 1998 and, for a time, Humphrey trains and competes with both dogs in Heelwork to Music and Freestyle competitions.

Tina, who teaches piano and violin, has a natural ear for music and is able to choreograph routines for her dogs that emphasize the stories behind the music.

Chandi is a love story.  It is about the bond that Tina shares with both of her dogs and the devotion she has for both of them.  She is an advocate for a raw diet and natural health care (no wonder I was attracted to the book),  in part inspired by her mother who fought cancer for many years using natural therapies.  (Part of the book tells the story of how Tina suffers the loss of both of her parents, at separate times, with her dogs there as emotional support).

We also share in Tina’s heartache when, in 2007, she and Chandi suffer the loss of Pepper.  Anyone who has had to say goodbye to their beloved dog understands Tina’s pain when it is time for Pepper to be put to sleep.

Chandi and Tina win many competitions in their years together including several trophies at Crufts.  In 2010, after almost 12 years of competing and sharing their lives, they audition for Britain’s Got Talent and go all the way to the finals, ultimately finishing in fourth place.  By then, they are celebrities and enjoy a nationwide tour of the show’s finalists plus other interviews and promotions.  And that’s where the book finishes…on a high note.

On 26 April 2013, Chandi died at the age of 14 years 10 months.  She developed a condition that was thought to be pyometra.  However, during surgery to remove her uterus and spleen, it was discovered that Chandi’s body had many other tumours that could not be removed.   Tina made the heart-breaking decision that it was time for Chandi to go and was there when she was put to sleep on the surgical table.

Today, Tina is training a new puppy named Grace and is blogging about her experiences with her new canine companion.    You can follow them on Facebook.

 And through the wonders of YouTube, here are Tina and Chandi’s performances on Britain’s Got Talent:

Auditions

Semi-Finals

Finals

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand