Horse and dog show associations require judges to excuse or disqualify for presentation cheating but only UKC (United Kennel Club) really tried to enforce the rules.




Tam Cordingley, CSI Instructor, SAAB Member


What do AKC (American Kennel Club) and AQHA (American Quarter Horse Association) rules have in common?

  1. Both begin with the letter A

  2. Both are animal registration organizations

  3. Both sanction shows

  4. Both give judge's directives that DON'T MEAN A THING!

Some years ago AQHA told its judges to penalize the extremely and artificially low head carriage in pleasure horses. The old "more is better" attitude had performed its usual magic and from the head carriage of a relaxed pleasure mount, there evolved what is known as peanut rollers.


Various unpleasant, inhumane devices and trainers had the horse's head almost on the ground. This supposedly was to demonstrate a safe and easy pleasure mount. In reality, it makes the rider feel like they are perched on a precipice, having no neck and head in front!


Rules work (sometimes) for dog shows or horse showsThe AQHA sent a directive of NO MORE. These horses should remain unplaced and could be excused from the ring. A collective sigh of relief went up from the using-horse people.


Ten years later judges are still putting up peanut rollers. It is quite an experience to attend a Quarter Horse show. All the directive did was stop the people who were agitating for reform from voicing their opinion for a while. It also got AQHA off the hook, i.e.: We told them to quit and they didn't.


Beginning to sound familiar?


At about the same time frame, AKC announced with great fanfare, that they had directed judges to disqualify anyone using foreign substances in the coat. This has apparently taken some considerable time to implement as there is blatant chalking, spraying, and coloring at every show I've ever attended. Recently I was a spectator at a show and was seated next to a judge from England. She was most interested in watching a Boston being touched up with a marking pen at ringside. This was within easy view of the judge, steward, and the AKC rep.


If AKC really wants it stopped it is not too hard--- throw out anyone using such stuff. Right now. Unless the reps are blind, deaf, and otherwise impaired they know stuff is being used on the dog's coats. If the judge is worthy of the name, they know too. Dismiss the offenders. Right now. If the rep sees a judge place a dog with a foreign substance in the coat, suspend the judge's license for three months. Right now.


It's not much different from training dogs, one command, immediate enforcement, every time. It works with dogs. Surely people can be trained?


That brings us to the UKC (United Kennel Club). The dogs at UKC shows are clean, brushed, and have no coloring, chalk, or spray. Why? Because UKC won't tolerate it. If it is found in the ring, bingo, excused from the ring. Now then, wasn't that easy? They also won't tolerate bait or grooming in the ring. What a refreshing idea, actually judging dogs.


UKC has a lot of good ideas. Every dog registered with UKC gets a 3-generation pedigree - free. They also have a pretty neat thing; the PAD (pups and degrees) pedigree. This contains the number of offspring produced by every dog in the pedigree and titles earned by those offspring. How would that puppy mill pedigree differ from our carefully bred show/performance pedigree?  A lot!


UKC pioneered DNA profiling.  AKC came reluctantly along later.


For those interested in UKC but concerned about incurring the wrath of AKC, there's this bit of information. AKC tried to stop judges from judging UKC shows.  It didn't work.  And there are many dogs registered in both registries. Both registries offer various types of working, hunting, agility, and obedience trials as well as conformation shows.


The biggest problem I can see with UKC is that there are too few all breed shows. UKC grew under the leadership of Fred Miller and I'm sure we'll see more growth and change under the management of Wayne Cavanaugh and Mark Threlfell.


So here's the point.  Rules work but only when they mean something and only when they are enforced. UKC rules work. AKC could correct violations of its rules.


Almost a perfect article -  one correction - UKC DOES permit bait.  It is at the judge's discretion.  Perhaps the author meant to pen that UKC does not permit grooming in the ring along with no artificial substances. I am forever hopeful that the integrity of the UKC will always enforce these rules for the benefit of the breeds.  Thanks to Tam Cordingley for a very good, straight from the hip article.  - Julie Borst Reed EST 1998 © 20071611



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AKC GROOMING RULES IGNORED: AKC exhibitors faking color and using foreign substances.

AKC GROOMING RULE VIOLATIONS: Is the AKC rule on foreign substances selectively enforced?


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