Wow, it is not very often that I am stuck for something to say, but by the end of the weekend, I was actually lost for words! For those that attended, you will know what I mean, for those that didn’t, you missed out on a very special event!
The weekend started for us at 7am at Birmingham Airport, when we went to collect Dr Linda Tintle. It was the dreariest morning you could imagine, grey, overcast and raining. What a start as we welcomed Linda to England! But, by the time everyone had gathered for the first event of the weekend, the Shar Pei of the Year competition, the weather was glorious - perhaps an omen of what was to come.
The Windsor Suite, beautifully decorated with Union Jacks, Stars and Stripes and Shar Pei Club of Great Britain banners, welcomed one and all, and the competition got underway. Not without a hiccup though! The hotel had received a message from the judge who sadly had got caught up in standing traffic on the M6 and was not going to get to the hotel in time. How sad for that person – whoever you are, if you are reading this, we are sorry you didn’t make it - you missed a magnificent event.
Our after-dinner speaker Mr Frank Kane, who had just arrived at the hotel, very kindly stepped into the breach and took on the extra role of judge and for this, we give him our sincere thanks. I think he enjoyed himself – the competitors and audience certainly did, his decisions being greeted with much applause. He found his overall “Shar Pei of the Year” in Ch & Am Ch Asia’s Red Marsh Whip It Good, Shar Pei Veteran of the Year was Ch & Fr Ch Forgevalley Pause and Pose for Chequerpei ShCM and Shar Pei Puppy of the Year was Ch Panrico Bridget Jones.
The competition over, it was time for the socialising to begin and the room was speedily transformed by the hotel staff into a formal dining room. The tables looked beautiful, each decked with a floral decoration, a balloon and flags and the guests all came in having changed into their finery. A most enjoyable meal was served and that over we all enjoyed the anecdotes of Mr Kane’s after dinner speech. Next came the auction and Mr Lee Arnold was most ably in charge of the gavel. We were not a huge crowd but I can honestly say that it was a magnificent crowd because with Lee’s encouragement, we raised the staggering sum of £1153 in aid of the Shar Pei Charitable Trust. I still feel honoured to have been part of it and I know Lee was delighted as the Trust is very close to his heart. Tim Ball had donated a personal bank draft to the amount of £300 which brought the total amount to donate to the Trust to almost £2000….how amazing is that! A huge huge thank you to everyone whose generosity was outstanding. Apart from the Charity Auction, there was a silent auction which attracted a good deal of interest, especially as the shut off time approached, and everyone was rushing to see if they had ‘won’ that special item. Raffle tickets had been sold throughout the day and that too was a huge success. In the end, we raised a further £400 for Club funds.
A good boogie!
Finally, the disco fired up and almost immediately the dance floor was full with gyrating bodies. I had been heard to say that “disco was really not my thing” but within minutes, I was boogying along with all the others. The disco went on till the early hours when people finally retired for what was left of the night – ready for the all important event the following day.
Bright and early Sunday morning, almost 60 people gathered back in the Windsor Suite for the Health Seminar. Our Club president, Mrs Jane Lilley, opened the day and formerly introduced our speakers. First to take the floor was Mr Lee Arnold, who spoke first on his work with the AKC Canine Health Foundation, followed by his association with the Chinese Shar Pei Charitable Trust, how it was conceived and the work it carries out today. A very eloquent speaker, the audience was immediately attentive and interested to hear how some of the money the Shar Pei Club of Great Britain has donated had been spent. Following Lee was Dr Linda Tintle, speaking on eyes. What a speaker this lady is…. her enthusiasm and love of the breed was immediately evident and whilst she was speaking you could have heard a pin drop. She told it how it is – frank and to the point, but added that with selective breeding, the situation could be much improved. After a short coffee break, Linda was back in front of the podium speaking about skin. It was extremely interesting to hear the results of research carried out in this area. Again, her enthusiasm captivated everyone and at the conclusion of the talk, she was greeted with great applause.
Lunch followed and everyone enjoyed a super meal which almost everyone ate outside in the glorious sunshine.
Reconvened, next to speak was Dr Ruth Barbour from our own Kennel Club. Another speaker who was so obviously enthusiastic about her topic, which was “Fit For Function – Fit For Life”. No-one can argue with the theory of this campaign - we all want our dogs and the puppies we breed to be able to live a long, happy and healthy life.
The final talk of the day was again presented by Linda. In no way was she jaded by already having spoken for almost 3 hours. She presented her talk on Amyloidosis and FSF with the same enthusiasm and vigour as when she first started. This topic was far more technical than the others had been, but Linda still captivated the audience. We had allocated a break in this talk to give people a chance to stretch their legs and have an afternoon drink, and during the break, we cut the beautiful cake, which had been donated by Mike and Julie Gardener in honour of the event.
Linda then took the chair for the final session and by the time she finished, she had been speaking for almost 6 hours. How on earth she managed to do this is remarkable. Her passion and in-depth knowledge was so evident and on such a technical subject she was still able to put it across in a way which was understandable, never faultering on the information or the presentation…. and she still had the energy to take questions from the floor!
The Club would like to thank everyone for their unlimited generosity and support, which all contributed to the success of the event; to Mr Frank Kane for taking over the role of judge, the speakers – Mr Lee Arnold, Dr Linda Tintle and Dr Ruth Barbour whose inputs were invaluable, to our President Mrs Jane Lilley for presiding over the watch and keeping everything on track, to our sponsor Wafcol, to Mike and Julie Gardener for the super cake and especially to the committee of the Shar Pei Club of Great Britain, without whose dedication and commitment this event would not have taken place and last, but certainly not least, to everyone who attended.
This report has superlatives in abundance, and that is so representative of the weekend…. it really was a weekend of superlatives. As the audience was leaving, someone was overheard to say “how can they better that?” All I can say is “We will try!” The overall consensus of opinion is that the weekend was a resounding success…. roll on the second “Weekend of the Shar Pei”. Watch this space. For those who didn’t make it, you missed a very special event.
A delight for the breed devotee
by Frank Kane
I arrived at the excellent venue, The Royal Court Hotel, Coventry, expecting a relaxed afternoon watching the judging and then fulfilling my designated role as after-dinner speaker. I was just enjoying Channel Four racing when there was a knock on my door and a rather harassed event organiser telling me that the judge elect had been stranded on the M6 and could not make the event. Panic! And having exhausted every possibility, the organising committee asked if I would double up on my duties and judge the Shar Pei of the Year competition. Goodbye Channel Four racing and the Scottish Grand National: hello breed standard, fortunately printed in the excellent seminar material produced for the weekend.
On the last two occasions when I was scheduled to give CCs in the breed, I was unable to do so for health and family reasons, so it was a case of third time lucky – with the advantage that I had not been near breed judging for a long time so nearly all the exhibits were new to me.
Organised on a match basis, all the exhibits had to qualify for the competition.
Only two veterans present and my winner was Butterfield’s Ch/Fr Ch Forgevalley Pause and Pose for Chequerpei ShCM, a ten year old of wonderful balance, still firm and fit and holding his correct topline on the move. A great ambassador for the breed.
Best Puppy resulted in a final three of great quality and my choice was the bitch, Smith’s Ch Panrico Bridget Jones, and I was delighted to find out later that she already has her title. Delighted but not surprised as she is brimful of quality and is a picture of balance with type and soundness. In reserve spot was the dog, Ball & Bradley’s Am Ch Willo’s Reddy For This Jolerob Kaitak (imp), I see also an American title-holder. Body shape and movement are beautiful. Not the finish of body that the winner has, but a great prospect for the future.
In the Adult section I ended up with three males. Perhaps I should mention the last bitch in the semi-finals, Lloyd’s Sharsown Jessica Rabbit JW ShCM, and the young bitch, Stephenson & Rees’ Headholme Evita at Loupei, which I also liked very much.
The last three males were Ball, Bradley, Marshall & Myers’ Ch/Am Ch Asia’s Red Marsh Whip It Good (imp), Shaw’s Ch Kolnago Bloomin Terrific and Baker’s Ch Jentiki Jigsaw Puzzle, and I placed them in that order. The winner looked the finished product on the day, scoring in rib and chest. He is all male without exaggeration or coarseness and he is a very good mover. His nearest challenger is just two years old and is a beautiful quality example of the breed. He too is ultra sound. Against the winner he looked unfinished – as is to be expected – a case of the adolescent against the mature male. In third place was Ch Jentiki Jigsaw Puzzle, who was carrying too much weight on the day which just distracted from underline and topline but he has a lot to recommend him.
I was very impressed by the overall quality in the exhibits. Only a couple of youngsters who were a little overawed by the occasion. Wrinkling was moderate and without exaggeration and the majority of hocks were clean and free from thickening or folds. I saw only one sign of an eye irritation amongst all the exhibits on the day. What progress in the breed over the past two decades, and credit should be given to the serious and dedicated breeders for this healthier state of the breed.
The Saturday evening dinner showed the Shar Pei people know how to enjoy themselves, a raucous and often hilarious auction, with the proceeds going to the Chinese Shar Pei Charitable Trust, was conducted by USA Shar Pei enthusiast Mr Lee Arnold, Vice President of the American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation and member of the American Kennel Club’s Board of Directors. A silent auction and a raffle added to the health funds so around £1500 in all was raised. And then to the dance floor. I now see Jane Lilley in a new light! Is she destined for Britain’s Got Talent as a disco diva?
Health was the total agenda for the second day of the Shar Pei weekend with Lee Arnold speaking on the work of the Chinese Shar Pei Charitable Trust and the AKC Canine Health Foundation.
Main attraction of the day however was Dr Linda Tintle, eminent American Vet, a Shar Pei breeder and owner and a foremost researcher in Shar Pei health conditions. In her several sessions during the day she covered eye problems, Shar Pei Fever, skin conditions and other conditions found in the breed. I am sure these talks will be covered in more detail elsewhere, but I would say that I found Dr Tintle inspirational as a speaker, with a huge passion for the breed and a great wealth of knowledge. What an asset for the breed.
Dr Ruth Barbour spoke on the Kennel Club’s “Fit for Function – Fit for Life” campaign and explained the rationale behind the amendment of breed standards and the need to eschew exaggeration in breeding programmes and when judging the breed.
The very good attendance at this health seminar is evidence of the dedication of the breeders – they care about their breed, have worked hard to produce healthier dogs and are determined to take this further. They represent what is best in dog breeding – a far cry from the image of the dog breeder perpetrated by biased and sensationalised media reports.
Great credit must go to the event organisers – a huge amount of planning throughout the year goes into the Shar Pei weekend, incidentally dedicated to the memory of breed devotee, Ann Lomas. This is the 10th Anniversary event – long may it continue. I wish the Club, and the breed, a prosperous, and above all, a healthy future.
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