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dog-showing centre on the judge. He is the man for whose single opinion dogs are brought hundreds of miles, in the hope that they may catch his eye. Wherefore he looms large in the exhibitor's, and we shall have the latter saying a good deal about him a few pages on. I suppose there is no more thankless task in the world than judging dogs at a show; it is purely a pronouncement of personal opinion, and the correct or incorrect view taken by the judge is incapable of being confirmed by practical demonstration. The decisions of the judge are reviewed by the dog-press, and I gather that a great many people are guided by the critiques ; certain it is that a commendation in the dog-papers is highly valued, and liberally quoted on occasions, which makes it clear that the canine critic is another factor in moulding the destinies and career of a dog, and to that extent its master. In my own experience of a breed in which I knew most of the leading dogs, I must confess that, in the matter of press criticisms, I have chiefly been impressed by the genius of the reporter or compositor for mangling names, so that it really did not matter much what was said about dogs to whom the names were inapplicable. But a considerable number of my contributors appear to study press reports of shows closely and carefully, and these have some objections to urge against press verdicts. In fact, the judgment of the press is sometimes more venerated or dreaded than the judgment of the judge, and appears to come within the same focus for criticism.
Lastly come the arrangements of the show—the rules and regulations, and the method of carrying them out. From the time you take your dog into a show to the hour when you are permitted to withdraw it, the authorities and not yourself are masters of your exhibit. Hence the questions arise, Do the authorities, ordinarily, do all that is reasonable for the welfare of the dog and trouble themselves about the comfort of the exhibitor, who, where he is unsuccessful, is an ill-requited patron of the showman? These are points on which many people have much to say.
In these paragraphs of elementary information I may explain that there is a great deal of paraphernalia necessary for a dog show in the shape of the “ benches,” which are supplied by certain well-known firms in the dog-world, generally purveyors of dogs' food, and consist of rows of wooden “ benches” or kennels, divided off by wire partitions, so as to make a series of cages with the fronts open. These benches are used again and again at different shows, and it is popularly supposed that the germs of distemper—that scourge which decimates and sometimes annihilates kennels—linger in them. That nearly every dog show spells the deathwarrant of many valuable dogs is, alas, too true. I have before me a letter from a large exhibitor informing me that he lost six dogs from distemper contracted at a recent leading show, whose value I can personally affirm was not less than £200. Is the chance of such a holocaust avoidable? Cannot science come to the assistance of the dog? Are the veterinary arrangements practical, or only theoretical? In my own experience I have known a dog suffering from distemper to be exhibited at a "three-days' show,"—which is equivalent to a leading show,—and know that it caused the death from distemper of four others benched in its vicinity. You may say an objection ought to have been lodged there and then ; but you have the owner to deal with, who may declare “the dog is always like that,” or “it's frightened at its surroundings," or "it has caught a cold in this beastly, draughty place,” and reminds you it has passed the vet. More
over, the mischief is done : it was done when the dog "passed the vet.” On the other hand, no vet in the world can analyse a dog, itself quite well, that has come from a kennel infected with distemper, and I have a suspicion this is chiefly the way distemper germs creep into shows. With regard to the infection supposed to lurk in the benches themselves, one of the leading show managers told me personally that, with a view of trying to avoid a repetition of the disasters following on one of his shows, he had the whole "plant" scalded and scoured with boiling water and disinfectants, and then shut up in a large warehouse and fumigated for a fortnight with the most potent fumes that expert chemical advice could suggest. And yet the mortality from distemper after his next show was one of the worst in his experience. This discouraging side-light of dogshowing is naturally not proclaimed from the house-tops, but happy the exhibitor who cannot bear testimony to its occurrence from personal experience, and a thousand times blessed the savant who will discover and bring within the means of all an inoculation virus against distemper.
The hours during which a dog show is open are unreasonably long. They extend from 10 o'clock in the morning to 9, and sometimes 10 o'clock at night. At some of the shows dogs may be removed at 4 o'clock on payment of a fine of 5s., and at 7 o'clock on payment of 2s. 6d.-a method of raising revenue that can hardly be commended. At the Kennel Club's Show dogs can be removed at eight every evening without payment, but in all cases a deposit of £i has to be lodged as security for the return of the dog the next morning. The rule is probably necessary, but it is irritating. The comfort of the exhibitor is even less considered than that of the dog ; for him no chairs or benches are provided, and the commissariat arrangements are seldom up to the modern standard of catering. Patient and long-suffering are the actual units who provide the show, and exasperating the muddle at some of the minor shows in the vicinity of the Secretary's office. Nor can it be truthfully said that the dogs themselves enjoy anything in the nature of a “ treat” so far as their food is concerned, whilst I have known water as hard to find as in a desert. But these may be captious criticisms: I merely mention them as germane to my elementary description.
The actual judging of the dogs takes place in a socalled “ring," for which the appropriate epithet of "hole in the corner” is sometimes justifiable. Each judge is attended by two ring-stewards, whose duties are onerous ; they marshal the dogs, keep a check on the awards, and generally "police” their particular locality. Being men vested with authority, they come in for criticism from some of my contributors. To which criticisms I will now pass.
One word before recapitulating them. It is not my intention to name my contributors in this section. I have tried throughout this book, whilst giving full scope to expressions of personal technical opinion, to avoid the personal in objective—perhaps not so easy a task as it appears on the surface. Were I to give the names of the critics and fault-finders I am now about to quote I should certainly add considerable authority to most of the criticisms; on the other hand, by letting these critics speak anonymously, their objections and suggestions can be judged on their own merits, which I am perfectly sure they all desire, and not by the light of their individuality. Moreover, here and there comes a suggestion which might give pain or create prejudice were an authority attached
to it; it cannot do so where the expression of opinion is impersonal. · The object of this chapter is to let those whom I have designated the “Masters of the Dog” see themselves as others see them, and to ventilate public opinion on matters in which the dogpublic is interested. The destinies of the twentieth century dog have been and are intimately bound up in the legislation that controls and the exhibition that exploits it; since we have criticised the dog, it is not out of place to criticise its masters, for they derive their power and influence from the dog. It may be contended that such a disquisition is outside the sphere of this book : from that view I beg to differ. The vast volume of correspondence I have received on the topics I am now about to touch on satisfies me they are of great interest, and, in some cases, topics which could not be discussed except in a neutral publication of this sort, absolutely free from all influences that might be able to stifle discussion. The conditions which govern the dog-world are of vital importance to the exhibitor and owner. He supports the masters of the dog, who are dealt with in this chapter, and I am very glad to be able to give him an opportunity of expressing his opinion, from a general point of view, on affairs in general.
THE KENNEL CLUB This institution naturally comes in for a great deal of comment, and I select the two following contributions as sounding the bottom and top notes of the scale of commendation :
I think dog - legislation should be enacted by a popularlyelected body, although, but for a tendency to over-legislate, the Kennel Club could hardly be improved upon.