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Don't boycott the people who wage our fight ... support them !!!

We learn that there is some animosity on social media about the fact that the IFR World Show 2019 will be organized by the Chinese Rottweiler Club, a  decision that was taken unanimously by the Meeting of Delegates dd. 2017.

Like all dog lovers, we are aware of the gruesomeness of the photo’s and video’s that flood our western social media, showing dogs being horribly abused.  They show a reality that is so horrible that it overshadows all considerations of accepting this as a mere cultural fact.   

However, this cannot and may not motivate a call for a boycott of the IFR-show in China !   Those that do call for a boycott of the show, will in fact obtain the opposite result.

The feeling of horror when seeing those images is not proper for us Westerners but is shared by all dog lovers in China !    We may not judge the large majority by the acts of a small minority !  All dog amateurs I met in China openly share our feeling of horror and all assured me that these practices are in fact very rare, certainly  not common but are to be attributed to few individuals only !   Some of the words I heard used for those individuals are very strong and not suited for publication … .  

In China, just like in every other Asian country where I have judged (Indonesia and Malaysia), I have never witnessed even the slightest sign of abuse or maltreatment of a dog !    To the contrary, each and every dog that was ever shown to me in these countries – not just on shows but also all dogs of all sorts of breeds that I saw being walked in the street or in other words in daily life -  was well fed, well taken care off and clearly well loved !    I saw no difference in their treatment with the way we treat our dogs.    In fact I saw some of them sleep in the car in the arms of their owners/handlers and the “Walt-Disney syndrome” that has “contaminated” our western canine world (= treating the dog as it were a human, which I personally will not support) has clearly reached these countries too … !   

But it is true, a minority in China does not respect dogs but abuses them.     These must be boycotted and put to criticism, not those that working hard - in China, not on Western Facebook – to breed and keep the dog as a valuable companion and are doing their best to demonstrate this to the whole world, including the whole of China.

We must exactly now support the Chinese Rottweiler club that is doing a great job for the breed and possibly even more than many other clubs do !    

The Rottweiler’s history in China is not a long one and is based on imported dogs. 

While I openly question if the western world succeeds in keeping the Rottweiler as a breed with the physical and mental characteristics of the working dog, the question may be even more acute in countries far away from the breed’s origin, where the breed was never put to use, where it’s genepool is not based on a historic natural selection and where the risk is high that the breed not only evolves towards what it was never meant to be, but has even started as one : a breed of show-dogs or pets.

This is in fact exactly the reason why the IFR was founded : as the breed spread and conquered the world and was now being kept and bred in very diverse cultures, the need arose to ensure that the Rottweiler would always be defined, thus kept and bred, in the same manner.  There is only one Rottweiler and wherever he lives and he should always be defined with the characteristics of the working dog.

Well let me assure you that the Chinese Rottweiler club is doing its utmost best to assure that the dog is being bred and kept as a healthy working breed, to show this to the world and to make everybody aware of this.

The club is introducing health tests like for example HD and ED whereas other countries, even IFR-Member clubs, still do not.   Even at this moment I am in communication with the Chinese club about judges / veterinaries who can educate about these examinations.

The club actually applauds when judges educate by explaining loudly to handlers and public but also when they judge strictly and penalize unwanted extremities.   It is aware of the unwanted nature of such traits and wants them criticized, not rewarded.

It is introducing the BH as a test of social behaviour and has an eye for the education of its judges.   I have personally been asked to assist in this.

The last time I judged in China, I was asked to submit all dogs in working class (10 imported dogs with IPO-titles) to a character test, before the show started and for all to see.  This not just to show the public that the Rottweiler is a utility breed but also to unmask all those dogs that were sold to China with IPO-certificates while most of these dogs have never even seen a working field !    By doing this, the club consciously aims at valuable dogs entering the breeding program and excluding frauds and faulty genetics.

I thank and I congratulate the CKURK and especially its president for all its courageous hard work, including measures  that on the short term may lead to a reduced membership but will in the end benefit the breed !  

So instead of spouting critique and demanding to boycott and isolate the Chinese club, we should all support the club, including it's organization of the World Show that is after all the ultimate forum where to show that the dog is a true and valuable companion in our daily life.    

It's efforts like this that will make the broad public aware of the dog's rightful place in society and will make it abhor and reject all those that treat it like an object !

The real work is to be done in China itself.   

Emotionally calling out on Facebook, however rightleous that is (!), about dog abuse in China will not change the situation and most certainly not a wrongly call to boycott the work of the people who are right now in China sticking their neck out to honor the dog and who are waging the real fight !     Not your posts on Facebook but their hard work will lead to an undisputed acceptance and enforcement of the dog's place and rights in human society and if not yet existing to legislation that prohibits all cruelty to dogs !

Be honest : animal abuse exists in my country and it exists in yours.    It can only be fought if the general public opinion does not accept it.

So please, instead of asking for a boycott of the work of the people who are doing their utmost best to ensure that dogs are being bred and kept as healthy dogs, companions with a correct conformation and mentality and who want to show the dog like that to the world and specifically the whole of China, I urge you all to publicly support them and to show and shout that the whole world stands behind and with them … against those dog abusers.   The latter must be isolated and boycotted, not those that want to educate about the dog’s rightful place in society.

Dirk Vandecasteele

IFR-President.