AKC Event Operations July 2015 Changes

Conformation exhibitors, the following changes have been published by AKC Event Operations, July 2015.

  • National Owner Handler series changes to ribbon colors and BIS judges eligibilty requirements.
  • Apprentice Judge Training
  • Conformation Judges Books
  • 4-6 Month Beginner Puppy Competition Professional Handler Definition
  • Practice Rings at Conformation Events

Event OperationsEvent Operations

Event Operation is committed to providing clubs and exhibitors regular communication regarding new, changed, and clarified rules, regulations, policies, and procedures. Several items at the July 2015 Board meeting were approved that have an impact on clubs and we wanted to take this opportunity to notify and explain them to you.

AKC National Owner-Handled Series updates (effective October 8, 2015)

Ribbon Colors
In order to bring consistency to this program, the following required ribbon colors have been adopted for NOHS events:
NOHS Best of Breed/Variety – Maroon
NOHS Group 1 – Neon Pink
NOHS Group 2 – Neon Green
NOHS Group 3 – Teal
NOHS Group 4 – Cream
NOHS Best in Show – Turquoise
NOHS Reserve Best in Show – Light Green

Judges Guidelines

A single judge should not be used to do all the NOHS Groups & Best in Show
A judge should not be assigned the NOHS Group prior to judging that same group for the all-breed show.

Limited Status Junior Judges Eligible to Judge Group Shows (effective October 1, 2015)
Junior Showmanship Judges with Limited Status that are approved to judge at single breed specialties for every breed in a group will now be eligible to judge Junior Showmanship classes at a Group Show of those breeds.

Junior Showmanship Master Class Criteria (effective October 7, 2015)
The eligibility criteria for the Masters Class will be earning 10 Best Junior Handler awards with competition. The calendar for this class remains consistent with the eligibility dates for the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship. As a reminder, all clubs offering Junior Showmanship competition must offer the Master Class.

Apprentice Judge Training
The Board of Directors at its June 2015 meeting adopted a new Conformation Judging Approval Process to be effective September 1, 2015. Included in the Board’s new policy is the ability for prospective breed judges to gain education by completing Apprentice Training experiences in that breed. Apprentice Trainings involve the prospective breed judge observing the judging from inside of the ring. The Mentor and Apprentice may discretely discuss the entry during the judging.

Prospective judges who wish to complete Apprentice Training experiences are required to schedule and receive consent from the Show Chairman and Mentor Judge prior to the opening of the show. There are additional requirements before an experience may be completed or who may serve as a mentor judge which are not the responsibility of the Chair to confirm have been met. AKC Judging Operations will confirm all requirements have been met before educational credit is assigned for a completed experience. No Apprentice Trainings may be scheduled prior to September 1, 2015.

Conformation Judges Books (effective January 1, 2016)
In order to reduce confusion regarding the purpose of check boxes for judges and exhibitors, the following changes have been made to the Conformation Judges’ Book format:

Remove the check box for withholding Winners & Reserve
Remove the check box next to Best of Breed and Best of Opposite Sex
Change the wording of Grand Championship points to: If withholding Grand Championship points from Best of Breed or Best of Opposite Sex please note GCH points withheld by the appropriate number.

4-6 Month Beginner Puppy Competition Professional Handler Definition (effective October 1, 2015)
In order to make the definition of professional handler consistent with the AKC NOHS definition the following change was approved:

Professional handlers are defined as any person who belongs or has belonged to a professional handlers’ organization, distributed rate cards, or otherwise advertised or represented themselves as handling dogs for pay within the last five years. Dogs may not be exhibited by current assistants and household members of a professional handler.

4-6 Month Beginner Puppy Competition Show Report (reminder)
We have situations where a Report of Open Show or 4-6 Month Beginner Puppy form is not submitted when there are no entries for the competition. This causes a delay in results processing as we have to contact the club to determine the status of the report. When a club schedules a 4-6 Month Beginner Puppy competition, a Report of Open Show or 4-6 Month Beginner Puppy form must be submitted as part of results processing even when there were no entries in the competition.

Practice Rings at Conformation Events
Clubs are encouraged to set-up show-and-go practice rings at their events. There are a number of benefits to this including providing stress-free mentoring to interested new exhibitors and allowing new exhibitors and younger dogs the opportunity to have a positive experience at an event. You can read an article written by AKC Executive Field Representative Sandra D’Andrea on the benefits of offering practice rings at an event here.

Pyometra – Understanding the Danger and the Frequency

Last month we published an article To Spay or Neuter? Health Questions and New Procedures. In response to this article two readers offered comments regarding the danger of the development of pyometra in an intact bitch. So, to start I want to thank both, Mary A. McLoughlin DVM, MS, Diplomate ACVS and Dr. Susan Adams-Conley, DVM, President Bellingham Animal Hospital, P.C. for sharing their concerns. Their comments prompted me to do a bit more searching so I could share more information with you about pyometra, a fatal infection that every owner of an intact female should be very aware of and most importantly know how to respond if suspected.

To understand the frequency at which pyometra occurs I found a source of statistical material pulled from a Swedish pet insurance data base. I found this material especially telling as the majority of the dogs in Sweden are intact which meant there was a very large population of bitches included in the data. “Patty Olson, DVM, Ph.D.  “In Sweden, 93 percent of dogs are intact,” she says. “They don’t neuter.”

The data indicated that breed and age are a factor in the occurrence of pyometra with some breeds being more prone to the infection while others were less so. On the plus side for Gordon Setters owners, we were not among the top ten breeds most prone to pyometra, however our breed is still at risk like all other breeds, so don’t let that lull you into complacency. Using an overall crude average a bitch under 10 years old has approximately a 2% chance of developing the infection in any 12 month period of her life and the data further shows that by the age of ten somewhere between  23% – 24% of surviving bitches will have developed pyometra. Simple math – your intact bitch has about a 1 in 4 chance of developing pyometra by age 10.

For those of us who show and breed our Gordon Setters, this means that each and every year of their life we face a 2% chance of our bitch developing pyometra, or we could choose to spay her ending that risk along with her breeding potential and show career. There are no easy choices here for breeders or dog show enthusiasts. One thing is for certain though, if we own intact bitches we owe it to them to know the signs and symptoms of the infection and we need to be prepared to handle it as an emergency.

What is Pyometra?

  • Pyometra is an infection in the uterus.
  • .The cervix, gateway to the uterus, remains tightly closed except during estrus when it relaxes to allow sperm to enter the uterus which also means that bacteria that are normally found in the vagina may also enter the uterus.
  • Pyometra may occur in any intact young to middle-aged bitch but is most common in older females.
  • Pyometra usually occurs two to eight weeks after the last estrus.
  • Open pyometra means that the cervix remained open. Symptoms may include pus draining from the uterus out through the vagina. You may find pus or an abnormal discharge on the skin or hair under the tail, or possibly on bedding and furniture Fever, lethargy, anorexia, and depression may be present.
  • Closed pyometra means just that, the cervix is closed and so the pus that forms in the uterus cannot drain. It collects in the uterus ultimately causing the abdomen to distend. The bacteria release toxins that are absorbed into the bloodstream. Bitches with closed pyometra become severely ill very rapidly. They may refuse food, may be very listless and depressed and might also suffer from vomiting or diarrhea.
  • Toxins may affect the kidney’s ability to retain fluid causing increased urine production as well as increased water consumption in both open and closed-cervix pyometra.
  • The preferred treatment is to surgically remove the infected uterus and ovaries – spay.
  • A medical treatment for pyometra may be an option in some cases. Do be aware that the success rate is variable, carries considerable risk, and potential complications. Prostaglandins may be used to lower the blood level of progesterone, relax and open the cervix, and cause the uterus to contract and expel the bacteria and pus. This treatment is not always successful and as mentioned carries other risks so weigh this option very carefully with your veterinarian.
  • If the bitch with pyometra does not obtain immediate medical treatment the toxic effects of bacteria can be fatal. In a closed pyometra the uterus could rupture, spilling the infection into the abdominal cavity which may also be fatal.
Photo by Susan Roy Nelson
Photo by Susan Roy Nelson

And, after all this has been said I am still thinking that the spay procedure that saves the ovaries and removes the uterus sounds like a very promising option? Unfortunately, it appears that only three clinics in the U.S. perform this type of spay. Most importantly, talk to your veterinarians people, then make informed decisions for the Gordon Setter girls in your life.

Reference Links – click to read the full article.

Breed risk of pyometra in insured dogs in Sweden. – PubMed – NCBI.

Breed variations in the occurrence of pyometra and mammary tumours in Swedish dogs

Photos by Susan Roy Nelson
Sally Gift, Mesa AZ


Barn Hunt Fun for Gordon Setters

Today’s Guest Blogger – Ellen Smith from Columbus OH may sometimes have difficulty convincing folks that her red Gordon Setter is in fact a Gordon and not an Irish, but she and Jura had absolutely no trouble convincing judges to award him the three Qualifying scores he needed to become the first Gordon Setter to earn a Barn Hunt title! Thank you so very much for sharing your story with us Ellen!

Gordon doing barn huntEllen Smith – Columbus OH

Last year I took my Gordon Setter and my mixed breed rescue dog to try out the new sport of Barn Hunt.  The sport was created by founder Robin Nuttall who is quoted as saying “we have made Barn Hunt fun, challenging, a great breed instinct test for working terriers, and a just plain fun time for anybody else who wants to try it. I hope you join us on our journey.

Much more information about the sport will be found on the website Barn Hunt Association LLC .  In order to compete to earn titles you must first register on the website to obtain a Barn Hunt registration number before entering any trials.

The dogs and I did some practice sessions at our dog club to familiarize them with the straw course, tunnels and rats. Most trials are not actually done in a barn. There are five levels of competition and with each level the course and the `requirements become progressively harder.

The Instinct level gives the dog a chance to check out the ring and find a rat. You can enter Instinct and Novice at the same trial so it’s a good warm up. The dog must run naked (no collar) in the Instinct class and the ring is enclosed so dogs can’t escape and only one dog is in there at a time. The rats are in heavy-duty PVC tubes so the dogs can’t injure them but can still smell them. There will be a judge and rat wrangler in the ring.

In Novice the dog has two minutes to find a rat tube, run through a tunnel and climb onto a straw bale. There are also empty tubes and rat bedding/dropping tubes hidden to fool the dogs. The tubes maybe hidden up high or low and after every five dogs the tubes are hidden in new spots. You and your dog are held in a staging area out of site of the ring with four other handlers and their dogs so the handlers can’t see where the tubes are placed.

Exhibitors are called from the staging area one at time to go to the ring for your turn to compete. When you enter the ring there is a marked area called a start box where you stand with your dog. When the Judge says GO you remove the collar and leash and send your dog on his hunt. Each dog has their own way of indicating when they have found a rat, so doing practice sessions before you compete will help you know how your dog indicates a find. For example I have one dog that points and one that claws at the straw when they’ve found a rat. When you see that your dog is indicating a find you must say RAT in order for the judge to give the final nod as to whether the find is a yes or no. If it’s an empty tube or bedding then it’s “No” and “Thank you for your entry fee, you didn’t qualify but we sure had fun”.

After your dog completes the three qualifying hunts in Novice he earns his RATN title and can move on to the next level which is Open where they must find two rats in 2 min. 30 seconds to earn RATO. In Senior there are four rats hidden and the dog has 3 min. 30 seconds to find them (RATS), and finally in Master the dog has 4 min. 30 seconds but you won’t know how many rats are hidden (RATM). There may be up to five of them but the judge decides how many and it’s up to the handler to know when his dog has found them all.

The Barn Hunt website (you can click this link to go directly there) where it lists all the trial dates, rules, statistics, registration forms and when you complete a title you can print your Title Certificate right from their site. Currently there are five Gordon Setters who’ve earned Instinct titles, four with Novice titles and one with an Open title.

It is so much fun for my dogs and an easier sport for me since I don’t have to run with them like in agility or hunting. Dogs of any breed, mix or size can compete. I hope all our Gordon friends get to try it out.

Ellen Smith, Columbus OH