The new show and exhibition season has been underway for the past three months now, and the first national committee shows are set to take place in the coming weeks. These are where the preliminary decisions are made for our all-important exhibition – the Bundessiegerschau.
The season kicked off with various different local committee shows, and it was at these shows that we noticed a rise in a phenomenon that has been troubling us for years – the unfortunate turn of events that, of the 16 classes on offer at an exhibition, the individual rings contain barely any dogs. In fact, classes containing only one or two dogs are becoming increasingly common, and the following scenario is now an all too familiar sight: Plenty of dogs are registered in the individual classes, and the owners or handlers of the registered dogs are present at the event. Even to people on the outside, it’s hard to miss the fact that the individual exhibitors are all in contact with one another, which ultimately leads to a situation in which more than just the occasional dog is intentionally withdrawn to avoid creating a second or other seemingly inferior place. And let’s not even think about what kind of prior arrangements are made over the phone. We have already made it quite clear on several occasions that agreements made with the presiding judge in the run-up to an event are in no way compatible with the code of ethics for SV breed judges.
This type of behavior, displayed primarily by those we call ‘insiders’, seriously calls into question the competitive spirit of our shows, which are so important for the society.
In light of this development, we really should rethink our fundamental attitude towards the competition within the general framework of our shows. Those interested in the subject of breeding itself are keen to ensure that competitions are always fair and transparent. In the meantime, this endless tactical maneuvering is only going to bring the entire system crashing down. The way we see it, exhibitors are obliged to present their dogs not only to the judge, but also to an interested audience. After all, anyone coming to a show is invariably interested in our beloved German Shepherds. Whether they are potential puppy buyers, fellow breeders, travelling supporters, or even simply inquisitive – they all pay their entrance fee and want to lean more about our breed and how they are bred. This phenomenon applies not only to the spectators, but also ultimately to the exhibitors and organizers themselves. In the case of small classes, the presiding judges, exhibitors, and spectators aren’t able to differentiate between the weightings of individual characteristics.
The consequences of all of this include a lack of comparative possibilities regarding the quality of the dog, a lack of differentiation, and ultimately a lack of transparency and acceptance in terms of the placings at the Sieger Show. It’s just like they say in any other competition: “Sport isn’t sport without fair play.” Unfortunately, however, the nature of shows has no equivalent to the selection policies found in IPO sport, where tough, comprehensible qualification mechanisms are in place to ensure the top accolades.
So, in a bid to put an end to excessive tactics, we will be introducing “seasonal interim statistics” for our shows over the next few weeks. In other words: By no later than the Sieger Show, every class will be issued with its own ranking within a certain time frame. The points system will be as straightforward as possible.
1. You receive one point (+1) for every individual dog you beat at an event.
2. Each judge’s decision is only counted once in the evaluation.
3. The results of the Sieger Show are not included.
4. National committee shows count in the same way as local committee shows.
5. To increase the activities in the VCI and/or VDH shows, the results from these shows are counted twice.
6. Results from youth events are also counted twice.
Depending on any necessary changes, the regulations will be amended over the course of the next few years. The results will be updated and published with the breed show results on the SV website, and the plan is to showcase and award prizes to the best – and most hardworking – dogs at the end of the year. Of course, it goes without saying that this ranking list will have no bearing on any subsequent placings. Nevertheless, given that the top dogs are all of extremely high quality, it can be assumed that the presiding judges will be guided by the variety of the results at the very least.
This issue has already been discussed with the judges in question. We very much hope that this approach will breathe new life into future shows. The results should become more transparent and any suggestions of arbitrariness and randomness will be invalidated.
Best wishes, Prof. Dr. Heinrich Meßler, Lothar Quoll, SV President Society Breeding Director