Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Odd Notes

Well, it's been kind of busy as you'll know by the following:

I finally bought myself a laptop and picked it up on Sunday afternoon. Last night (Monday) was the first time I got to turn it on and try it out. I quite like it although it will take me awhile to get used to using my finger to control the mouse.

I will be going to New Jersey in the spring to judge Weimaraners.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Crufts - An Affair of the Hound...

Not surprisingly, I have always had a weakness for hounds - both sighthounds and scenthounds. In Europe there are many different continental hounds that we never see here in Canada. One of my favourite parts of Crufts was wandering around and seeing all the breeds I had never seen before. With the exception of the HPR (Hunt Point Retrieve - ie versatile hunting dogs like our GSPs and GWPs), I've included several of them here. With a few exceptions, most are hounds. I'll do the HPRs separately.


This is by far my favourite hound. I had seen a few photos of them before but had never seen one live in the flesh. A medium sized hound, they have a beautiful elegance while still being all scenthound. I would love to import one of these. (Now you know why Dad shakes his head everytime I see a breed I like lol)


Basset Fauve de Bretagne

These were cute little guys.

Bleu Gascogne Basset

Bleu Gascogne Grand

As with these last two breeds, it is a common thing for many hounds, particularly french ones, to have a small (Basset) size and a large (Grand) size.

Bavarian Mountain Hound

Cirneca d'ell Etna



Lagotto Romagnolo

Lancashire Heeler

A typical feisty heeler - one of the few non-hounds in this list. This is a breed native to England.

Portuguese Podengo Rough

Portuguese Podengo Smooth

The Podengos were just adorable. As their notes said - why tango when you can podengo?


Segugio Italiano

And for those who asked my favourite part of heathrow...

More Crufts Photos

The Golden Retriever Demo Team

The Friends for Life

International Juniors Competition

The Sporting Group

The Cut for the Sporting Group

(for those non-exhibitors, these are the judge's preferred dogs from the group, he will choose his winners from the cut)

The Sporting Group Winner

This Vizsla (Sh Ch/Aust Ch Hungargunn Bear It'n Mind) from Australia but not competing in the UK was extremely impressive. Any of the dogs in the cut could have won; it was a stunning lineup. I still favoured the Bracco Italiano, the GSP and the GWP but I couldn't fault the Vizsla.

The Working Group Cut

The Working Group Winner

My Friend Elaine Competing in the Working Group with a Bouvier des Flandres of her breeding.

The Non-Crufts Part of the Trip

Although most of the trip was taken up at Crufts there are a few other excursions and particularly people that I want to mention.
I stayed with a wonderful lady named Anne and her husband. The bred english setters and currently have two field spaniels. Field spaniels are fairly rare in Canada and up until then I had only seen a few in my lifetime. Robbie, the field spaniel they had at the time (the new puppy hadn't arrived yet), is a gorgeous dog and beyond sweet. If I could deal with the grooming I'd have one of these too. (Face it, there are few breeds I wouldn't like to try at least once with the possible exception of terriers and toy breeds which are just not my bag of tea). They also had an old English Setter, Evie, who passed after my visit.


Robbie & Ann

My host, Karen, is Dublin's breeder. We did some sight seeing together, going out to see Skipton castle and wander a bit. It was quite amazing to see. Very different from the castles I saw in Spain which owed much to a hot climate and the Moors. In Skipton the importance of keeping warm became obvious along with the various strategies of defence. Here's some pictures of Karen and the castle:

Although the whole trip was great, the highlights were definitely Dublin and all the great people I met. I firmly think I'll just have to go back just to visit again and do some more sightseeing.

Dublin & Ann

Friday, January 22, 2010

Crufts - Part 2

The next day was spent shopping – there were tons (by which I mean literally hundreds) of booths to see. They also have a huge section called “Discover Dogs”. This area features booths manned by breeders/fanciers and at least one dog for each and every breed recognized in England. This is where I was really able to get up close to many of the gundog breeds we don’t have here as well as many other breeds, particularly the continental European hounds. I'll do a separate post on them too.
That evening we attended Best in Show. As with the previous evening, they started out with a variety of dog sports demonstrations and competitions. These were followed by something called “Friends for Life”. The latter features approximately six pairs of composed of a person and a dog. Often the dog and person are work partners such as police officers or service partners such as a disabled person and their service dog. The stories of each pair are broadcast throughout the four day shown and the audience votes for their favourite via cell phone and online voting. The evening of Best In Show the award is presented to the winning pair. This year it went to a search and rescue dog that focuses on searching for Alzheimer’s patients and his handler.
They then did the two groups from the day – Working and Pastoral. After that they had a brief break and then there was Mary Read’s performance of musical heelwork to the music of Riverdance. I’m not normally a big fan of musical heelwork but this was truly exceptional. Apparently she has been doing this each and every year for the last twelve years of Crufts.
Finally, Best in Show. Of course there were lights and music and excitement in the audience, just like at Westminster. In the end I felt totally justified when a Canadian bred dog – the Sealyham Terrier Am/Can/Swedish/World Ch Efbe’s Hidalgo at Goodspice – went Best in Show. Runner-up BIS was the Standard Poodle.
All in all, it was a fantastic trip and one I would recommend to any dog lover.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Crufts - Part 1

When the opportunity to attend Crufts last year came up, I was beyond excited. After all, the world’s largest dog show, what conformation enthusiast wouldn’t be? While in England, I would be visiting friends and visiting some English GSP kennels that had dogs related to my new puppy, Dublin aka Gamebourne King’s Ransom. My hosts had arranged for us to spend two days at Crufts as well.

Whenever people talk about Crufts they always mention the sheer size of it. When we first got there I was completely overwhelmed. It dwarfed any show I had ever been to and the whole day was devoted to nothing but gundogs. Gundogs represented the largest group at Crufts this year with an entry of over 5600 gundogs. It is a benched show so all the dogs must be present and on their benches except when in the ring. So, you can wander to your hearts content and see as many sporting breeds as you’d like. The UK recognizes many more breeds than we do so it was an opportunity to see a number of breeds I had heard of and many that I hadn’t even heard of before. I’m hoping to do a separate article for Maria in the future featuring photos and descriptions of the gundogs I saw that are not recognized in Canada or are very rare here as there were quite a few.

With an entry of over 260 GSPs, we spent most of Saturday watching GSP judging. The rings were of an average specialty size but judging there is quite different in terms of classes. The younger dogs are broken down by age. Champions compete in the open class with the class dogs. A Dog CC (basically Winners Dog) and a Bitch CC (Winners Bitch) are awarded. Best of Breed is chosen from the two of them. This makes earning CCs very challenging for a young dog. I took several pictures of the dogs in competition but unfortunately the lighting was not bright enough for my little digital camera so I have none to share from GSP judging. Dog CC went to MacGregor Pyzartyst With Moregin JW. I quite liked this dog, enough that I've toyed with making further inquiries occasionally. Bitch CC and Best of Breed went to Sh Ch Barleyarch Pickpocket. Pickpocket is the breed record holder for CCs. She is owned and bred by Sue & Mike Harris of Barleyarch GSPs, and handled by Sue. She went on to make the cut in the group in the evening. Now, I've long been a fan of the Barleyarch dogs so it was a real treat to see so many of them in the ring and later to spend an evening with them.
In the late afternoon we went and found spots to watch the group and other entertainment in the main arena (there are five halls plus the arena – all devoted to the show). The evening show demonstrates how much more rounded Crufts is as compared to most other big shows. Westminster and our Show of Shows tend to focus almost strictly on conformation. At Crufts there was obedience, agility (both of them having individual and team events), as well as demonstrations on everything from dog/child safety to health care to therapy work. In the evening the winners of such events put on demonstrations for the public. One of the highlights was a team of Golden Retrievers (see photo) that did group obedience displays together to music much like the horse displays that are found at higher levels at equine events.

Another class that was done in the evening that I found very interesting was the gameskeeper class. All dogs competing must work a minimum number of hours on a working game farm each year to be eligible to compete in the class. Many of the dogs were shown by the gameskeepers themselves. A lovely young lady and her German Wirehaired Pointer won. She is a fourth generation gameskeeper.

The group itself featured some truly stunning gundogs. Some breeds look quite different from their North American counterparts, particularly the coated breeds like the setters and the spaniels. Others, including the GSPs, would be right at home and do well in any North American ring. A few breeds, including Vizslas and German Wirehaired Pointers, stood out for the extreme quality of the entries as compared to the average seen here. (I’m sure that comment will get me in loads of trouble here :) In the end the Vizsla went on to win the group.Personally I liked several of them but the GWP - Freddy and the Bracco Italiano (ie Italian Pointer) Axel really stood out to me. I'm thinking there may be a bracco here one of these days as I was totally taken with the breed.

Freddy - Freddy von Kapellenhof at Bareve

Axel - Axel del Monte Alagro

Judging & Crufts

This is a repeat of what's been posted on the dog blog minus my rant about Popular Sires. I figured you might be interested in my adventures at Crufts as well.

At this time last year I was driving everyone around me crazy as I prepared for my trip in early March to the UK, Crufts, and most importantly to pick up the Monkey Man (aka Dublin) and meet his family. Obviously that's not in the cards this year. But it makes this a perfect time to share some pictures from my trip and all the fun stuff and great people I met there. However that's for another post - possibly today, possibly tomorrow.

As I sat at the kitchen table the other night with the Monkey Man at my feet, I wondered why I wasn't berating him for putting a huge hole in the top of a 400 varikennel. He had stuck his head through that hole (yeah, it was that big!) and was waiting for me when I got home looking like a strange, unwatered Chia pet. I know he isn't fond of crates but in a household with this many dogs you have to spend some time in a crate, particularly when there's no one home. Face it, I have a real weakness for the Monkey Man no matter how much trouble he gets into and he gets into lots and lots of trouble. I've been thinking that it was time to get him into the show ring as he is slowly starting to fill out and lose that teenage lankiness. We practise stacking and baiting but not gaiting as I can't run at all at the moment. Anyway, back to the other night. I realized that I really want to show him myself. I know Dad and Lindsay would be glad to show him but I want to do it myself. I haven't been able to comfortably show a dog for a long long time and I'm really looking forward to it. So, the Monkey Man will be my first show dog post-recovery. I bet we knock the socks off everyone :)

I have been invited to judge Sweepstakes for a giant schnauzer club this summer. I'm really looking forward to it. I'm not yet approved for giants so a sweeps is a nice way to work with the breed in the ring. It's also a chance to see more than the occasional giant entered at a show. We have very few giants at least in my part of Ontario so seeing more than one or two is always a treat. They warned me the entry would not be large as the total specialty entry is likely to be quite small but I'm excited about it nonetheless.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Yes, I'm Behind Again...

I told you this one was harder to write. I cannot explain how much having a date for the surgery has lifted me. I feel so much better just knowing it is coming to an end.

I've been watching a few new tv series - we're renting Fringe, which I am really really enjoying. Pseudo scientific biology is just too much fun not to love. It's like the X-Files with biology instead of aliens.

I've also been watching The Republic of Doyle which is a brand new series on tv that is Canadian and set in Newfoundland. Made you laugh just thinking about, didn't it? It reminds me of the old Magnum P.I. series and the other old tv private eye shows that were big when I was much younger - things like Simon & Simon, the Rockford Files, etc.

I received a ton of books for Christmas and have been working my way through the pile.

Santa Olivia - by Jacqueline Carrey - beautiful if unusual take on the werewolf in a hopefully distant future. Made me think of Zorro at his best. Mind you I don't recall Zorro ever having a lesbian lover, etc. but that is the gift of Carrey. If you've never read her Kushiel books, they are well worth it.

The Spiderwick Chronicles - by I'm not sure who - I saw the movie and decided I wanted to read the books. I admit when I conceived this idea I had thought that the movie represented only the first book and not all five. While very enjoyable, but meant for a very young audience, I had read all five within a day. They took about an hour apiece. Having said that, the fact that I spent five hours that day reading says something about how enjoyable a read they were.

I'm now reading Kushiel's Justice and have Kushiel's Mercy waiting for me (both by Jacqueline Carrey). The first Kushiel Trilogy (starting with Kushiel's Dart) is an all time favourite of mine with Phedre no Delauney no Montreve featuring as one of my favourite heroines ever. I have read and reread the series many times. This meant that the second series had a lot to live up to and while I enjoyed the first book, Kushiel's Scion, I was not so enamored of it that I longed to read the second book, Kushiel's Justice. I had purchased it but it was sitting gathering dust on the shelf. When Blade gave me the third one, Kushiel's Mercy, for Christmas I decided to give it another try. I'm really glad I did as the second one has been a really great read. I don't think I'll ever love Imriel the way I love Phedre but he has grown a lot as a character. I'm looking forward to starting Kushiel's Mercy shortly.

Friday evening was a friend's last night at work so we decided to take her out for a few drinks after we closed the branch. I had finished earlier so I went home for a few hours and then returned to the branch just before closing. On my way back to the branch, I had the music cranked and was enjoying the manoeuvrability of Mom's little Nissan as opposed to my lumbering van. I don't know if it was eighties night on the radio or what but they kept playing songs from my early teens - things like Duran Duran's The Reflex. It put one of those silly grins on my face and for a little while I was a very young girl who loved really loud music again singing at the top of her lungs. Ironically enough, once we reached Moxie's they were playing some old eighties music as well and we were comparing notes on favourite old music.

I've resolved to attempt to boost my music library with some of my old favourites.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


I have a date for my knee surgery - March 18th, 2010. Yeah!!! I can't wait. The end is in sight.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Catch Up

As you've probably noticed, I find it much more difficult to do entries for my personal blog than for the dog blog. I'd like to say this is because the dogs take up a lot of my life but I know I'd get more than a few nudges indicating that was not my best excuse ever.
Often I end up feeling like I'm just whining about difficulties that we all face in life. What I'm thinking and feeling is rarely all that fascinating and I wonder why you'd be interested.
So, when I saw Julie & Julia about a modern woman (Julie) who blogs her attempts to complete all the recipes of Julia Child's masterpiece it gave me an idea. No, I will not be recreating Julia Child's cookbook. A) It's been done. B) I can't afford to get any fatter. C) I've killed lobsters and will never make them ever again no matter how good they taste.

The idea that did come forth from it was to try to spend on time on other things I do - books I read, recipes I try, movies I see, etc mixed in with the day to day chaos of my life.

I'm trying to keep myself writing - if you read any of this or the dog blog let me know. It helps to keep me writing. A few years back I became clinically depressed and found it increasingly difficult to write. I cancelled contracts with magazines and closed my biweekly column in Dog News. I just couldn't do it. I'm hoping these blogs represent a step forward on getting myself back on track. Now, you're all stuck in therapy with me lol