A view from the new Chair
I would like to get rid of the just from the Spanish Water Dog Club. More of that later.
I am very pleased to be the new Chair of the UK SWD Club. My view of the club is that it is a part of history. Next year is our 30th birthday and rightly there are celebrations in the air. This is a very small birthday compared to the Spanish Water Dog breed which has more than a thousand years of history. For me one of the truly wonderful things about owning an SWD is being part of that history. Dogs are an integral part of humanity. Their role is constantly changing but for me the important thing is keeping the breed’s characteristics true to their history and to provide them with a role in current society, harmonious with those characteristics. In this way we can maintain historic breeds like the SWD.
As we all know, the SWD’s history started in the Iberian peninsular and spread throughout Europe and then the world, being brought into the UK by just four people some 30 odd years ago. The UK SWD club was formed and became just another country’s breed club. I am just another member of the SWD club committee, in a line of members that will hopefully extend for a very long time.
So what are my wishes for the club that I hope to get you onside with? Naming just one thing that is an achievement of the SWD club so far, is the fact that there is just one official SWD club in the UK. There are many breeds that are represented by multiple official clubs and to me that is a bit of a weakness and a symptom of a slight failing. We in the SWD club have managed to keep all breed enthusiasts together. This will always be a difficult and there have been rocky times in the past. My biggest wish is that we are all united in one glorious curly coated doggy tent.
This leads me to the getting rid of the just in the club.
I would love to know what kind of just you are. Are you just someone who is interested in the breed, thinking of becoming an owner? The kind of person that can be an ambassador for the breed, explaining at length the difference between a noble SWD and a crossbreed? Are you just the owner of a single companion SWD? I never think of SWDs as pets, to me they will always be companions, although that certainly doesn’t stop mine getting up on the sofa for a cuddle. As just the owner of a single or multiple companion SWDs, you are keeping alive that breed history as any breed needs a large group of just owners to facilitate a proper breeding program and allow selection of dogs from a large pool. Not to mention exposing society to the best breed in the world.
Are you just someone who does a bit of gundog work with your SWD? Keeping alive one of their newer (at a mere 600 years) traditional uses and hence making sure that the breed doesn’t lose connection with its history.
Are you just someone who does a bit of dog sport with your SWD? Maybe just a bit of Agility, Obedience, Flyball or Rally. All sports that the SWD excels at, in ways which are different to the way most breeds work. Hence doing the incalculably important service to the breed of finding its role in contemporary society whilst still maintaining the breed characteristics.
Are you just someone who breeds the occasional litter of SWDs? This form of breeding is so true to the breed’s history. You are helping maintain a healthy gene pool and keeping average Coefficients of Inbreeding down.
Are you just someone who enters their SWD in the odd Open Breed Show? Keeping the breed profile up, giving judges the chance to judge them and showing the diversity of dog that fit the breed standard. All terrifically important for the breed to thrive.
I could go on (and on and on, as people who know me will testify!). The point is we are all important parts of an immense history and bear responsibility for what happens in the future.
I want the club to recognise everyone’s part in this and to be for us all in the breed.
So please do introduce yourself to me if you meet me either in person, (which may be less often than I would like as I live in Northern Ireland) or online. But please tell me that you are a proud enthusiast, owner, dabbler, competitor etc. as there are no “justs” in the SWD Club.