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You cannot compete until your dog has been officially measured
At one of our local shows someone competing under Kennel Club rules for the first time won a standard class. Sadly their result was disqualified by the Kennel Club when it came to light that the dog hadn't been measured.
Left: At nine months Jilly measured in the large category
Lots of people hear something about measuring when they start agility but unfortunately when you register your dog, the Activity Register Certificate tells you the the dog will be accepted for Agility, Flyball, Heelwork to Music, Obedience and Working Trials and doesn't mention measuring. The accompanying paperwork says that the dog can now take an active part in the exciting activities available. Here the Kennel Club is assuming that you will read the rules and make sure your dog is the minimum age and has been measured. You MUST get your dog measured by the official measurers before you compete at a Kennel Club show.
When to get measured
Your dog can be measured before it is 18 months old and to be honest it's best to get this out of the way before you start thinking about entering shows. I had Jilly measured when she was nine months old as she was obviously going to be in the large category. The following extract from the Kennel Club rules tells you at what ages the dog can be measured.
(1) The provisions of sub-paragraphs (2) to (14) below shall not apply to
(3) Large dogs entered for competition must
be measured before they
Where to get measured and what you need
There is some confusion around measuring but it's a simple process. Most shows and some matches will have a measuring session at some stage of the proceedings but first of all you'll need a record book for the height category to be recorded. You can buy these from the Kennel Club or you may be able to buy one from your club or trainer. Your dog will need to be microchipped or tattooed or you will need to affix a good photograph of the dog inside the book.
If you haven't entered a show or a match you can ask the show secretary if you can bring the dog along as a "Not For Competition" dog in order to get the dog measured. If you have entered the show then you shouldn't compete until the measuring is complete.
Your trainer will be able to tell you when the next local show or match is being held or you can check the show schedules page of Agilitynet. When you've found a local show open the schedule and check to see if measuring is taking place. For instance I've just looked at a schedule for Colchester Dog Agility Club. It's a two day show but the schedule says, "There will be official Kennel Club measuring at the show on Saturday only."
Sometimes a club will organise a measuring session at a venue other than a show or a match. They may do this if several people are training new dogs and they all want to start competing.
The Kennel Club does have a measuring dates page but when I checked it wasn't up to date and didn't contain a full list.
You can also contact your local measurers directly. There is a list of measurers on the Kennel Club website along with their contact details. They'll happy to answer your questions and tell you when they're next measuring.
Getting ready for measuring
I started training Jilly for measuring when she was quite a small puppy. Some dogs may be frightened by the process as Kennel Club measurers use a hoop which is placed over the dog's back to determine the height category. If this is something that's never happened to them before they may wriggle and shy away or in the worst case they may try to bite the measurer.
I made a hoop out of bits of spare plumbing pipe and from time to time I took Jilly into the kitchen a put some treats on the worktop. I taught her to stand still and in a natural position while I placed the hoop across her back.
When she was measured she did wriggle quite a lot as she knew the measurers and she just wanted to say hello and play. They measured her once and then I moved her round before she was measured again to just make sure. The hoop came off the ground on either side by about two inches so she was well into the large category. She doesn't need a second measure as she's not likely to shrink down to medium. Measuring cost me £4.
Just for the record, the Kennel Club doesn't receive any money from measuring. The fee is paid to the measurers. They have to undergo a training course and tests and buy the equipment necessary to measure the dog. This includes the hoops and a scanner to detect the microchip if there is one. The measurers give up their time at shows and will sometimes miss runs in order to hold a measuring session. If they have no dogs entered they may still pay their own travelling costs to provide a measuring service at the show. After a while their fees cover cover their costs but it's not a profitable business.
For more information see the measuring pages on the Kennel Club website.
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