Every year it seems hard to imagine that Discover Dogs can get any better, but each year it does and this year was no exception. There were 2,000 more people than last year coming through the turnstiles, a record for the event. They were queueing right down the building and out of sight.
Inside there was as much to see as ever with the training ring, YKC ring and the main event ring. The breed booths were as busy as ever and the trade stands were all reporting good business.
The breed booths were packed with every type of decoration imaginable, from the armchair comfort of the Pug stand to the butterflies of the Papillon booth. The colours of some of the Spaniel stalls were stunning and a lot of imagination went into the stands of the Large Munsterlander and the Portuguese Podengo. The wealth of information and the mural of the dog in its natural habitat won the Glen of Imaal stand the Best Booth award for 2006.
Animals seem to bring out the very best in most people, and the pleasure on the faces of the children was a picture to behold. They stroked and talked to the dogs and got so excited, asking some sensible questions and some funny ones. Parents get as much pleasure from this event as their children and that is so rewarding for the dedicated people who man the stands.
The breeders who are there for the duration of the event give their time year after year. They struggle through London with their dogs and all the paraphernalia to decorated their stands, some having come very long distances. They do this just to promote and educate people about their breed. I see some of the same faces each year and they tell me that some of the event’s visitors are regular visitors to their stands too.
Dogs Trust had a large stand at the show and they seemed to be busy each time I went past, as was the Battersea stand. The Kennel Club Charitable Trust stand was fully manned and the trio of Mike Towsend (Chairman of the Trustees) Bill King and Jeff Sampson was quite formidable, especially when Bill King donned his fisherman’s hat and his KCCT yellow head piece.
The Trust is one of the very few charities that gives all the money it collects to good causes. There are no administrative charges deducted and in the past year they have given over £800,000 to rescue centres, universities for research into canine diseases etc.
The training ring was packed all day with demonstrations of all the disciplines that our hobbies embrace, including obedience, HTM and with particular emphasis was made on the safe and sound scheme. There is nothing we hate more than hearing a child has been hurt by a dog, and the general press seem to delight in bedeviling the dogs. It is with the intention of avoiding such situations that the Kennel Club spent so much time researching and planning and now implementing this scheme. There was also the demonstrations of all grades of the KC God Citizen’s Scheme, and also Hearing Dogs for the Deaf.
The YKC was another ring that had crowds all day, hosting among other things, the YKC Junior Handling and the KC Companion Dog Competitions finals from the classes that were well supported up and down the country throughout the year. The standard among the groomers in the YKC was very high and there was great appreciation when their workmanship was demonstrated.
The main ring was, as always, a hive of activity and Nick Brooks-Ward and Mickey Barrett make the ring their own and they certainly get the crowd rallied. The ring hosts all the types of agility, ABC (Anything But Collies), Medium Dogs and Small Dogs; there was also Rescue Dog Agility as well as Flyball. The heelwork to music demonstrations were as breathtaking as ever, Mary Ray is the undisputed Queen of HTM, but there are big strides being taken by those who love the sport too. One demonstration showed that being in a wheelchair needn’t stop you and the Yorkie was totally at home in the big ring.
The Southern Golden Retriever Society Display team had a new routine frim last year and it was just as spellbinding. David Cavill had described them as a real tear-jerker and that still applies. They held the audience in awe and the applause showed just how much they were apprecated.
The main event ring also hosted the Scruffts Finals and the classes were as hotly contested as ever. The judging this year was carried out by Matt Baker who was known by all the kids from his time on Blue Peter. The classes were Most Handsome Crossbred Dog, Prettiest Bitch, Child’s Best Friend and Golden Oldie; and the Scrufft’s mascot spotty dog ushered each class in. Matt said repeated that judging the competition was so hard, they were all so deserving, and the word impossible was said several times.
Eventually each class was decided and the choice was down to last four qualifiers. The Southern Golden Retrievers came in for the second time in the day before the Grad Final. Matt took another look at each exhibit and the overall winner was the Most Handsome Crossbred Dog, Dylan. Dylan is owned by Mandy Blake and he has overcome a host of health problems to become the ideal family pet.
The event attracts some of the television personalities, Wendy Richards has regularly attended Discover Dogs, this year her ‘on screen son’ Todd Carty brought his family too.
The trade stands offered such a variety of goods, from dog food to luxury collars and coats, as well as bedding, models, paintings and much much more. The demonstrations of the massage and reflexology machines were gratefully sampled by many of us, and they can be highly recommended.
Dr Roger Mugford, who is probably the best known face of animal behaviourists, manned the Company of Animals stand. Profits from the stand were being donated to the rehoming of the bears in China and Vietnam’s bile factories.
There are about 2,000 bears in China and another 600 in vietnam that are going to need homing following the closure of the factories. The following day he was off to China to see what else they need, clearly housing bears is not like rehoming dogs. Bears are housed in groups and the stimulation they need has to be almost indestructable.
If anyone wants more information on this they can see the work that is being done on www.animalsasia.org or the China site is www.animalsasia.org.hk
A popular attraction with adults and children alike is the Metropolitan Police puppy socialisation unit with trainee police dogs and trainee sniffer dogs. The pups just love the attention, it’s hard to know if the pups or the kids get most from the experience.
The weekend is packed with so much that it is impossible to take it all in in just two days. The one over-riding factor that cannot be ignored is how much fun it was; perhaps that is why so many breed enthusiasts come back each year.
‘Dogs’ of all shapes and sizes - and questionable pedigree! - galore at Discover Dogs!
Bill King doing his bit for the Kennel Club Charitable Trust!
Dylan is tops at Scruffts!
Dylan pictured with owner Mandy and judge Matt Baker
PROUD OWNER Mandy Blake was over the moon last weekend as celebrity judge Matt Baker pronounced her dog Dylan the Scrufts Family Crossbreed of the Year at Earls Court, London.
Organised by the Kennel Club, Scruffts is the nation’s favourite annual crossbreed competition, which provides great fun for owners and their dogs. Good character, health and temperament with people and other dogs are qualities that are looked for in the following four classes; Most Handsome Crossbreed dog, Prettiest Bitch, Child’s Best Friend and Golden Oldie Crossbreed.
Mandy from Portishead, Somerset, said: ‘We’re on cloud nine and have thoroughly enjoyed taking part and winning – Dylan especially. He’s come such a long way as a rescue dog, after all his problems. He even shows other rescue dogs how to behave, by acting calmly, he is helping other dogs with behavioural problems to settle down.’
Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: ‘Well done to Mandy and Dylan, they’ve done brilliantly. It’s been an exciting and fascinating competition with thousands of dogs of all ages, shapes and sizes from across the country joining in the fun.’
The competition is run in support of the Kennel Club Charitable Trust, which works to help make a difference for dogs by funding a wide variety of work ranging from supporting research into canine diseases to welfare initiatives and the promotion of dogs, all of which help to provide dogs with healthier and happier lives.
The Scruffts Family Crossbreed of the Year Grand Final is just one of the exciting events that took place at Discover Dogs. For more information about Scruffts and heats happening in 2007, visit www.discover-dogs.org.uk or www.scruffts.org.uk.
Junior Warrant 2006
The Kennel Gazette Junior Warrant Winner of the Year 2006 Semi-Final is held on the first day of Discover Dogs, and the competition co-ordinators are Kelly Prosser, Shirley Cowan, Sylvie Lyus and Yvette Prosser. They each work very hard to make sure it all runs smoothly before the event and on the day.
Chief Steward is the eminently capable and efficient Gerald King and the commentary is carried out by Mrs Annette Oliver-Wyles.
The semi-finals attract 58 qualifiers and they are split into two groups, the judge for ring 1 this year was Mr Tom Mather and for ring 2 Mrs Eleanor Bothwell was officiating.
Competition was very high and it is no mean task to commentate on two rings at the same time.
In ring 1 Mr Mather went over each of his exhibits with gentleness and dexterity, and keeping a watchful eye as each went through its paces.
Mrs Bothwell did likewise with each of her exhibits and their timing was impeccable, they completed their judging within two minutes of each other.
Mrs Bothwell, having finished first, shortlisted her group to 9 before selctinging her 5 dogs to go through to the Crufts final. Included in the shortlist were Mr & Mrs Martin’s Bulldog Calibra Kryptonite JW, Mr & Mrs Oxley’s L/H Dachs Owlery Valentine JW, Poyser & Bodell’s Tinamba Angel of the Locket JW and Mr & Mrs Turbull’s Whippet Crosscop Summer Breeze at Turnstone JW.
After looking at each one again her mind was made up and Mrs Bothwell put through Miss Addoo’s ESS Reulemill Thomas Mculty JW, Mr Andrew’s Tibetan Terrier Lasang Wahoo JW, Mrs Gillman’s Lhasa Apso Mytilene Midnight Cowboy JW, Mr Palmer’s ESS Roandrew Daisy Dunnit JW and the Bearded Collie Gillaber Kincorth JW belonging to Mr & Mrs Stead.
In Ring 1 Mr Mather’s dogs were all assembled and he too took another glance at each one. He knew exactly what he liked and picked out his final selection immediately. He put through Mr & Mrs Harrison-Stratford’s Dalmatian Acland Dark Daughter by Dalkereve JW, Miss Laidlaw’s Great Dane Kantalar Sweet and Innocent JW, followed by Mr Palmer’s ESS Roandrew Dez Diddit JW and Mr & Mrs Paradise’s Lhasa Shardlow Rose Petals Fall Over Cedarpoint JW. The final spot went to Walker & Roberts GSP Jolicoem Inspiration JW.
We all look forward to seeing them at the Grand Final at Crufts in 2007.
DTA and Debbie get scanning at DD
Nikki Powditch and Margaret Nawrockyi of Dog Theft Action with Debbie Matthews
of Vets Get Scanning at Discover Dogs last weekend.
Margaret Nawrockyi of Dog Theft Action and Debbie Matthews of Vets Get Scanning drawing traffle tickets for DTA's ' Win a Nintendog' competition at Discover Dogs
THE LEADING dog theft awareness group Dog Theft Action were again guests of the Kennel Club at this year’s Discover Dogs event, held last weekend at Earls Court 2, London.
This year stand 22 was the venue for a very successful association between DTA and Bruce Forsyth’s Vets Get Scanning group, which was founded by Bruce and his daughter Debbie Matthews after Debbie’s dogs were stolen earlier this year. Gizmo and Widget returned home after a huge media campaign.
The message to all visitors was - as ever ‘prevention is better than cure’. The two groups discussed the need for rigid security measures where dogs are concerned and the need for permanent identification.
VGS urged visitors to the stand to contact their own vets to ask them to scan all dogs prior to non-emergency treatment. This simple but effective procedure would establish the presence of a microchip and any suspicions that the dog may in fact have been stolen, could then be reported to the PetLog Reunification Service.
Margaret Nawrockyi, Co-ordinator for DTA commented: ‘The trustees of Dog Theft Action (DTA) would like to thank the Kennel Club for their generous donation of a stand at Discover Dogs last weekend. This is the second time DTA have participated in Discover Dogs as guests of the KC.
This event offers visitors information on every possible aspect of dog ownership so it is appropriate that advice and information on dog theft was available.’
A full report of DTA’s activities at Discover Dogs will appear in next week’s issue.