The Crufts 2012 Best in Show is a Lhasa Apso, Champion Zentarr Elizabeth. In a year of huge controversy after the introduction of vet checks for high profile breeds which resulted in 5 not passing, the life of some show dogs is also an issue.  Dogs living confined, restricted lives simply to create or preserve the glory of winning at shows.  The owner of this dog, Margaret Anderson has given an interview to the Daily Mail which exposes the real life of this poor dog and her 19 others.

I have friends who show and two have long, heavy coated breeds and they live normally.  Despite show success ( and one has champions and an International champion) they are normal dogs.  We have been in rivers and on the beach, come home and disentangled twigs and washed feet and spent time brushing out.    They have still gone to shows and had a lot of success.  I am telling you this because the interview this woman has given makes her sound like a puppy farmer.

Her interview is in today’s Daily Mail.    Here’s the first quote:
” ‘She’s far too precious to take out for walks,’ explains Margaret, a 59-year-old retired social worker. ‘That’s not to say she is kept indoors all the time — she has to be kept fit and healthy. She can run around in the back garden for exercise.’ ”

So this dog isn’t allowed to be a dog? The glory of winning shows is more important than the simple well being of this dog?    I have friends with champions and international champions in breeds with long coats.  Their dogs live normally,  they swim in rivers, get covered in sand at the beach and still do well in the ring.  In fact in one case, I was picking twigs off a dog the day before it appeared in the ring at Crufts and it still won.

Is this owner lazy?  Can’t be bothered to clean up the dog for a show?  And she has 19 others too.

” ‘She can be walked on grass in the summer, when it is dry and short, but we couldn’t risk twigs and mud getting into her coat. In the house, she sleeps in a special dog crate in the kitchen, where she’s put if ever we are out or busy.

‘We couldn’t have her roaming about freely, in case she had an accident and hurt herself. If she broke a leg falling off a table, or accidentally swallowed something, she’d never show again. ”

Note, if she fell or swallowed something, “she’d never show again”.  She didn’t say “I’d be mortified and upset she had hurt herself”.

I know this happens, it just has never been as high profile before and it is not all breeders.  I cannot understand the cruelty of someone who sacrifices a dog for glory.  And this is HUMAN glory, the dog has no idea and couldn’t give a toss if it never went to a show again.

Predictably, the next step is breeding this 7 year old bitch:
”  ‘I use every dog show as an opportunity to weigh up the males to see if there are any good enough for Elizabeth,’ says Margaret. So far none has made the grade.

‘I think I’ll probably use one of my own males. There’s Morgan, who’s just one certificate away from champion status,’ she says. The dogs are, she admits, distantly related, a few generations back. But then that’s royalty for you. ”

She even separates her Pomeranians and Lhasas for garden playtime so the Poms don’t damage the Lhasa’s coats.

The divide between the pet and show world has never been bigger.  I am gobsmacked this woman gave this interview so candidly.  Is she naive?  Does she seriously think all this will be well received because she won Crufts?  What can the Kennel Club do to put this right?  They can’t live with breeders and make them give the dogs a real life, how can we stop this cruelty?  Maybe the 5 freedoms of the Animal Welfare Act could be invoked and breeders like this prosecuted.

She does say she isn’t a puppy farmer, I can’t say that keeping dogs unnaturally like this means she isn’t one.

If this is the best of breeding and breeders, God Help us.
Read more:–FAR-posh-walkies.html#ixzz1pNXZ5kaL

Edited to add:
I have searched to see if the breeder has given a response but can’t find anything.  I am happy to add a link to it if there is one at any point.    You may also be aware that a meeting two days ago between breeders unhappy at the Crufts vet checks have formed a new group, the Canine Alliance – responsibility for Pedigree Dogs.  Who is on it?  Breeders.  I have said on the Dog Word FB page that surely there should be at least one independent person on there who doesn’t show or breed?  How will the Kennel Club ever join the pet and show worlds together?

Maybe at least breeders should sign up to say they will abide by the Animal Welfare Act and provide a normal life for their dogs?

We need an INDEPENDENT body, surely to advise?  Not The Kennel Club, making £15 a time from 300,000 puppy registrations yearly and other charges, or breeders potentially now policing themselves in a world of very expensive puppies?

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Expert Witness behaviourist assessing dogs for court, treating cats and dogs. Covering Midlands to London and other areas.

3 responses »

  1. If this article is ‘for real’ then it highlights EVEN MORE need to tackle all types of irresponsible breeding – show/byb/puppy farm – as one issue, because dog’s health & welfare comes second to their personal motivations.

    Good breeders or bad breeders….with no middle ground. We need transparency to allow us to differentiate clearly between them. Let’s hope the KC hears our campaign and acts sooner rather than later….

  2. sh says:

    Hello l have just come across your website and am glad someone is taking notice of whats going on regards the welfare of dogs & the kc. l have been involved with dogs all my life but having mt own dogs since the age of 18. l really & truely wanted to show & breed, l started with GSDs loved them, started showing & behavior training enjoyed. Took my first bitch back to the well known respected breeder in the area kc reg for mating, on advise left my bitch with her as her and another lady were proffessionals on advise as my bitch wouldnt mate as l was present, bearing in mind l was 19-21ish & stupid. The promptly tied my bitch up into position, she died in my arms, lve never forgiven myself, lve never shown since & promptly got out of that circle.showed
    Now 30yrs later and in that 30yrs lve met some charactors down here in kent, lve seen and learnt plenty and l could do time for some. The Kennel club l have no time for, they do not give a dam, once in the beginning possibly l doubt, they are a long standing multi million pound company. Would you? If you had millions of sheep willing to pay you to be in your gang on your list with no rules or regs undertaken and everytime you said ‘l want squashed noses, little legs, long tails’ millions through more money at you to show you we’ve done it !! . ITs a multi million pound legal farse that doesnt give a dam.

    l do breed dogs have been for the last 8yrs of this particular breed, once a year. Crosses because l got sick of trying to find a truely healthy bloodline plus the fact l love them and yes l have all the tests done and are very particular where new owners are concerned, But l have been amazed tonight again, lve been onto the Labradoodle site looked up regards good breeders who upholds their rules for breeders and immediately l see a very well known name in kent, been to court in the last 5yrs and ran serveral puppy farms, still runs one now that l know of in particular, complete huge indoor kennel & sheds with every possible breed constantly breeding. All KC reg lol
    makes me wonder are the people who have jumped in rather smartish with the Labradoodle ass, do they work for the KC?
    lve got no time for the KC and if they do accept the Labradoodle as a breed to register, l will totally refuse,

  3. […] Read my post about the Crufts 2012 winner, Zentar Elizabeth, a life in prison here […]

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