Just got a text from Ashley that Oscar won Best of Breed over the other Swissies at the Southern Maryland Kennel Club Dog Show. Over two million people lost power in DC, but somehow the dog show goes on.

Some people have asked what going to a Dog Show involves. When Oscar goes to a Dog Show, he is rated on how well he conforms to his Breed, the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog. Jumping over a hurdle, doing tricks, or being in good health is not part of the conformation. However, in the UK for big shows such as Crufts (the European version of Westminster Kennel Club) they recently added a health check at the show to that list.

“The winners of the Bulldog, Pekingese, Clumber Spaniel, Mastiff, Neapolitan Mastiff and Basset Hound classes were not allowed to progress to the Group stages of judging, and were not given their Best of Breed awards.

Vets were asked to look for conditions related to eye disease, lameness, skin disorders and breathing difficulty. These included inflammation related to poor eyelid conformation, signs of chronic damage to the corneal surface of the eye, dermatitis associated with skin folds and long or heavily coated ears, signs of respiratory difficulty or any lameness or hind limb weakness.

Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: “We want to ensure that only healthy dogs are rewarded in the show ring and also use the show ring to help move those breeds forward that are the most inclined to suffer from health conditions that affect their health and welfare.”*

Do you think it’s a good idea for Dog Shows to include health checks at dog shows? If so, should it be one vet or a team of vet that makes the decision?