All the Gear, No Idea?

At these shows, we’ve seen a lot of “kit”.  We’ve adapted out kit list to make sure we have everything we need, made sure it’s top notch to last a long time into the future but Mummy is in marketing… she LOVES a bit of ‘stash’…

So this happened…

 

Now, the crate cover is a practical thing – it shields from the sun and the rain and offers security – nobody knows what’s in the crate so it reduces the theft potential and mummy can put her bags and valuables inside and lock it when we are in the ring and nobody will know her phone might be inside…

The gilet (and jacket) – pure vanity!!!

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Southern Counties Championship

After the disappointment of coming 3rd and 4th at Reading & District, to say mummy was nervous about appearing in the Southern Counties Champ. show would be an understatement.

It rubbed off on me slightly, I had uh… a squitty rear end… and that’s NOT fun when you’re at a show.  I do hold it in until I can find a spot of grass, but to mummy’s horror – the show rings were on grass.  Crispy grass too as it was quite warm.  I’ve never done a show walk on grass before and was skittering around because I don’t like crispy grass.

To try and remedy this, Mummy sped up, which made me bunny hop round the ring at times.  Not ‘appropriate’ apparently.

And I was up against Ben the Welsh again.  He beat me.  Again.  And he deserved to – he’s a much better structured Welsh than I.  I like him a lot, and his human offers us lots of handy tips and tricks.  They’re good eggs.

Despite all of this – I came second in PGD Welsh (behind Ben) and then 1st in Open Welsh.  So I got beautiful rosettes, mummy was pleased and I got lots of kisses from random humans.

Turns out, Southern Counties is a bigger affair than most shows i’ve been to in the past.  Lots of stalls to buy things (I got a new show lead), lots of visitors who come to see the dogs, and Dad saw a pal from work who breeds Rottweilers!

And my bottom behaved itself within a few hours.  Phew!

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Post-Qual. Reflections, Reading & District

So I qualified for Crufts. What next?  It was a nine whole months away.  Surely going to more shows would be pointless, right? If our aim this year was to get to Crufts, I’m already there.

Not so fast, everyone!

There are things I need to improve upon.  There is always time to learn.  And the best way to learn is to *do*, so Mummy took the decision to enter as many shows between now and next March as possible, to give me practice, to learn by doing.

Knowing that my second championship show was early June, we found a local(ish) Open Show a few days before Southern Counties to give me some practice.  The Reading & District Open Show.  There was no Welsh Terrier class (there rarely ever is in county open shows) so I entered AVNSC (Any Variety Not Separately Classified) Postgraduate and Open.

Funnily enough, it appeared that others had the same idea – to use this Open show as a test for Southern Counties two days later (same venue, you see).  There was another Welsh! We’ve never ever come up against another Welsh Terrier in a local AVNSC class.

Ben the Welsh beat me twice, but neither of us won the class – I came 3rd and 4th.  Disappointing, but a good lesson – I’ve never really come anything less than 2nd before!  A dose of reality and a warning for the Championship show at the weekend….

WT Association Champ. Show

So, being incredibly unprepared (but incredibly well groomed), off we went to Wales for the WTA Championship Show.  It’s a breed championship, so only WTs.

Now, I only entered one class.  Postgraduate Dog.  This was because in previous shows, mummy learned that if you enter more than one class, win one but get beaten in another, you are no longer an “unbeaten dog”.  Only unbeaten dogs can progress to Best Dog, Best of Breed etc etc.  So we decided to just enter one class, so if I won, I wouldn’t then be beaten in another.

There were four entries in my class.  All younger than me, and two of whom were far better qualified already.  One was a ShCM, for example.

We saw lots of friends from the WT Club show, and lots of other exhibitors came up to offer us tips and assistance to ‘get it right’.  Mummy had soft shoes, tweed in a complementary colour.  I had my new grooming trolley…

Here I am in the ring…

I came second in my class.  So that meant I didn’t qualify through to Best Dog.  I came second in my first ever championship class.  Out of four! Now, initially, mummy was a little disappointed, this was my only class entered, so coming second meant I was eliminated unless the winner of PGD went on to Best of Breed and I could then come back in to challenge for Best Dog.

Whilst Mummy was sulking, one of our friends sidled up to Daddy (Photographer & Chauffeur in Chief) and said how pleased we must be for qualifying for Crufts!

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Here we are – the 1st and 2nd in PGD.  Ben (who came first) is a cracking dog and his dad John is one of the most helpful exhibitors we’ve met!

SO – coming second in a breed class qualifies you for Crufts – if only we had actually read the qualification criteria in my earlier blog post.  We were actually shocked.  This was our fourth ever show?!

Points of the Dog

Apparently you can’t just say “nice chap, isn’t he?”… There’s a whole vocabulary of doggy anatomy when judges look at us, and it’s called “Points of the Dog”.  In America, it’s called Conformation.

People say things about me, which mummy didn’t understand, like “good stifle”.  WHAT?  I’ve got a nice stifle.  Where is that?  So…

We all have a Breed Standard… Here’s ours for Welsh Terriers.  This tells us how we should look and move.

The Breed Standard will use words from the Points of the Dog anatomy vocabulary.  Here’s a good explanation.  The Kennel Club runs tests and training for judges to learn these terms!

Basically, I have nice knees…

Tools of the Trade

Having attended lots of shows as a Discover Dogs breed ambassador, we had a vague idea about the sort of equipment show dogs need to take with them on the day…

  • A grooming table
  • A crate (soft or wire)
  • Grooming equipment
  • A show lead
  • Treats/water and bowl
  • Treats/water for humans
  • CASH!
  • A carrying device to transport all of the above

On our first show (in January, the Bucks Open Show), mummy went alone because daddy teaches on a Saturday at his school.  She took my soft crate, my grooming table, arm and brushes/combs/scissors.  Pocket cheese treats were a bonus too.  We bought a collapsing sackbarrow trolley to carry everything in.

When we got there it became pretty clear we were the “budget end” of exhibitors… Mummy even had to scrounge a safety pin from another human to attach my ring number to her jacket…!  We were near the Wire Fox Terriers, and we observed lots of things we should buy/upgrade…

We now have:

  • IMG_0390A Titan Dog Trolley (its a grooming table on wheels that doubles as a sturdy secure crate)
  • A special ring clip for fastening our ring number to mummy
  • A benching chain (like a double ended lead, to attach me to a bench for benched shows)
  • A special grooming bag with partitions to keep everything in order
  • Special conditioning fursprays and a towel for my inevitable full face-dunk when i have a drink
  • A tweed show outfit for mummy which is in a complementary colour to my fur
  • Rubber-soled smart show shoes so that mummy doesnt tap her way around the show ring.
  • A professional groomer (in London, to give me a top notch pre-show groom… see below.  Dogs Delight in Chiswick.  Julie is an award-winning groomer specialising in Terriers who need hand stripping.  That’s me in the photo, by the way…! Hondsome!IMG_0522

 

Oxfordshire Show

show5Second Show ever.  Another Open show, another AVNSC class.  This time the Oxfordshire And District Canine Society on 5 March 2017.  More on offer for AV Terriers here, so we entered me into Postgraduate Dog and Open Dog.  I was the only entrant in AVNSC PGD and won the class, only to come third (!) in Open.

When you win a class, that entitles you to be judged ‘best of’ AV alongside the winners of all the other classes within that group.  If you win best AV, you then get judged alongside all the other breeds to become Best Terrier, and so on and so forth until Best in Show (like Crufts, yeah?).

What mummy didn’t realise is that if you win one class and then don’t come first in another, you’re a beaten dog, so you can’t move up the judging scale.  We should have withdrawn after winning PGD.

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But at least we won a class!  And daddy even came to this one!  He took pictures.

Onwards!