This section is from the book "Toy Dogs And Their Ancestors", by Neville Lytton. Also available from Amazon: Toy Dogs And Their Ancestors: Including The History And Management Of Toy Spaniels, Pekingese, Japanese, And Pomeranians.
I have known cases where the chief witnesses refused at the last moment to give the evidence promised, and on the day of the hearing were actually found sitting in the opposite camp, waiting to give evidence on the other side! If the attacking party is strong enough it does not care, but this system entirely prevents any poor or uninfluential exhibitor ever going to the Kennel Club for redress. The deposit of £2 is also prohibitive for the poorer fanciers. I have sometimes asked poorer people why they did not expose frauds of which they had every proof, but they always said " What is the use of going to the Kennel Club, I should be done for in shows afterwards?" This will always exist unless the Kennel Club will take the prosecution into its own hands by means of a sort of public prosecutor.
The removal of the rule, fining exhibitors for clerical errors, was a godsend to the poorer exhibitors on whom the tax fell hardest. Many exhibitors are not literary geniuses, the registration and transfer forms are more or less of a Chinese puzzle to them, and the rules pure Sanscrit conundrums. With the best will in the world to conform to the regulations, clerical errors fell in showers from their pens and corresponding showers of half-crowns poured in the Kennel Club coffers. They could not be expected to understand the complicated language, for instance, of the rules for entering in Limit classes. It requires a good deal of head to discover that as the working of certain classes may change at every show, a dog may be eligible at one show and ineligible at another, and that some wins count and some don't. The Kennel Club has generously removed this grievance, and I am sure that I am voicing the thanks of all fanciers when I congratulate them on this.
The less the Kennel Club harasses exhibitors by minor regulations about a multiplicity of small matters that are of comparatively little importance the more influence it will get. The general exhibiting public, while it rather respects the vigorous impaling of a rogue, yet bitterly resents the pin-pricks of every-day legislation; the more of these there are the more restive it becomes.
One does not expect to hear much praise of the Lord Chief Justice or of the Penal Code from professional cracksmen, and one hears a great deal of abuse of the Kennel Club from interested or irresponsible people. I even saw an indignant article in an influential society newspaper blaming the Kennel Club for supporting, if not originating, the very abuses which it spends its existence in endeavouring to stamp out The letter was written by a gentleman whose wife had lately taken up exhibiting and met with three months' reverses ! On this lifetime of experience he presumed to arraign and condemn the Kennel Club with a self-confidence that was really touching in its simplicity.
I have myself brought two complaints before the Kennel Club under Rule XVII. I won one and lost the other, but in both I felt full confidence in the integrity of the committee who judged them - even when one ended in a personal reprimand from the chairman for rushing in where angels would have feared to tread!
The Kennel Club has repeatedly shown that it has no respect of persons and will act against its own interests in disqualifying rich and powerful exhibitors as well as ordinary folk, though in doing this it incurs not only the wrath of the suspended individual and his powerful friends, but it also raises the disapproval or regret of every show secretary owing to the numbers of entries, cups, and guarantees which are thereby lost and which keep the shows alive. The firm and uncompromising attitude the gentlemen of the Kennel Club have always maintained in these matters, in spite of every inducement to the contrary, has consolidated their power and should command the gratitude and increase the confidence of the show public of which they are the governing body.
In its decisions the Kennel Club proves that it is no weak time-serving institution, but a fearless and independent body of honourable gentlemen whom neither threats nor interest can influence. As such it deserves our respect and support.
Instead of having such innumerable shows all over the country, I think the public should insist on those societies, which are allowed to hold shows, offering better prize money. The prize money is derisory and in most cases not enough to cover expenses, and a fourth prize would be a welcome innovation. The people who need encouragement are not the so-called "lady" dealers, who go from show to show with their ill-gotten dogs, but the small breeders who breed these champions and get very poorly paid for them. It is a common thing for one of these ladies to go to a breeder, when he is hard up, and squeeze his dog from him with the understanding that it is to be registered as bred by the lady. She will not buy on any other terms, and sooner or later poverty drives him to accept the bargain. This is a crying injustice. Very often there is a further stipulation as to the dog being registered with the purchaser's stud dog as its sire, which is a most complicated and abominable fraud, involving the falsification of pedigree and the misleading of serious breeders. How often, when I have been buying a good dog, have I been asked to allow the seller the credit of being the breeder.
On my assurance that I should not dream of taking honours which did not belong to me, the owner's face has suddenly expanded with a smile like a full moon, and he has exclaimed, " Well, now, I do call that kind, Mrs. X and Mrs. Z never will hear of it." The poor breeder is apparently quite unaware that such elementary honesty is ever practised by their richer clients and hail it as a delightful novelty and "kindness."