The Finnish Kennel Club has published new Breed-Specific Instructions for dog show judges. The instructions were drafted with the purpose of steering dog show judges to pay closer attention to exaggerated breed types. The new instructions entered into force on 1 June.
A dog show judge is tasked with evaluating how well a dog matches its breed standard. How the breed standards are interpreted can, at times, lead judges and breeders to favour dogs that display tendencies towards exaggeration.
Now, the breed standard will be supplemented by new Breed-Specific Instructions, which pay special attention to exaggerated breed types as well as each breed's special areas of risk that weaken the dog's fundamental soundness and health.
The Breed-Specific Instructions urge judges not to award the highest gradings to dogs, which display exaggerated breed types. Considering the issues noted in the Breed-Specific Instructions enables judges to have a positive impact on canine health and the direction of breeding.
39 breeds listed
The Breed-Specific Instructions mention 39 breeds whose evaluation requires judges to pay special attention to possible exaggerated features. Among others, included are brachycephalic breeds, toy breeds, extremely large molossoid breeds as well as breeds with chondrodystrophic (disproportionate) growth retardation.
After judging a breed, judges will draft a report on their observations, which will be delivered to the relevant breed club. These reports will be used to monitor the situation of each breed and to update the Breed-Specific Instructions.
Judges may draft reports on any breed, including those not included in the list of 39. This can lead to a breed being taken under observation and, if necessary, getting added to the Breed-Specific Instructions.
The Breed-Specific Instructions were drafted by the Nordic Kennel Union, of which the Finnish Kennel Club is a member. The instructions have already been adopted in Sweden, Norway and Denmark.
The health of dogs entered into Finnish dog shows has been the focus of attention for many years. Up to now, dog show judges have observed the Finnish Kennel Club's guidelines, according to which the health and wellbeing of dogs should always be the primary consideration.