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British Barbets’ success in France

On August 12th Le Club du Barbet, du Lagotto et Autres Chiens d’Eau held its annual show at Le Blanc, Indre. A good number of international members had made long journeys to the centre of France and seven countries were represented in total – Finland, Sweden, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Italy, Great Britain and France, writes Fiona Lucas.

BarbetsThe Barbet (FCI Group 8) is a breed of French ‘chien de chasse’, or gundog as it would be referred to in the U.K. It has a very long history and was for many years the wildfowler’s dog of choice. The day before the show, there was a Barbet "breed meeting" which proved extremely interesting; much stimulating discussion on a variety of breed-relevant topics ensued with a wide variety of opinions expressed in several languages!

Amongst the subjects covered were the breed standard, health issues, breeding policy, and the possible formation of an International Club. All-in-all a very valuable exchange of views took place and the meeting was unanimous in its desire to work, more or less, in the same way and direction for the future benefit of this endangered French hunting dog of ancient heritage. Another point of interest and something quite alien to us was the fact that most owners took their dogs with them everywhere; every person in the meeting, which took place in a circle, had one or more dogs lying at his or her feet. At the club meal at a restaurant in the evening, where 88 members sat down to dinner, there were dogs under the tables and between my chair and that of the woman at the next table, three twelve-week-old puppies (on leads) played quietly throughout the meal!

Sunday morning saw the arrival of the 47 Barbets, 35 Lagotti, 14 Caos de Agua and four Perros de Agua entered for the show. This was a National Club Show and the system of judging was very different from any that I have previously experienced. There were three rings shared by a "jury" of three judges. Each class was judged and then waited in the ring for the next judge to "rotate" to its ring. Thus all three judges judged each class in turn. No results were issued at the end of the third judging, but were later posted on a results board at one end of the hall. Each judge awarded a category to each dog – Exc., T.B., B., Ins. (Excellent, Very good, Good and Insufficient [to conform to the standard]) Each category could also be modified with a + or a -. On the results sheets each judge had a column, thus it was immediately apparent which judge had awarded each category and then in the fourth column the dog’s position in the class was written. This position was based upon the overall category, being the majority decision of the three judges.

Class categories were Working, Veteran (over 8 years). Baby puppy, Puppy, Youth, Intermediate, Open and Champion. Dogs and bitches were judged separately as usual. U.K. successes came in the Barbet Intermediate Bitch class where Betsy Bonheur de la Baie des Landes gained first place with three Excellent marks and Be Poppy came third with two TB`s and an Exc. Both dogs were bred in France and are owned by Wendy Preston from Ringwood, Hampshire. Sue Tweedie continued the UK`s success with her Portuguese Waterdogs. Biley's Kanon Lyran Big Bang at Rysalka won the Intermediate Male Male (curly) class and Rysalka Moon Diva won the Open Female (wavy coat) class, both with three Exc`s. B.O.B. (barbet) went to Alex Los’s Quaciendas Amy Unique from the Netherlands. Alex also took B.I.S with his Lagotto Romakome Duchessina Tina and B.P.S with his Lagotto Quaciendas Cleopatra Brillante.