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 wish the editors of newspapers would institute a reform in their show reports. The hard-worked reporter so often indulges in the natural but most pernicious practice of consulting one of the exhibitors in the classes on which he should report and leaving the reports to him or her. How often have I heard it said: "Oh, Mrs. So-and-so, I am so dreadfully busy, and you know I am not a specialist in your breed, just write my notes for me, will you, and I'll forgive you anything you say about your own dogs."
Mrs. So-and-so is, of course, delighted, but is very likely smarting under an unexpected and, as she considers, unjust defeat, and instead of being put on her mettle to be extra generous to her opponents, she writes a flaming account of her own exhibits and runs down those of anybody against whom she has a grudge, almost invariably giving to their dogs the bad points which belong to her own. The reporter rushes up, stuffs the reports into his pocket with effusive thanks, and publishes them with his own name, without having time or opportunity to verify them by personal examination of the dogs, and as he can't acknowledge what he has done, he stands by them in public afterwards because he can't help himself. Should he be brought to book for some downright misstatement he can always apologise and say he mistook one dog for another. Some reporters taxed with this will deny it with many and various indignant oaths and asseverations. It is, nevertheless, a fact, and one of the reasons why I know it for a fact is that I have been asked to write these reports myself, but have always declined to write except under my own name, or to report on my own dogs anonymously. Thus I have seen somebody else doing it in my stead, generally to the great disadvantage of my exhibits.
In spite of the fact that I have expressly stated that I would not write unsigned reports, my signed reports have twice been altered and the signature suppressed, and so long as this is done it is hopeless to expect any independence of criticism.
The lady dealers are particularly fond of blowing their own trumpets and the solos of this horn-blowing sisterhood upon their self-made instruments are frankly astonishing.
The press is much imposed upon by some of these professional trumpeters. Occasionally they sign their names to the reports of the classes at which they themselves have been exhibiting and do not blush to run down their opponents' dogs and praise their own in unmeasured and perfectly unwarrantable terms. The signatures to these articles would seem at first sight to make this amusement harmless, although ridiculous, till we remember that the reports are not sent to purchasers in full, but merely cut out of the newspapers in sections, which the buyer thinks represent the opinions of whatever newspaper publishes them. How many of these misleading cuttings have I not been sent when in treaty for a dog! The ladies who sign their reports are, however, in a minority. It is only those without any sense of humour who allow the other fanciers to see them trumpeting, and generally they contrive that someone else should appear to do the blowing. An excellent trumpeter of my acquaintance writes anonymous reports of her own dogs at all the important shows, and most wonderful they are. If her dogs lose, the lady "cannot follow the placing," and writes a panegyric of the losers; if they win, they have won in the strongest company ever got together.
Perhaps the most accomplished soloist of modern days is, however, the type of lady dealer who, when beaten, writes to the foreign papers to announce her victories for the very prizes she has lost, and in the innocence of their hearts, the editors publish her reports and the readers buy the dogs!
All this is very amusing as a psychological study, but at the same time undesirable and contemptible.
Exhibitors should also be careful never by accident (still less by design) to claim the title of Champion for their dogs without having the right to it. There seems to be a confusion in owners' minds as to what constitutes a full champion. An American writer often refers to some of our dogs as champions which have no claim to the prefix. This is, no doubt, because she does not know our English custom.
I have known two so-called champions entered at a show in Toy Spaniel classes, one of them being actually entered in a champions' class, though they had only won three challenge prizes between them, and might have been disqualified on objection. An influential exhibitor has, however, little to fear from objections, as none of the minor fanciers would care to offend him by disqualifying his dog, knowing the Nemesis that would shortly overtake them. In order to be a champion a dog must have won three challenge certificates (popularly called championships) under three different judges. One "championship" does not make a dog a champion any more than one swallow makes a summer, nor would twenty championships do it unless they were won under more than two different judges.
Owners should therefore be careful not to claim the title prematurely, as not only is it what might be considered bad taste, but it also comes tinder the head of that dangerous practice - "counting one's chickens before they are hatched." It is also a mistake to claim more championships than your dog has really won, as it is very easily verified by reference to the calendar of the Kennel Club Stud Book, which has, once for all, put a stop to the possibility of any mistakes in the matter. It makes the owner look very silly, if nothing more. There is a champion at the present day who is credited by his owner with many more challenge prizes than he has really won. Buyers should always look up a dog's wins in the Kennel Club Stud Book before purchasing.