Time for some Championship Shows this month, beginning with Lancs & Cheshire Collie Club without myself & Rich due to family visiting. Deb & Elaine took River, Daisy & Dilys and gained 1st, 1st and 2nd in their respective classes. This leaves Daisy needing only three points to gain her Junior Warrant with a deadline of 5th July. Fingers crossed now!
The following Thursday was Birmingham National Champ Show, with just Daisy and Dilys this time. Rich couldn't make it as he was working, however my brother, Tom, joined us and became our lucky charm. Daisy was 3rd in her class but Dilys won Veteran Bitch, then the Bitch Challenge Certificate (her second, five years apart - the old girl did good!), Best of Breed (and Best Veteran in Breed). This is the best we have ever done at a championship show & we were thrilled that breed specialist Simon Burton thought so much of our girl. We are thrilled that he has offered to paint a portrait of her for us too. It made for a very long day because we stayed for the Pastoral Group and Veteran Group, but it was so worth it. It looks like Dilys isn't content with gaining her Veteran Warrant this year, but would like to try to gain her Champion title too!
Two Open Shows in one day on the Sunday, no wins for Dilys or Daisy but some nice class placings. Finn had a rare outing winning Best Veteran Dog and Reserve Best Veteran in Breed in the Smooth Collie Club's show, then, because the Best Veteran had already won the portrait painted very kindly by Jane Howells, Isobel very generously gifted this year's portrait to us for Finn. This is very exciting and a huge privilege.
Another weekend with two shows, the first a very long journey up to Edinburgh for the Scottish Kennel Club Champ Show. Rich & Deb took Daisy & Dilys, Daisy gained a 2nd and a 1st place (sadly no JW points). Dilys was Best Veteran in Breed and also won the Bitch Reserve Challenge Certificate, she is definitely on a roll. On the Sunday, Elaine & myself took Daisy to Coventry Open Show, where she was 2nd & 1st in her classes and gained another JW point. Oh so close now.
April seems to be the month for Open Shows for us, I seem to have entered eight! Luckily, the majority are fairly local and we are just taking Dilys and Daisy. We started with Mansfield Open at Newark & Notts Showground, this is one of my favourite venues, although it can be cold, there is so much space to walk to the dogs outside and the reasonably priced cafe does very nice chip butties! I didn't actually make it to the show as I was attending a committee meeting, however, Rich & Deb took the girls along and they both gained first places, with Dilys picking up another four points towards her Veteran Warrant.
The second weekend in April started with Wellingborough Open Show and Daisy's best results to date. She won both the AVNSC classes, then Best AVNSC and finally Pastoral Group 3, all against some very nice dogs (and good winners too that we've seen from previous shows), a great result for her and good for the breed too. Dilys didn't want to be outdone and won the AV Veteran class, hard to believe she's now 9 1/2, she moves so effortlessly and behaves like a youngster.
The following day we were back at Newark Showground for Mountsorrel Open Show, not quite the results of the previous day but some nice class placings including a second in AV Veteran for Dilys (3 more points!). She is now only 3 points away from her Veteran Warrant. With three more open shows over the Easter weekend, we have our fingers crossed for more news on this soon.
Good Friday was Daisy's turn to shine again, winning Best of Breed Smooth Collie, two Any Variety classes and Pastoral Group 3. She is really coming into her own now & I'm having a lot of fun with this gorgeous girl. Dilys gained Reserve Best of Breed and we had a good chat with friends we hadn't seen for a while.
Easter Sunday and we were at Alfreton Leisure Centre for Derby Open Show. Glad to be inside as it was another hot day (so unusual for a Bank Holiday weekend!), Daisy gained another point towards her Junior Warrant (slow but steady progress) and Dilys 2 points towards her Veteran Warrant - so close now, just a single point to go. Daisy has another show on Tuesday and then both girls are out next Sunday (fingers crossed for that final point for Dilys). In the meantime, relaxing in the garden is the only plan we all have!
Eastwood Open Show was a bit different for us, only one dog (Daisy) and no Deb or Elaine (both at work). Daisy gained another 1st and a 2nd in her two AVNSC classes & it was nice to see a few friends too.
The last show for April was Colne, Nelson & District, Daisy was on fine form again with Best AVNSC and Pastoral Group 4, Dilys won the AV Veteran Class gaining 4 points which mean she now has her Veteran Warrant (subject to Kennel Club confirmation), it just goes to prove how this breed age so well, Dilys still behaves like a five year old not 9 1/2. Very proud of our 'old' girl.
The first breed show of the year, British Collie Club's Champ Show, was a fun day out with friends but mixed results in the showring. Finn was unplaced but River gained second place and Daisy 1st place.
Then it was time to head to Crufts! We took Ripley, Daisy and Dilys this year and they spent the Thursday being ambassadors for the breed on the Smooth Collie Club's Discover Dogs stand, which was great fun as they got to meet lots of people and get lots of attention. We were thrilled to be asked to star on Channel 4's Crufts coverage later that evening where Daisy got to sit next to Clare Balding & Chirag Patel on the couch whilst they talked about mental health and the benefits of dog ownership. Daisy behaved very well and was completely at home on the sofa (no surprise there!). Dilys then joined Frank Kane and Clare Balding on the sofa whilst they talked about the British Native Vulnerable Breeds. She was happy to prove how active Smooth Collies can be by jumping on and off the sofa, I think she was looking for me! The following day we were back in the show ring with all three. Ripley came 2nd, Daisy 3rd and Dilys 1st in their respective classes. As always, Crufts was a brilliant experience and we arrived home completely exhausted but very happy.
The following weekend, we attended The Smooth Collie Club of Great Britain's Breed Appreciation Day, partly as committee members & Deb and I as candidates. Ripley & Dilys were used as part of the assessments and behaved well, but were totally exhausted by the time they got home. Deb and I took Daisy & Dilys to Retford Open Show on the Sunday, mixed results in the showing but met up with a few friends (well done Dianne for your BOB with Vinnie the Dalmatian!) and a potential new Smooth Collie owner. We now have a couple of show free weekends before it all gets busy again in April. Time to catch up in the garden!
Isle of Ely show saw Dilys gain more points in the AV Veteran class and Daisy get a second place in AV Junior behind a beautiful Samoyed. The following day was Yorkshire Collie Open show where we took almost the whole gang and were joined by Mary & Zouki. River was the star of the day, gaining Reserve Best of Breed, only missing out on the chance to challenge for Reserve Best in Show due to a misunderstanding over rules. Never mind, she is our little star & will be out in the show ring a bit more this year.
Another weekend and two shows again, this time St Helen's Open (Dilys Best of Breed and Daisy Reserve Best of Breed) followed by Matlock Open Show where Dilys and Daisy repeated their achievements of the previous day. Dilys also gained second place in a strong AV class to gain another three points. Ripley and Zouki joined us and it was very much a Koczkodan family outing.
Only one show in the final weekend of February, Newark & District. No classes for Smooth Collies so we entered Daisy, Ripley & Dilys in AVNSC and Dilys also in AV Veteran. Dilys gained two second places and Daisy a second place too. Ripley was well behaved but unplaced as there was very stiff competition (including his mum!).
Now to prepare for a very busy month, March will see us at British Collie and Crufts (including Discover Dogs) as well as a couple of open shows along the way!
The beginning of a new year and we met up with two of Daisy's brothers (Zouki & Newton) at Clumber Park to celebrate their 1st birthday. The weather was cold but sunny & the dogs had a great time walking round & playing. We had lunch in the dog friendly cafe before heading back home, Daisy was so happy having seen her brothers & it was great to have a good catch up.
Manchester Champ show meant a chance to catch up with a few people we hadn't seen for a couple of months, Finn and Dilys won their classes and were Best Veteran Dog and Best Veteran Bitch respectively. The following weekend, Daisy joined us with family in Skegness, which was her first trip to the seaside, she loved the sand but wasn't so impressed with the noisy waves!
Cambridge Open show was quiet with just Dilys & Daisy in the Smooth Collie classes, Dilys was Best of Breed and got an amazing critique from the judge, by the time of the group judging she was tired so not quite up to her normal sparkling form but she did have a lovely day.