I don’t really do anything else. At the moment the shows are outdoors and are way way too hot for me. From September we’ll probably do one or two a month. It’s expensive to enter, the travel costs are even greater because of the huge distances involved, you can only enter one class with each dog so it’s only worth going if you have a half decent dog. We’ve built up a collection of ribbons and “silverware” (aka silver coloured plastic) already.
It is fun, I’ve found possibly the only ringcraft class in France and am learning that there’s so much more to it than just running around a ring. A good handler can make or break a dog. Freddie is a total natural. He moves beautifully and will stand perfectly with his feet in precisely the right place to show off his angulation and top line. The judge going over him has been more of a challenge but we’re getting there. His next show is with the British judge Frank Kane, so I hope Freddie behaves. Pops is a work in progress, she moves well but hasn’t yet got her foot positioning quite right, not for me anyway...though when my ringcraft teacher handles her she does it perfectly! She’s entered in to the same show as Freddie but her judge is Shaun Williamson. It’s the retriever Club of France National breed show, so a bit of a biggie for retriever breeds, I’ll have the added pressure that their breeder will be there and probably watching me. Last time I took one of her dogs to a show where she was there was in 2007 and her daughter handled my dog for me.
It’s nice in France that as well as a placing you also get a ranking. Excellent, very good, good, insufficient for adults. Similar for puppies. You’ve achieved if you get an excellent but don’t get a placing and in certain shows this qualifies for a “red” entry on the dogs pedigree.
I’ve met some lovely people, not many lab people because they don’t talk to me because I have dogs that could be competition to them. Showing in France is not for hobbyists but for mostly professional breeders. If my dog wins, they potentially lose income. I tend to spend the day with owners of other breeds....polish lowland sheepdogs, Dalmatians (which I’ve also handled), Sussex spaniels and various other spangly breeds, Goldie’s, Bichon Bolognaise, Bullmastiff and soon a curly coated Retriever. I love dogs!
Coco - Cocoa Calos Thea 25.7.2002 - 30.5.2012
Milly - Myegirl Millicent 1.5.2001 - 17.6.2015
Together at Rainbow Bridge, gone but never forgotten