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If you are filled with pride you have no room for wisdom

 African proverb 






A Hound Fairy Tale

Once upon a hot spring weekend, hound exhibitors & judges rallied round. Judge A showed under Judge B and Judge B showed under Judge A . Judge C socialised & helped in the hospitality tent where Judge D, who came from a long, long way away, & Judge A & Judge B were  were refreshed. Judge C showed under Judges A, B, & D. Judges A & B also showed under Judge D

Was there a happy ending for Judges A , B & C ? Consult the  Consolidated Book of Fairy Tales in due course.




I do wish South African exhibitors would keep things in perspective when boasting of their dogs achievements.

It is always good to win a Group or BoB or Junior/Puppy  etc in Breed. However a Group win over 20 odd other dogs is hardly a great achievement, even in South Africa, similarly a BoB from an entry of 5 dogs in total is no great shakes & a Best Puppy/Junior etc with no competition at all is even less so. Why not specify the number of dogs beaten to attain these achievements surely it would make them more meaningful , or perhaps less so.

Boasting without clarifying the entry numbers is actually a misrepresentation of facts, is misleading and could even be viewed as fraudulent particularly when posts are sent out around the world. In my opinion it gives a false impression of the show scene in South Africa. 



In my opinion no one in their right mind submits an entry form when they make a donation to a club. Unless of course they have a hidden agenda. Caught with their pants down is a more likely explanation !!!



Breaking news !!!

A group of administrators, judges, breeders, & exhibitors from Johannesburg, the Western Cape, Durban & Port Elizabeth have developed a new breed. The breed standard is still being formulated, refined & debated, however the dog definitely has one defining characteristic - when confronted with a problem, particularly if of a critical or controversial nature, it buries its head in the sand. A scientific name has been agreed upon, namely, Caninus  kusacouncilorii.

The breed standard will be released in January.



Ringing out the old

Without wishing my life away , I for one am pleased that 2018 is drawing to a close. It has been a good year & a bad year for me, but I'm now ready to go forward with a change in direction &  a new focus.

Good things.  - The arrival of my two new English imports who have fulfilled my hopes and expectations & will definitely strengthen my lines. Pinoak Veni Vidi Vici of Kaperjolle qualifying for the Western Cape Top Puppy  Invitational competition and Serenaker Fire N'Ice at Pinoak (Imp UK) qualifying for the NAPC Top Dog competition in the Puppy Stakes.. In the Beagle of the Year competition, despite greatly reduced showing, Pinoak Beagles still led in three categories & were placed second in a further  four, thus demonstrating that it is not necessary to enter every show all you have to do is study the form.  I am very pleased & proud to say that these achievements have been on their own merits , they have not been favoured by friends & acquaintances, no judges have been influenced or intimidated by my status nor befriended on facebook. Congratulations must go to Audrey Hauptfleisch who won Breeder of the Year , something that she has been hankering after for a number of years, achieved, but at what cost and will she be able to sustain it to better my record of five consecutive years ? The cost to the breed is already being seen and as for the record lets wait & see.

Bad things - The loss of two of my beloved beagles very suddenly, Ludo , he of the loud voice, and my divine Delilah, 5/10/2012 - 4/12/2018, who always gave everything of herself in the showring. Both were much loved and are sorely missed. I end the year with Ferdinand still battling a ringhals bite after 6 weeks.

A watershed year in which I took the decision that I will no longer feed corruption in the sport and for this reason & due to financial constraints as well, my travelling in 2019 will be limited, certainly in the first half of the year.. I will only enter under those South African judges who I believe will judge with honesty & knowledge, I will give every newcomer one chance to prove themselves in this respect. Judges from abroad, I will continue to enter under except those who have possibly demonstrated questionable integrity in the past. I will not give any of these judges the benefit of the doubt. I certainly will not be entering under quid pro quo mates from abroad. This doesn't mean to say I have to win, just walk away from the ring feeling that the judging has been fair. For a few its only about winning, but for the majority of us its about being judged with honesty & integrity.




Pinoak The Hon Ludowig 01/03/2015 - 12/10/2018. At peace now till we meet again my friend.



Beagle of the Year Competition

I believe there is a lot of whining on facebook because Audrey Hauptfleisch did not win Beagle Breeder of the Year 2017. 

To set the record straight the Beagle of the Year leaderboards are displayed on the club website from February to December and updated regularly through the course of the year. During January of the following year the winners are recorded on the Roll of Honour elsewhere on the website and the points for the preceeding year deleted. This gives every exhibitor ample opportunity to check points & query allocation of points if they so wish. cf of the year

There are 8 categories in which breeders can earn points towards Breeder of the Year. In 2017 Audrey Hauptfleisch's breeding won 1 of these namely Puppy of the Year, and Shuna de Villiers won 3 , Runner Up, Junior & Baby Puppy. Beagle of the Year was bred by Amorine Ward & BOS by Jack Peden. Further during 2017 there were 4 Morninghunt bred Beagles which contributed points to Audrey's breeder points and 7 Pinoak bred Beagles contributing to mine. Simple arithmetic indicates that cheating & rigging has not taken place. 

The competition is in its eight year , up until now, Audrey has never queried the allocation of points. This whining doesn't harm me, but it is very damaging to the Breed & the Club.

There is a positive aspect - this has focussed attention on the Club and the competition, which is what we want, as well as highlighting my breeding achievements. 



Quid Pro Quo et al

Bravo ! the quid pro quo arrangement between judges who also exhibit seems to have been working overtime over the last few months particularly in the provinces.

I hear there was once again a vocal demonstration of bad sportsmanship at the hound ring this weekend when group placings were announced on Sunday.

Then there is the boasting on facebook where BISS & BJISS morph into BIS & BJIS as well as 2x BJIS morph into 4 BJIS. As we all know there is a huge difference between BIS & BISS as well as between 2 and 4.



The Years Ahead

After a three year wait I am looking forward, with great excitement, to the arrival very soon, of my two new imports. These two Beagles from top UK  breeding kennels will strengthen and add to my existing British bloodlines. Thank you Jill and Serena for bloodstock that will undoubtedly have a positive impact on South African Beagles. More details in due course.

I strive with my breeding to  replicate the breed standard as closely as possible and value correct conformation, excellent heads, level toplines, good tail carriage, sound movement  and honest judging above wins in the showring under friends & acquaintances.



Cause and effect

It must always be remembered that my actions are not the catalyst but the reaction. I will not stand by and watch a few egotistical individuals destroy our sport without comment, nor will I give up my democratic right to freedom of speech.


The Cape Winter Tour

I am firmly of the opinion that the Western Cape is at its most beautiful in winter particularly if  there is rain around, the colours are stunning, purple, blue, green, red, brown, orange , yellow, white & the silver of glistening water on rocks. I really enjoyed this trip and show wise Pinoak Beagles were very successful , our best day being the first Swartland show where  we took BOB, RBOB, CC Dog, CC Bitch, Best Puppy, Best Baby Puppy, Hound Group 2nd, Hound Puppy Group 2nd, Hound Baby Puppy Group 1st and RBBPIS.

Thumbs up to two sets of committees for two weekends of well run shows, & to West Coast KC for staging an FCI show which did not overrun time wise, unlike the shambles of the KUSA national weekend held in Durban recently, I cringe to think what the international judges there must have thought about shows in South Africa.  Thumbs down to the fact there were no critiques for most of the dogs at the aforementioned show, afterall some of us only enter for the critiques & not to make up phony international champions. Thumbs down to the committee members who exhibited their dogs at their own shows and also proceeded to entertain the judges to lunch. Without casting aspersions on the judges' integrity, this simply is not ethical. Thumbs down also to the beaten seasoned hound exhibitor who insulted the judge by walking away after class judging, failing to stay for the possible call back in two classes, bad sportsmanship yet again.

Thought for the day. If it is ethical for committee members and/or sponsors, who are also exhibiting, to entertain judges to lunch surely then it also ethical for all exhibitors to join in, so why not put on a buffet lunch ,which also could be a source of revenue for the clubs, to which all exhibitors are invited to attend. That way we all have equal opportunites of cornering the judges & expounding on the virtues of our dogs ! 


Saving our sport

Discussions around the hound ring this weekend focussed on just this. It was agreed that no amount of new titles, new classes or additional shows will save our sport, nor has the state of the economy got anything to do with it. What lies at the crux of the matter are the judges, and in order for dog showing to survive, drastic action is required. Soon there will only be judges exhibiting. Every exhibitor I have spoken to recently on this matter, wants a knowledgeable, experienced judge who judges with honesty and integrity.

Committees & councils need to listen to what exhibitors are saying now and act on it.

KUSA could take the lead given by the Kennel Club (UK)  and restructure, which has apparently resulted in happier exhibitors generally & exhibitor numbers increasing.  

The power of the Old Boys Club needs to be neutralised. Members of this club must be very naive if they think we, the hoi polloi, can't see what is going on & we can also read the various facebook posts. Members of this club are giving all judges a bad name and sadly there are honest judges who are getting poor entries because the politicians are not entering under them. One suggestion is that judges should be prohibited from exhibiting in South Africa,in the three months preceding & post any South African judging appointment. Assessors of learner judges should not be drawn from current exhibitors, but from members of the judging community who no longer exhibit more than occassionally.

Eliminate  cronyism, nepotism, freebies, & quid pro quo appointments. In the interests of honesty & transparency judges up for consideration should disclose their facebook friends & facebook correspondence, facebook is after all, a public social media & not a closed community or secret society.   Judges detailed CVs, giving previous judging appointments, breed exposure & experience, etc should be published with every schedule as well as any connections the judge my have with exhibitors, so the exhibitor can make an informed decision as to the experience and knowledge of the judge before entering . Handling a few dogs of a breed does not constitute  in depth breed experience, all it demonstrates is that persons handling ability. Judges CV's should also include references from previous judging appointments. Focus on importing breed or group specialists rather than all breed judges (See below)  

The show ring is supposed to be a level playing field and South Africa a democratic nation but I recently got wind of  so called "senior members" ridiculing other exhibitors & bad mouthing dogs  to other "senior members". Who can possibly be a "senior member" unless I'm very much mistaken, only a judge, or a council member, or other officials ? What would be the benefit of this action ? It may be that the perpetrator feels threatened by the other exhibitors dogs and other  "senior members" are due to judge  the breed in the near future, who knows?  If this is true & if these are indeed "senior members" of the community their behaviour should be exemplary and above reproach and any divergence from the norm severely censured so that this behaviour does not become acceptable. This is the so called politics of dog showing that gives the sport a bad name.

Name and shame those exhibitors who indulge in bad sportsmanship and bullying tactics -  its there all right, I recently experienced a couple of examples of it in the hound ring such as stamping during judging to distract/disturb the oppositions dog, rudeness, refraining from applauding one particular exhibit in the group judging etc. It is very sad and sick actually, that there are a few individuals involved in dog showing that attempt to spoil anothers pleasure and recreation just to stroke their egos. Another example of the politics of dog showing and unacceptable behaviour from any exhibitor, least of all judges.

Introduce an apprenticeship period of say 3 to 5 years for new judges to serve judging open shows in their chosen group or groups.

Reduce the number of shows per annum by up to 50% & amalgamate all breed clubs/ duplicate or triplicate specialist clubs in the same geographical area, this would free up human & financial resources to enable committees to be manned by dedicated & motivated persons and funds become available to import recognised & reputable breed & group specialists. By reducing tthe number of shows per annum local judge resources would also be under less pressure. This would also relieve pressure on sponsors whose importance anyway, is I believe, overrated in this country. I don't know of any exhibitors who would honestly say they come to dog shows to win a bag of dog food, or a prize or a rosette, nice to receive though they are. As overseas, committees should be there to do the work, entry fees should cover show costs and fund raising and interest from investments cover any shortfalls.

Every club should establish a culture of fundraising - fundraising can be fun, it does not necessarily have to be focussed on the exhibitor community but should include the general public as well which could have the added advantage of introducing more people to the sport. With fewer shows there would be more time for fundraising which also can establish a sense of camaradie and belonging.

Like politics in France, dog showing in South Africa requires a renaissance and a move from the focus on " I " to a focus on your specific breed.     


Crufts 2017

After nearly 9 years in the wilderness I returned to visit Crufts this year.While the 3 top winning Beagles of 2016 were not present, it was heartening to see that type and quality had not changed. Small, short legged & short backed Beagles did not predominate either in the entries or in the cards. While BOB went to a gorgeous male , real depth of quality was there as ever in the bitches. Only two of the European kennels present , one Dutch & one Danish, had , in my opinion ,any Beagles that coud compete with the British. I was also interested to see that grooming techniques had not changed. There were no square cut tails, no excessively trimmed dogs  and definitely no shaved dogs as far as I could see.

There have been comments that Crufts is just a giant flea market - not so for me. While there certainly were a lot more commercial stands Crufts has always been for me a two day affair. One day to observe & study the creme de la creme of my breed and to network with breeders from around the country & elsewhere. With a second day for shopping from a wonderful selection of dog & related products. I could have filled many suitcases!! 


Scenthound of the Year 2017

Correcting a misconception. Yes my points allocation was used BUT my system was altered from a national competition to a regional one, limited to regional shows & regional dogs hence the distortion of the results. Even then they couldn't get it right allocating a prize to a Free State dog. The whole point of the competition was to encourage participation at shows throughout the country and not just another meaningless accolade for Gauteng exhibitors. 


Ethical breeders?

It appears that for some of the Beagle Association members ethical breeding goes out the window when there's money to be made.

One accepted a stud without even looking at the pedigree, let alone checking the age, the owner, or the genetic testing status of the bitch.

Another accepted two studs for bitches that are both far too young, they  are not registered in the name of the owner and no genetic testing has been undertaken. Some of us know about this, as we were approached for studs first , and turned them down for the above reasons.

Who is the  big bad wolf now ?


Out with the old and in with the new.

Looking back on the year observations from the show scene are :-

The proliferation of trailers parked ringside at a number of the away shows taking up space which is intended for exhibitors, who sometimes have to bench a distance away from the ring because of lack of space. Why not be a little less selfish and think of other exhibitors and park your trailer behind , not alongside , your gazebo or benching area ?

The missed opportunity by the Swartland & West Coast clubs for failing to take advantage of a venue, which is large enough with a little intelligent planning, to hold an indoor/undercover show. These shows are held mid winter in a winter rainfall area, but yet the committees, who pride themselves on their innovative attitude, insist on holding outdoor shows in a windswept and usually sodden & soaking wet environment - which is not conducive to improving exhibitor numbers  . Why not provide the South African dog scene with our only indoor /undercover show ?

The alarming trend by exhibitors, show offiials & judges to ignore the rules of the showing in South Africa. Twice this year I have been on the receiving end of rule infringements, both times at FCI shows. Firstly the only other exhibitor in Group 6 who had taken the honours in all the group classes failed to put in an appearance for BIS, citing a prior engagement. Secondly an exhibitor who failed to show for a BIS class, for whatever reason, demanded and was given a rejudging even although awards had been made, and judging had commenced in the next class. It would appear to me that there are 1st & 2nd class exhibitors at dog shows and that rules only apply to second class exhibitors and 1st class exhibitors have  certain privileges just as was the case between the races in the old South Africa.

With the number of clubs jumping on the bandwagon and holding two championship shows and an FCI show in one year rapidly increasing, there are now too many shows and I predict that entries will fall overall and not increase as hoped, exhibitors will pick and choose, as I now do, based on the quality,integrity, experience & reputation of the judge.

Looking forward to the new show year, by all accounts we can expect a very strong puppy class and at least four new imports - just hoping this strength of numbers in the puppy class will not fall away as it did at the end of this year when some exhibitors may have been disappointed with the quality of their new show hopefuls. If this is the case this is a pity as these were all potential long term exhibitors which our breed needs. 

A few New Years Resolutions to clean up the sport are needed all round I think.

Wishing you all a happy, prosperous and successful new year.


Beagle Association Open Show

These are my personal observations. We had a successful Open Show on Sunday  and while there are a few minor issues which we still need to address I think we  can only take positives from it. Numbers were down but quality was up,  more importantly we gained a couple of new exhibitors who are seriously interested in showing. Slowly but surely we are getting to the point where we will be able to hold a Championship Show without being dependent on the political game players to give us the required numbers. The slower we get there the surer it will be & that is to my liking.  In fact we are already there but I think we need to consolidate for a year or two.  We are  able to positively identify the politicians, their informers & supporters amongst us, while they are always welcome at our shows, we accept their unreliability as it cannot destroy the club as has happened in the past, and the only people they are currently letting down are themselves, not to mention their dogs.

We have established dates, format & a venue which suits our breed, doesn't conflict with other shows,  and which we hope will allow the club to share specialist judges with other breed clubs and we hope to build on this foundation in the future.



Highveld Scenthound Club Championship Show

I believe there is much self praise from the committee on the club facebook page. I must agree the show ran smoothly, however I would like to point out the following:-

There has been no acknowledgement or thanks anywhere for the R1000 donated by The Beagle Association of Gauteng towards judges costs. 

The format of the catalogue was  most peculiar to say the least.

There were entries in the catalogue which had no registration details - one wonders whether they were ever provided. I was of the impression that RAF & TAF (in this case thinly disguised as TBA) entries were not acceptable at KUSA championship shows - perhaps I am mistaken.

There was no acknowledgement or thanks in the catalogue for the huge donation given by Vivienne Jordaan iro sponsoring the trip to the game reserve.

The ring steward found the judges sheets very confusing.

So it was not roses all the way.


Manners maketh Man

What a pity, a few let an entire generation down. As far as I know honesty , integrity and courtesy are still valued by our society, yet there are people in the show world, primarily of the younger generation, who appear to not place any store by these values. Emails are not replied to or even acknowledged, outright lies are told, greetings are not exchanged, etiquette not observed, double standards applied and pledges are not honoured. I know, I , at times, am  guilty of not greeting individuals - there are no excuses for bad manners, but I would like to point out that it is deemed socially correct for a younger person to greet an older person first.

Slightly off the subject, a quote I came upon and which I believe to be a good yardstick to live by - "Stand up for what you believe in, even if it means standing alone."


One small step for  club committees , hopefully one giant step for ethics in the future.

One small step in the right direction by the Chairman & Secretary of a recent All Breeds Championship show. Hurrah - they did not handle their dogs & they did not stand ringside during judging, but ill advisably, they were entered and shown. Perhaps next year they will make one giant step for ethics and not enter their dogs at all and gain a little much needed respect from the hoi polloi.


Looking a gift horse in the mouth ? Maybe

Or perhaps a con trick. At a recent part group, open show, winners of the annual awards were given R100 vouchers from an online store.  On the face of it a reasonable prize but not when when you attempt to use it. Firstly in order to cash it in you have to spend R600 - is that a prize ? No, its a special offer ! Secondly if you won more than one of these vouchers, only one could be used, so in fact for the second or third award that you may have won you did not actually receive a prize. I value the vouchers the dog food companies give out as these can be used for any product irrespective of value, at virtually any outlet and can used in conjunction with other vouchers, so for the sponsoring company & the prize winner its a win win situation, not as above. 

In addition this same club  or maybe it was a  sponsor spent good money, of which the club has very little, on 5 tacky, garish, tinny trophies. Apart from the overall winner, winners of categories were not permitted to take away these if they so desired, but they could just have a photo taken with the trophy & the judge officiating. Why then purchase five , one would have been sufficient for photographic purposes. There were also beautiful large rosettes given out, no doubt sponsored, but to the recipient of no value other than dust catchers. Overall the awards ceremony was not worth attending.

In this economic climate with dwindling numbers at shows ,club committees should be focussing on saving money and giving prizes with some value & not worthless junk. As a member of this club I object strenuously to the wasting of club funds in this manner.   



Here is a comment I would like to share with you. While this was made in the context of satirical comedy being a force for ongoing change in South Africa it certainly can be applied equally to the need for change in the dog showing community in South Africa as well


        " Satire may be provocative, shocking,and even offensive but it is considered fundamental in a free society"


       " Satire often brutally exposes the absurdity of the human condition, society's hypocrises and abuses of the polity by stimulating critical awareness,           the satirist comes to play the unintended role of activist and change agent in society"


SABC News 23/01/2016 - The Conversation


Happy New Year

Love me or loath me, I wish all my followers a Happy New Year. In the forthoming year it might be a good idea to remember the old adage "Pride comes before a fall"



Advertising standards

It's just as well for some breeders/exhibitors that there is no advertising standards ombudsman to police the veracity of dog breeding advertising, as  there are a number of breeders whose adverts are decidely misleading and/or economical with the truth.

Firstly there are those breeders who have never / or have seldom put a foot in a show ring but who advertise show quality puppies. I ask on what grounds are these puppies advertised as show quality & on whose say so ? How can you adjudge a puppy as show quality if you yourself don't know what show quality is or if your breeding stock has never been evaluated by a qualified judge ? Simply having a champion or two somewhere in the background does not mean the progeny will be show quality as any breeder worth their salt will tell you. I also defy any breeder to unequivocally claim an eight week old puppy is show quality. A puppy at eight weeks may display show potential yes, but show quality no - that only comes later.

Secondly there are the breeders/exhibitors who inflate  their dogs achievements in the show ring. For instance there is a Beagle currently being advertised, I believe, as a Best Junior in Show winner. To the best of my knowledge this dog has never won a Best Junior in Show  but has won a Best Junior in Speciality Show (in this instance a group show), there is a vast difference between BIS & BISS. There is a further outrageous claim of MBBPIS for the same dog. I may be mistaken but to the best of my knowledge  - never! These Beagles purport to speak for themselves, Beagles have always been known to be an honest breed and in over thirty years experience of the breed, I have never known Beagles to bend the truth - they really must be sooper dooper specimens! 

Breeders clean up your act - the only people you are fooling are yourselves.

Worse are those breeders who are deliberately misleading the public regarding genetic testing. To my knowledge there is one breeder, maybe more, in Cape Town who claims their local vet undertakes genetic testing - this is not possible for breed specific issues such as MLS, NCCD, IGS, Factor 7 etc as these can only be done in the States. Further there is at least one breeder in Gauteng claiming their breeding stock has been tested for epilepsy - there is no genetic test for epilepsy. 



Quality not quantity

2015 show year is at an end & for me it has been a year of more ups than downs, once again in a year of reduced showing and with no breed specialist judges, Pinoak Kennels have finished in a very strong position. We have reinforced & consolidated our status as South Africa's top winning breeding kennel. In addition to the three categories we won in the Beagle of the Year competition, we also finished the year with the top South African bred Beagle in most categories & in some cases top 2.  Pinoak Beagles are particularly strong in the sire & dam categories. In Sire of the Year 3 of the top 5 sires, were homebred Pinoak Beagles, all sons of Ch Serenaker Love Me Do of Pinoak & grandsons of UK Ch Fallowfield Douglas. In Dam of the Year  2 of the top 5 dams are from this kennel, one being a daughter of Ch Serenaker  Love Me Do of Pinoak & granddaughter of UK Ch Fallowfield Douglas and in this category we were beaten into 2nd & 3rd places  at the last shows of the year.  These results augur very well for the future & I look forward to a fruitful 2016 & beyond with a largely new young team, at times an enthusiastic new handler who is not a fifth columnist and at some stage a new car to get me around the country.

Quality not quantity is the keynote of this kennel. We do not churn out cheap champions, import by the score from obscure countries, nor mill puppies by the dozens, but focus on breeding to the breed standard, & testing for genetic disorders, to produce happy, healthy and true to type Beagles.



I think it is disgraceful that the executive committee of the Highveld Scenthound Club did not propose even a vote of thanks to the outgoing Chairman or Patron. Both these indiviuals have given a lifetime of service to dogdom. Our Patron resigned not only as patron, but also as a member and a committee member, due to, I believe , a personal & unnecessary verbal attack by one of the incoming executive committee. Please see our next newsletter  for a tribute to both.

The proposer of the judge for our 2016 Championship Show, having touted this person as the ideal canditate, a fact I do not dispute, has tainted this appointment by failing to reveal at the time of proposing the judge, connections, however tenuous they may have been, with this judge.

As an ordinary committee member I personally disassociate myself from the actions of this person/persons. However I do not have any intention of resigning  from the committee as I believe I can serve my breed best by remaining there. 




It is a known fact that one Beagle exhibitor regularly pays entry fees, but doesn't submit the forms until the last moment or asked to do so by the club. Why is it some people feel they have the right to manipulate the system to their advantage. Not only is this unfair to other exhibitors but also creates extra work for the Show Secretaries, who are all volunteers. What would happen if we all did it ?

This time it has been made public  - we all know who it is . The next time it happens the club should just return the money. My bet is that would be the last time it happened.



Over the past few months the politics of the dog show world has crept up now & then in mails & conversations. What are the politices referred to by the dog showing fraternity? Politics is a dirty word in the show world and while political decisions do occur occasionally in the show ring, many the greenhorn confuses criticism, satire, ridule, & bad sportsmanship with politics.

Boycotting of shows, judging decisions which are based on nepotism, attempts to influence judges through correspondence, quid pro quo appointments and exaggerated advertising are all political manouevres employed, fortunately, by the minority of the dog showing fraternity. The perpetrators will recognise themselves.

Criticism, if it is valid, can be a positive tool, and there is nothing dark & sinister about it at all. Recently a fellow exhibitor commented on the apparent shortness of one of my dogs' ears - I did not consider this a political statement but merely an accurate observation, one, as a breeder & exhibitor of long standing, I always ensure I do not double up on when planning matings. Criticism as always, should be taken at face value - if the cap fits , wear it, if it doesn't , bin it.

Satire & ridicule are long established forms of commentary in the Western world. Freedom of expression, which is relatively new to South Africa, is one of the backbones of democracy - witness Je suis Charlie Hebdo. If you lay yourself open to it you can expect satire & ridicule. The moral of the story being - always consider your actions & words carefully.

Bad sportsmanship in the showing fraternity includes distracting your competition from the outside of the ring, frightening dogs (which has more sinister connotations as well), blocking fellow exhibitors, warning off handlers etc. Again the perpetrators will recognise themselves. One is never too old to learn, in the past week I have learnt on a couple of occasions that younger generation do not believe in honouring their word, due to personal differences, again a form of poor sportsmanship. 

On a more personal note - there are a few people who don't like my blogs. My question to them is - Why are you reading them? After all they are not compulsory or prescribed reading, they are purely my opinion, nothing more , nothing less. If you don't value my opinion why are you reading them, in fact why are you visiting my website at all? My blogs are not unprovoked attacks on people, they are all in direct response to actions, comments, posts etc. by other exhibitors & breeders.

There are also people who wish to befriend me on facebook - I'm sorry I don't "do" facebook as I value my privacy, but I'm always at the end of my email address for any discussion , chat etc. For me writing my blog is cathartic, it enables me to rid myself of the negative feelings I have for the bad aspects of dog showing, that crop up from time to time. Fortunately there is more good than bad in the sport, and one does not have to associate with, and can distance oneself from the bad elements.


Grow up little one

Playground politics or Mafiosa style warnings ? I think the former, but I must have fantastic Beagles that another exhibitor has to resort to them in an attempt to dominate in the show ring. My dear you can win as much as you like - the proof of the pudding is in the breeding & to date there is no contest.

Leon we shall watch with interest to see what happens when you show my Champion again this weekend. Will there be a temper tantrum ? Will you not be invited to the 10th birthday party? Will you no be allowed to play with the toys? Or maybe some heavies with knuckledusters will come & sort you out. Watch out Jenna you'll be the next to receive a threat & I can certainly guess what form it will take.

Grow up little one, if you are an adult behave like one or else return to the kindergarten. We don't need childish behaviour or bully boy tactics in the show ring.Probably next it will be the show websites that will be forbidden to feature my winning dogs ,no doubt with a probable threat of withdrawal of custom.

Grow up little one, you're no longer a big fish in a small pond, but a small one in a big pond. Adults have freedom of choice.



Two little conundrums. What is the correct word to use when nepotism and corruption are combined ? Corrpulentism (oops sorry, Freudian slip) Corrpotism.

What do FIFA & the sport of Dog Showing in South Africa have in common ?  - How much does Mbeki know .


From the sublime to the ridiculous

Yet another species joins us in the Beagle ring - the Shaved Beagle. This past weekend there was a steady stream from the lapas to the Scottie camp at the Terrier ring , queing for their daily toilet. I'm running a competition to find a name for this species - the winning entry so far has got to be "Too Short Back & Sidlers "- the prize a packet of Clicks disposable razors.

Christmas present suggestions for trendy Yuppie Beagles have got to be razors, shaving brush, shaving cream, after shave , cut throats , strops and so forth.

I would suggest that exhibitors refresh their memories on the coat requirements of the breed standard, I quote, "Short, dense & waterproof" - a shaved coat cannot be dense or waterproof - always remembering that the Beagle is a hunting dog, not a toy, and needs the protection of a full coat in the field. If this practice comes from the USA which I suspect it does,  it is no surprise that American Beagles seldom feature at Crufts. A word of advice - don't humiliate our breed, by turning it into a toy or trendy object, making a circus out of the show ring. You may get away with it under judges whose speciality lies elsewhere, but never under true breed specialists, & at the end of the day will only make a fool of yourself & could become the laughing stock of the show circuit. The show ring is for serious breeders, dedicated to the breed,  the betterment thereof & the maintenance of the standard, not for egotitistical exhibitors trying to win at all costs.

A warning note was sounded by one of the panel of international judges this weekend with the following comment, amongst other things, on the Beagles "You are losing type "  a fact some of us are aware of & deeply concerned with, yet others are intent  on continuing down this destructive path. In the long run it will be the breeders that breed to the breed standard that will survive, the others will fall by the wayside.


No fool like an old fool 

After more than thirty years as an exhibitor/breeder and rapidly approaching seventy ( or so it feels ) I thought I knew what was expected of a judge i.e. to  judge to the breed standard.  But no, it appears under the new system you have a choice, it appears you can choose to judge to the breed standard (or maybe that is no longer a requirement) or you can judge to type or you can judge on movement. Further if you judge on movement you apparently have a further choice of judging  to or rewarding poor movement if you so wish, or you can choose correct movement. Silly old me to think that that it was a breed standard package, albeit with movement being a very important part of the package you had to take into account - with the desired reach & drive being more correct than moving sideways round the ring, wobbly hocks, crossing over behind or toeing in in front. As I said - silly old me - it must be the onset of Alzheimers.

For the second time I have had a very promising young puppy badly frightened by a ring table collapsing underneath him. I beg the question whose responsibility is it to ensure that the table is correctly set up - the judge or the steward - it cannot be the exhibitor. I think it is the judge, I may be wrong,  but whichever of the two I feel it is very unfair that the dog is penalised for fear, caused by the negligence of the judge or steward. Once an accident like this  has happened it cannot be said that the exhibits have been judged on a level playing field and there should be some recompense to the injured party.

This past weekend was an interesting experience all round - I like the idea of a breeders challenge - but oh dear what a motley crew (handlers that is)  the entrants presented for the international judge to assess. At Crufts for instance, the dogs are matching in type & colour and the handlers dressed alike colour wise and style, and they make quite a strong visual statement. Surely we can do better next time. 

13/05/2015  - Extraordinary scholarship to be rewarded

Well I'm sure that the University of Pretoria will soon be awarding Mr Roberts, a printer by trade I believe, an honourary doctorate in veterinary science for his superior knowledge & understanding of genetic diseases, which contradicts the advice of the MRCVS (Member of Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons for those who don't know the acronym) Health Advisor to the Kennel Club , London who has made a study of genetic issues pertaining to Beagles. I am equally sure they won't be awarding him even matric exemption for English grammmar, spelling and understanding of the  English language.

I know whose advice I value & it isn't Mr Roberts'. Thank goodness he's not my mentor as I too might be barking up the wrong tree. - just as Samantha Goldberg, MRCVS, warned would happen - "We run the risk of destroying the breed if we eliminate all carriers at the outset of testing " This advice is particularly relevant in a country such as ours, which has a minute gene pool. These genetic issues occur world wide & it does not necessarily help to import unless the stock imported is tested clear or is the progeny of tested clear stock. Other than those already on the data base, to date we have only been informed of two such imported Beagles, out of a total of about 15 to 20 Beagles which have been subsequently imported. We only have a handful South African bred Beagles on the data base, overall four breeders only have bothered to submit results/or test, & only one of these is an accredited breeder.

As to the other issues implied - the saying goes  "If the cap fits wear it, if not bin it - I have binned it - on these and other accusations made in the past - we are all well aware of what motivates them.