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The ban on showing dogs with docked tails may have caused a reduction in the number of working spaniels competing at Crufts. Just 66 spaniels competed over six classes at this year?s show, compared with 91 in 2010.

Only those dogs docked before April 2007 may compete at a licensed event organised by the Kennel Club. Dogs docked after that date are only permitted to compete at shows in Scotland and Northern Ireland, and those shows in England and Wales where the public does not pay to be admitted.

David Tomlinson, whose full report on Crufts 2011 can be found on page 48, said: ?There?s a declining number of springers seen in the ring every year and it?s going to get to the point in a couple of years where there won?t be any at all.?

Debbie Collins, press officer at BASC, said: ?Entries in the spaniel classes were down by 27 per cent. Some of that may be due to the tail docking ban but it?s difficult to tell. Overall numbers were about the same as last year and it always makes a difference when gundog day is on a weekday.?

The rest of this article appears in 23rd March issue of Shooting Times.

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