The Hovawart Club of Great Britain

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Breed Notes - Elaine Sharpe - 11 Mar 2018
It has been a while since I put finger to keyboard to write what I will, for lack of alternative, still call breednotes. The “Dog World” weekly paper, which I primarily wrote for, ceased to exist, so my weekly-ish jottings did too, but it has been suggested that I might write just for the website, so here goes.

I won’t list the winners at Crufts, as they will be available in lots of places, but now we are back home after being at the NEC for a couple of days, I have a chance to reflect on the event, and as always there are highs and lows to remember. It was lovely to meet up again with all the exhibitors and their wonderful dogs, and doing a stint on the “Discover Dogs” stand, although exhausting, makes you realise how lucky we are to own these amazing animals. I especially remember McDuff’s (Erica & Tom McClaghan) rapport with a lady in a wheelchair….such sensitivity. As it was Friday, there weren’t quite the crowds you get at the weekend, nevertheless it was pretty constant questions, with a few people really serious about one day having a puppy. Interest in the breed is fairly buoyant.

Which brings me to the puppy situation. As we speak, both Gina and Hester’s litters have been born, Gina has 8 (6 dogs, 2 bitches) and Hester 4 (all bitches), and Maggie still has a week or so to go. I understand that enquiries have been numerous, and now that the puppies are actually here, progress in matching people to pups can begin in earnest. With a possible 6 options per puppy (2 sexes, 3 colours) it is always hard to organise anything before they are born. I am sure we will all extend a very warm welcome to the world of Hovawarts to all the new owners.

Back to Crufts, and I was interested to notice that Gina used the same tactics that we do when we have mated a bitch, and entered the show anyway. Our reasoning is that it gives us something to look forward to in the event of the mating being unsuccessful, and we feel it would be bad luck to pre-suppose that we will get puppies. Suffice to say, Isalynn wasn’t at the show for all the best reasons! Dog Shows should be happy events, where enthusiasts can enjoy their hobby, and a lot of this enjoyment can be made or marred by the judge on the day. Whilst it is incumbent upon the judge to carry out his duties in a professional manner, I don’t think that precludes showing his or her pleasure in the task, and ensuring that the exhibitors are having a pleasurable experience, by being treated with courtesy and respect. This certainly should be a two-way street, and a smile goes a long way to help. I wonder why some judges accept the appointments when they appear to take so little pleasure in them.

It obviously isn’t a mandatory KC rule that dogs only beaten by the best of sex have to be invited back into the ring to challenge for reserve, but I feel that perhaps it should be. This is one of those occasions where justice needs to be seen to be done. I am not disputing the judge’s absolute right to decide all the placings, but we are talking about a SHOW, which is for exhibitors and spectators as well as for judges and stewards. Several times when I have judged, there has been no need to do more than line the dogs up because the placings were obvious from the start, but I feel very strongly that the judge owes it to the competitors to treat them all the same, and give them an equal chance. At Crufts this year, the best bitch won 3 classes, and there were therefore 3 bitches beaten only by her that could have been called in to challenge for reserve, but weren’t. This is in no way a criticism of the award of reserve best bitch, and the judge’s absolute right to have made it, just a feeling that those 3 exhibitors deserved more respect than they were shown. Crufts is the pinnacle of the dog showing world, and awards such as this carry considerable prestige. It is therefore vital that everything is SEEN to be done thoroughly and with full consideration to validate fully the awards.

Maggie, Paula and co. stayed on to watch the Working Group and to cheer for Caron and K.Burletta in the big ring, and were very chuffed when Clare Balding, from the BBC, came up and recognised our breed from last year, and also gave them an opportunity for a photoshoot. Such a nice change from the usual “a what???” or “what’s it crossed with” that I am sure we have all faced many times from the general public.

Today feels a bit warmer, so maybe spring is on the way. The dogs have certainly enjoyed rompsing in the snow, but I could do without all the clearing up afterwards. Having said that, some of the photographs of the dogs in winter surroundings have been spectacular, especially Mark Harrison’s pictures of Abbie by a frozen waterfall…..amazing!!

Elaine Sharpe
01743 891310
This article was posted on: 12-Mar-18