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    December 7th, 2016Laura P (Editor)Articles, Crufts 2017

    Owners of vulnerable British and Irish dog breeds are reminded that entry to the Kennel Club’s dedicated Crufts competition closes at the end of the year.

    To raise awareness of vulnerable native breeds, and to recognise those who are dedicated to their survival and prosperity, the Kennel Club created the Vulnerable British and Irish Breeds Competition in 2015. Its inaugural year was met with great enthusiasm by exhibitors and saw the top scoring winner from each vulnerable breed invited to attend the first grand final, held at Crufts 2016.

    The final at Crufts 2017 will be held on Friday 10th March at the NEC in Birmingham.

    The competition, which is sponsored by Eukanuba and run in conjunction with media partner Our Dogs, is open to dogs of all vulnerable breeds competing at open and championship shows, and dogs of breeds on the Kennel Club’s vulnerable breeds list are able to collect points for awards at these shows. Points can be claimed for Best of Breed or Best Any Variety Not Separately Classified (AVNSC) and also for group placings at championship shows.

    Exhibitors should record their Best of Breed/Group wins on the Vulnerable British and Irish Breeds Competition claim form/book for points gained from January to December 2016, and then submit this to the Kennel Club for verification (points will be awarded for championship and specific open show wins). 

    Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: “The Kennel Club has been delighted with the response to the competition so far and is pleased that we are able to give these vulnerable breeds the recognition that they deserve. 

    “Now that the deadline is approaching, we would remind owners of these breeds that they need to fill out a claim form if they wish to have the opportunity to compete on the famous green carpet. Crufts is a wonderful showcase for pedigree dogs and the perfect chance to show the world just how special the rare British and Irish native breeds really are.”

    To take part, exhibitors need to download a Kennel Club British and Irish Breeds Competition claim form from the Kennel Club website:http://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/activities/dog-showing/vulnerable-breeds-competition/.

    The completed form must be submitted to the Breed Shows Team at breedshows@thekennelclub.org.ukby 5th January 2017. The Crufts finalist for each breed will be notified by the Kennel Club.

    How points are awarded:

    Single breed open shows and all breed/group open shows:

    Best of Breed/Best in AVNSC classes     1 point

    Championship shows

    Best of Breed/Best in AVNSC classes     1 point

    Group winner                                               4 points

    2nd place in group                                      3 points

    3rd place in group                                        2 points

    4th place in group                                        1 point

    Vulnerable British and Irish Breeds 2016:

    Bloodhound, Cardigan Welsh Corgis, Clumber Spaniels, Curly Coated Retrievers, Dandie Dinmont Terriers, Deerhounds, English Setters, English Toy Terriers (Black and Tan), Field Spaniels, Glen of Imaal Terriers, Gordon Setters, Irish Red & White Setters, Irish Terriers, Irish Water Spaniels, Irish Wolfhounds, Kerry Blue Terriers, King Charles Spaniels, Lakeland Terriers, Lancashire Heelers,  Manchester Terriers, Mastiffs, Miniature Bull Terriers, Norwich Terriers, Otterhounds, Sealyham Terriers, Skye Terriers, Smooth Collies, Smooth Fox Terriers, and Sussex Spaniels.

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    November 7th, 2016Laura P (Editor)Articles, Crufts, Crufts 2017

    The Young Kennel Club (YKC) is seeking nominations for the next Shaun McAlpine Outstanding Young Person of the Year, which will be awarded at the world’s biggest dog show, Crufts, in March 2017.

    Through five different categories, the prestigious award acknowledges and highlights the positive contribution that YKC members make to the world of dogs. The categories are:

    • Young Braveheart of the Year: Recognising young people who have overcome personal barriers with their dog to achieve success.
    • Champion Volunteer of the Year: Recognising young people who give up their time to volunteer to help others.
    • Good Buddy of the Year: Recognising young people and their dogs who have proved themselves to be good role models.
    • Sporting Talent of the Year: Recognising young people who demonstrate a real passion for competing with or training their dog.
    • Fundraiser of the Year: Recognising young people who raise money for good causes.

    Previous winners of the annual competition have been selected for their volunteering and fundraising for dog charities, helping organise dog activities in the local community, and assisting others through training, stewarding and mentoring.

    Shortlisted nominees for each category will be invited to Crufts 2017 for a special presentation ceremony where the overall winner will be announced and will receive £750 to be used towards helping them progress their love of dogs.

    Young Kennel Club Chairman, Gerald King said: “Each year we really look forward to the announcement of the Shaun McAlpine Outstanding Young Person of the Year and it’s fantastic to hear about all the outstanding commitments of our YKC members. This award allows us to recognise young people working and helping dogs, reminding us of the way in which the two together can make such a difference in society.

    “Last year’s overall winner was a perfect example of the dedication of our members. Charlotte-Louise Page won ‘Fundraiser of the Year’ after raising £3,000 for a number of charities including the likes of Dogs for Good and Macmillan. Charlotte’s incredible achievements included climbing Ben Nevis with her Dalmatian, Pandora as well as taking on the Virgin London Marathon. We look forward to discovering more passionate and committed members like Charlotte with this year’s award.”

    The award is the highest level of achievement for young dog lovers. For over twenty five years, Ed and Cindy McAlpine have presented the Shaun McAlpine Outstanding Young Person of the Year award in memory of their son. The trophy is awarded annually to encourage young dog lovers to become more involved in dog activities, as Shaun himself had achieved considerable success as a dog handler.

    Anyone can nominate a YKC member in one of the Shaun McAlpine Outstanding Young Person of the Year award categories by submitting the application online from now until 1st December 2016. For more information or support with nominating, please contact ykc@thekennelclub.org.uk or call 020 7518 1030.

    Once nominations have been revealed, the general public will then decide the winner via an online vote on the YKC Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/YoungKennelClub/

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    October 20th, 2016Laura P (Editor)Articles, Crufts 2017

    A nationwide search has begun to find the UK’s top dog hero, to be crowned the 2017 winner of the annual Eukanuba Friends for Life competition, celebrating a lifetime of friendship and the heart-warming stories of how humans and dogs transform and enrich each other’s lives.

    The Kennel Club, the UK’s largest dog welfare organisation, in partnership with Eukanuba, the experts in super premium pet nutrition, is searching for inspiring stories from across the country that showcase just how much dogs do for humans throughout their lives, and is calling for the public to nominate a canine companion that deserves to be recognised for what they do.

    The winner of the Eukanuba Friends for Life competition will be revealed at Crufts 2017, at the NEC, Birmingham on Sunday 12 March, and will win £3,000 for a dog charity of their choice.  Runners up will receive £750 for their chosen dog charity.

    The public are being asked to nominate dogs in the following categories:

    Nominations are open until 12 December 2016 and four finalists will be chosen to go forward to the final at Crufts 2017, where the overall winner, selected by public vote, will be announced before the grand finale of the Crufts Best in Show award.

    Previous winners of the competition include 2016 winner Boo the Lurcher, who is credited with transforming the life of owner Rosie Reid following complications in pregnancy that left her unable to have children and suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder; Miracle, a rescue dog who was to be cruelly slaughtered for meat but who is now changing the life of his owner six year-old Kyle who has cerebral palsy; and Haatchi, an Anatolian Shepherd who had his leg and tail amputated after being deliberately tied to a railway line and struck by a train, only to be rescued and rehomed with seven year-old Owen Howkins, who has a rare genetic condition which causes his muscles to be permanently tense, and his family.

    Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: “Dogs play a significant role in our lives. Every day there are dogs out there saving lives in war zones, giving confidence and independence to those with disabilities, and showing remarkable bravery and loyalty as pets.

    “Eukanuba Friends for Life is an opportunity to celebrate these dogs, who quietly go about changing people’s lives in their own unique and special way. We are looking forward to hearing from anybody who has a heart-warming tale about how their dog has changed their life for the better or how a friend has had their life transformed by their dog.

    “As a fitting tribute, the winner will take centre stage at the Genting Arena during Crufts 2017, an event which is dedicated to celebrating the diverse role that dogs play in society and the way that they enrich our lives.

    “We encourage anybody whose dog has earned the title of Eukanuba Friend for Life to put them forward for recognition in this competition.”

    Annaliese Reekie, Managing Director for Eukanuba UK said: “Eukanuba Friends for Life celebrates the unique relationship we have with our dogs and the important role they play throughout our life and their own. At Eukanuba, we want to help extraordinary dogs everywhere to live a long, happy and healthy life with our high quality nutrition together with appropriate care. I have always had dogs in my life so know the joy, comfort and loyalty they bring; ultimately they will never let you down. I can’t wait to hear this year’s incredible stories of how dogs give us a lifetime of love, care and support.”

    For further information and to nominate a dog, visit www.crufts.org.uk/content/eukanuba-friends-for-life.

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    July 31st, 2016Laura P (Editor)Crufts 2017

    Rally is to join established favourite events in the obedience ring at Crufts 2017, the Kennel Club has announced.

    The revised programme for next year is as follows:

    • Thursday – Inter-Regional Rally competition followed by the Obreedience competition.
    • Friday – Inter-Regional Obedience competition.
    • Saturday – Obedience Championships for dogs.
    • Sunday – Obedience Championships for bitches.

    Gerald King, Crufts Chairman, said: “Crufts 2017 looks set to be an action-packed showcase for the world of obedience. We are very excited to have rally join the ever-popular Inter-Regional Obedience, Obreedience and Obedience Championships for dogs and bitches at the world’s largest dog show. We are expecting all obedience activities to draw in the usual large crowds of people who love dogs, love Crufts and love these compelling competitions.”

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    July 31st, 2016Laura P (Editor)Crufts 2017

    Twelve Obreedience heats which will enable dogs and their owners to qualify for the Obreedience competition at Crufts 2017 have been announced by the Kennel Club.

    The heats, held throughout the year at various dog shows around the country, including breed club shows, General Championship shows and obedience shows, will enable teams to compete to accumulate points at as many heats as they choose.  The ten breed teams with the highest number of points will qualify to compete at Crufts 2017.

    The Kennel Club is encouraging as many teams, comprising four dogs and four handlers, as possible to enter the heats and demonstrate the obedience skills of their respective breeds.  Teams can be made up of dogs of any level of obedience ability, but a good foundation in obedience will be particularly beneficial.

    The twelve heats for 2016 are:

    Show

    Type of show

    Venue and date

    Southern Counties Canine Society General Championship 3-5 June 2016 at Newbury Showground, Priors Court, Hermitage,
    Thatcham, Berkshire
    Solihull Dog Training Club Rally 11 June 2016 at Woodrush Rugby Football Ground, Icknield Street, Forhill, Birmingham
    Chalfield Dog Training Club Open Obedience 19 June 2016 at Rushcliffe Country Park, RuddingtonNottinghamshire
    Yeovil & District Canine Society Premier Open Show 26 June 2016 at Bath and West Showground, Shepton Mallet, Somerset
    Glandore Dog Training Club of Ulster Open Obedience 30-31 July 2016 at Greenisland War Memorial Sports Club, Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland
    Forest Oak (Glos) Canine Society Rally 6 August 2016 at Forest Oak Farm, Lydney, Gloucestershire
    Horley & District Show Society Open All Breeds 28 August 2016 at South of England Showground, Ardingly, West Sussex
    Wakefield Dog Training Club Open Obedience 29 August 2016 at West Yorkshire Sports and Social Club, Wakefield, West Yorkshire
    Canine Performers at Paws in the Park KC Heelwork to Music show (at Paws in the Park) 18 September 2016 at the Kent Showground, Detling, Kent
    Lagotto Romagnolo Club of Great Britain Rally 24-25 September 2016 at Green Acres, Hellidon Road, Daventry, Northamptonshire
    The Kennel Club Obreedience heat 3 December 2016 at the Kennel Club Building, Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire
    Ladies Kennel Association General Championship 10-11 December 2016 at the NEC, Birmingham

    Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: “Obreedience is a fun competition which showcases the obedience abilities of any breed, so we would encourage as many teams as possible to enter for their chance to qualify for Crufts 2017.

    “Previously we’ve seen breeds such as Samoyeds, Newfoundlands, Greyhounds and Chihuahuas taking part in Obreedience and we are excited to see which breeds will be forming teams and entering the heats this year.  It’s a great opportunity for dog lovers to form a team with friends, have fun and showcase what their chosen breeds are capable of.

    “We have a fairly even geographical split of heats throughout the remainder of 2016 so would encourage interested parties to check the Kennel Club website to find their nearest one.  Teams can compete in as many heats as they like to accrue points, with the ten teams with the most points qualifying to compete at the world’s biggest and best dog show, Crufts, in 2017.”

    Mixing the best aspects of obedience with the camaraderie found amongst breed clubs, the aim of Obreedience is to encourage more breeds to have a go at some of the tasks associated with obedience in a less formal but none the less competitive environment. Obreedience is a team event and highlights the obedience competencies of each breed in a fun and exciting way

    Each team comprises four handlers and four dogs who take part in two rounds of competition. The first round sees the dogs complete a round of heelwork together as a group. The dogs will be assessed on their ability to complete different moves whilst remaining synchronised with their team mates. Round one will be marked out of ten points.

    Round two features four set exercises and each team member will need to successfully complete one of the exercises to secure as many points as possible for their team. The exercises will include a Retrieve (handler’s own article), Send to Bed, Stop the Dog and Scent Over Articles. Round two will be marked out of 40 points (10 per set exercise).

    Once the teams have completed the heats the scores will be added up and the winners and runners up will be announced.

    To enter a heat, interested parties should contact the host club directly.

    For more information on Obreedience qualifying heats, including the competition rules and FAQs for secretaries and competitors, please visit www.thekennelclub.org.uk/obreedience.

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    July 27th, 2016Laura P (Editor)Articles, Crufts 2016

    The Kennel Club has been working closely with the German Shepherd Dog clubs over a significant number of years in an attempt to address issues surrounding the breed. However, it appears that the various initiatives designed to improve matters have had very little effect and this in turn is serving to damage the reputation of dog breeders, not just in this breed but across all breeds.

    Matters came to a head at Crufts this year where the exhibition of GSDs once again came under intense scrutiny, which merely served to reinforce the Kennel Club’s concerns for the breed’s future. As a result of this, a review group was established to examine the issues surrounding the GSD.

    In particular, the culture of double-handling widely practised and condoned at breed club shows was felt to be having a detrimental effect on the temperament of dogs which often show symptoms of enormous stress while being exhibited and at other times. Erratic movement and apparently exaggerated conformation were other concerns which the review group looked at.

    In attempting to address the worsening in the breed’s reputation, the General Committee, guided by the review group, initially considered de-registering the breed and/or removing its CC status. Both these measures would have had the effect of driving breeders outside the influence of the Kennel Club, doubtless causing a further decline in the breed, and eventually implementation was decided against.

    Another measure, making it compulsory for breed club championship shows to be held in conjunction with group and general championship shows, was also discussed but has not been implemented at this stage due to the huge changes in infrastructure which would be necessary.

    In June of this year, the Kennel Club issued a press release in which it stated that the General Committee had expressed concern over the current situation which it would not allow to deteriorate further. Included in this announcement was a list of stringent measures the General Committee was considering in relation to the breed.

    These measures have now been discussed and as a result the General Committee makes the following directives:

    • The GSD Breed Standard is to be changed as of 1 August 2016 to include additional wording to emphasise the importance of the dogs being capable of standing comfortably and calmly, freely and unsupported in any way(underlined): “Characteristics: Versatile working dog, balanced and free from exaggeration. Must be capable of standing comfortably and calmly, freely and unsupported in any way, in structural balance, whilst both rear pasterns are vertical. Attentive, alert, resilient and tireless with keen scenting ability.”
    • Each judge of GSDs must understand their role which includes proper control of the ring and adherence to Kennel Club regulations at all times. Judges who ignore the Breed Standard and/or allow double-handling will risk having future CC appointments rejected.
    • All championship show judging contracts for 2018 and beyond are suspended with immediate effect until such time as each judge has attended a Kennel Club judges’ education seminar. The Kennel Club is to establish a programme of these seminars throughout the UK for championship show judges and expects that all judges of the breed will adhere to the points made, which will emphasise that the breed is to be exhibited in the same manner as all other large pastoral breeds. Click here to see details of judges’ training seminars on the GSD.
    • Kennel Club representatives will be appointed as soon as possible to attend all championship shows where CCs are on offer for the breed. They will work with the show societies and judges to curtail double-handling and will have executive authority to put into effect the previously agreed escalation procedure for double-handling if the show societies and/or judges do not do so. Shows which allow double-handling will risk having their future CC status rejected. Click here to see information on the escalation procedure for double-handling.
    • There is to be a review of the Category Three Breed veterinary check guidelines for the GSD breed to ensure that health and welfare concerns continue to be addressed.

    Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: “The Kennel Club was given no option but to address the issues which the breed itself seemed to be taking far too long to address and which came to a head at Crufts this year.

    “The health and welfare of dogs is the primary objective of the Kennel Club and, where a breed experiences any issues in this respect, the Kennel Club has an obligation to take action where it can. The time for that action is now.

    “This situation simply cannot continue as not only is the health and welfare of the breed at risk but this is having a detrimental effect on the reputation of all breeders, pedigree dogs, dog showing and the Kennel Club.

    “The implementation of these measures involves a considerable financial commitment on behalf of the Kennel Club, which demonstrates the level of investment that has been made to protect the future of this breed.”

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    June 14th, 2016Laura P (Editor)Crufts, Crufts 2017

    The Kennel Club has announced that its Vulnerable British & Irish Breeds Competition will take place once again this year, culminating in a grand final at Crufts 2017.

    To raise awareness of vulnerable British & Irish breeds, and to recognise those who are dedicated to their survival and prosperity, the Kennel Club created the competition in 2015. Its inaugural year was met with great enthusiasm by exhibitors and saw the top scoring winner from each vulnerable breed invited to attend the first grand final, held at Crufts 2016.

    The competition, which is sponsored by Eukanuba and run in conjunction with media partner Our Dogs, is open to all vulnerable breeds competing at Open and Championship Shows, and dogs that are on the Kennel Club’s vulnerable breeds list are able to collect points for awards at these shows. Points can be claimed for Best of Breed or Best Any Variety Not Separately Classified (AVNSC) and also for Group placings at Championship shows.

    The aim is for dogs to collect the highest number of points in their breed in a calendar year. At the end of the year, the top scoring dog from each breed will be invited to compete in the grand final.

    Exhibitors should record their Best of Breed/Group wins on the Vulnerable British and Irish Breeds Competition claim form/book for points gained from January to December 2016, and then submit this to the Kennel Club for verification at the end of the year (points will be awarded for Championship and specific Open Show wins).

    Points may be claimed retrospectively this year (from shows held on or after 1st January 2016) and exhibitors can also submit updates to Our Dogs which will publish monthly leader boards.

    Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: “The Kennel Club has been delighted with the response to the competition so far and is pleased that we are able to give these vulnerable breeds the recognition that they deserve.

    “The Kennel Club would encourage show societies to work with breed clubs of vulnerable native breeds so that these clubs can inspire their membership to enter the classes and take part in the competition. Crufts is a wonderful showcase for pedigree dogs and the perfect chance to show the world just how special the rare British and Irish native breeds really are.”

    To take part, exhibitors need to download a Kennel Club British & Irish Breeds Competition claim form from the Kennel Club website:http://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/activities/dog-showing/vulnerable-breeds-competition/.

    At the end of the year, the completed form must be submitted to the Breed Shows Team atbreedshows@thekennelclub.org.uk and the Crufts finalists will be notified by the Kennel Club.

    Competitors can track their success on the official leader board, which is published in the monthly competition feature in Our Dogs. Anyone taking part is reminded to regularly log their points with Our Dogs by submitting the completed points tracker form either by email (pam@ourdogs.co.uk) or at the Our Dogs stand at General and Group Championship Shows.

    How points are awarded:

    Single Breed Open shows and All Breed/Group Open shows:

    Best of Breed/Best in AVNSC Classes    1 point

    Championship Shows

    Best of Breed/Best in AVNSC Classes    1 point

    Group Winner                                         4 points

    2nd Place in Group                                 3 points

    3rd Place in Group                                  2 points

    4th Place in Group                                  1 point

    Vulnerable British and Irish Breeds 2016:

    Bloodhound, Cardigan Welsh Corgis, Clumber Spaniels, Curly Coated Retrievers, Dandie Dinmont Terriers, Deerhounds, English Setters, English Toy Terriers (Black and Tan), Field Spaniels, Glen of Imaal Terriers, Gordon Setters, Irish Red & White Setters, Irish Terriers, Irish Water Spaniels, Irish Wolfhounds, Kerry Blue Terriers, King Charles Spaniels, Lakeland Terriers, Lancashire Heelers,  Manchester Terriers, Mastiffs, Miniature Bull Terriers, Norwich Terriers, Otterhounds, Sealyham Terriers, Skye Terriers, Smooth Collies, Smooth Fox Terriers, and Sussex Spaniels.

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    May 20th, 2016Laura P (Editor)Articles, Crufts 2017

    The Crufts Committee has announced that the Breeders’ Competition will be reintroduced at Crufts 2017 as a stand-alone event on Saturday 11 March. Called the Crufts Breeders’ Competition, a maximum of 60 teams will compete and entries will be accepted on a first come, first served basis.

    The regulations for this special competition are as follows:

    Each team must comprise three or four exhibits of the same breed.Each dog must have its own handler.Dogs do not need to be entered in a breed class at the show.All dogs must have the same registered breeder or breeder partnership. No combination of different breeders is permitted.Judges at the show are ineligible to enter.Breeders may enter more than one team.Any Variety Imported Register Breeds may not compete in this competition.Entries will be accepted on a first come, first served basis. Therefore, KC Regulation F(1)9(d) does not apply.

    The entry fee for each group will be £10, payable online via a link to the Crufts office which will be published in due course. Exhibitors are also advised that ‘pre judging’ will be in operation on the Saturday from 2pm onwards. Further details will be released in due course.

    Gerald King, Chairman of Crufts, said: “Crufts is proud to see the reintroduction of this event at the world’s greatest dog show as it was always a spectacular sight in the Arena. By changing this competition to a stand-alone event, thus dispensing with the need for qualifying heats, it is hoped we will see some overseas competitors joining in the spectacle alongside British breeders on the day.”

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    April 18th, 2016Laura P (Editor)Crufts 2016

    The Young Kennel Club (YKC) has seen a number of major successes this year, with over twenty major wins for its young members including Reserve Best in Show at the world’s greatest dog show, Crufts.

    The biggest success was 19 year-old YKC member Charley Donaldson and her Whippet, Hazel, who won Best in Group in the Hound Group shortly before returning to the Genting Arena at the NEC in Birmingham to take the title of Reserve Best in Show in the final of the 125th anniversary of Crufts on Sunday 13th March. Charley and Hazel collected her award and rosette in front of a large audience at the NEC and to millions watching live on Channel 4.

    Charley, who has been a YKC member since 2005, has trained with the YKC for a number of years, including helping with training weekends, before claiming one of the most sought after prizes at the show.

    Charley said: “I can’t believe it – I am over the moon. I never expected this to happen. Hazel is one in a million and I can’t thank enough anyone who has supported us – it really means everything to me and my family.

    “The YKC gave me the confidence to go out there with my dog and try my best. If it wasn’t for them making showing so interesting, I would never have achieved what I have so I can’t thank them enough!”

    It was not just Charley who wowed the crowds at Crufts. 13 year-old Alicia Hancock from Weston-Super-Mare took first prize in the medium category of the Kennel Club Novice Cup Agility finals. Despite being up against agility competitors of all ages, Alicia and her crossbreed Barney were victorious during the exciting final.

    Alicia, who has been a YKC member since 2012, said of her fantastic win: “It was an amazing experience to qualify for Crufts and I am very happy that Barney and I managed to win the Novice Cup.  I am so proud of him – although he was tired he kept going and was the only medium dog to get a double clear.”

    Previous YKC members have also found success at Crufts this year. Adam Rose, who was a YKC member for 14 years, won Best of Breed with his German Shorthaired Pointer, Morgan. Adam, aged 30, is now secretary of the Central and Southern GSP Society and puts his position within the society down to the skills he learnt whilst he was a YKC member.

    His highlights whilst being a part of the YKC include winning the Shaun McAlpine Junior of the Year award (now called ‘Outstanding Young Person’), Young Handler of the Year and winning the Gundog Stakes, all in 2001. As well as this, he also regularly helped with the YKC summer camp and training weekends.

    Celebrating his third Best of Breed win this year, Adam said of the YKC: “It’s an amazing organisation which really enhanced my knowledge and interest in dogs. As well as competing and meeting like-minded people, it really gave me a chance to develop my skills. This gives heaps of confidence and a real feel you can give something back to your hobby.

    “I can’t thank the YKC, and the late Meriel Hathaway who represented the Midlands region, enough for their support and opportunities over the years.”

    Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary said: “Many congratulations to every Young Kennel Club member who took part in competitions at Crufts – we’re so proud to have so many talented young people involved in the dog world. The YKC is such a fantastic start to any dog trainer or dog show handler’s career and we hope that this year’s excellent achievements inspire other young dog lovers to sign up.”

    YKC-specific competitions at Crufts saw a number of inspiring young people and their dogs win over a number of competitions including; Handler and Groomer of the Year, Agility Dog of the Year, obedience, flyball and many others.

    YKC membership is for anyone aged 6-24 years (with or without a dog, pedigree or crossbreed). It provides and promotes activities that enable members to train, compete and socialise with like-minded youngsters within agility and jumping, obedience, flyball, grooming, heelwork to music, junior handling, pre-beginner and breed showing stakes. For more information on training days available, please visit the YKC website below.

    The YKC also offers award based competitions as an alternative to competing in shows. Artist of the Year is a great way to get creative, the Cinnamon Trust Young Volunteer celebrates those who give their time selflessly to others and the Outstanding Young Person award recognises the achievements of inspiring and innovative young people who make a difference to dogs. More information on these awards can be found at www.ykc.org.uk/content/our-awards.

    Not only that, YKC members can also apply to participate in the Outward Bound Youth Development Course, which aims to give young people important skills for the future including teamwork, confidence, sportsmanship, communication, problem solving, and leadership and project management. The YKC also offers multiple training weekends across agility, heelwork to music and handling all over the UK. More information on training weekends can be found at www.ykc.org.uk/content/get-involved/young-kennel-club-events-calendar/

    For the first time ever, the YKC will be taking dogs and handlers to the European Open Junior Agility Championships 2016, which will take place on 9th & 10th July 2016 in Slovakia. Although the team for this year has been chosen, members can apply to be in Team GB next year by taking part in selection days in order to impress the coaching team. To find out more information on this year’s championships, please visit www.ykc.org.uk/content/our-programmes/european-open-junior-agility-championships/.

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    April 18th, 2016Laura P (Editor)Crufts 2017

    The Kennel Club has announced eight heats to take place throughout the year across the UK, which will qualify flyball teams for the final at Crufts 2017.

    The two highest placed teams from each heat will be invited to compete in the semi-final/final at Crufts 2017. Teams that have previously qualified cannot enter further heats for competition.

    The eight qualifying heats are:

    Society

    Date Show Secretary Contact Details
    Scunthorpe Obedience & Agility Training Club 8th April 2016 Amy Smith amysmith101@hotmail.com
    Nuneaton Dog Training Club 7th May 2016 Louise Satchwell ambahoboroxi@gmail.com
    The Marnicks, Mansfield 4th June 2016 Naomi Pearce Naomi_denim3@hotmail.com
    Gleniffer Dog Training Club, Waterside, Kilmarnock 18th June 2016 Jim Dargo jimdar@rocketmail.com
    Prestwick & District Dog Training Club, South Ayrshire 19th July 2016 Marie Hamilton Hunterwhin07@gmail.com
    RVA Dog Training Society, Cambridge 9th July 2016 Ellen Schofield ellen@cambridgeshire-canines.org.uk
    Wilton Agility Club, 28th August 2016 Tom Hazlewood thomas.hazlewood@ntlworld.com
    Prestbury Park Dog Agility Training Club, Cheltenham 3rd September 2016 Jane Denning julie.harding286@btinternet.com
    Flyball is a team sport which is run on a knockout basis. Two teams of four dogs compete at the same time, each using a parallel ‘racing lane’ down which each dog in turn runs, clearing four hurdles in succession before triggering a pedal on the flyball box.

    A tennis ball is then released which the dog must hold before returning over the hurdles to the start line. The first team to have its fourth dog across the finish line, with any part of the dog’s body, wins the race. Each dog must cross the finish line before the next dog can start, and handlers aim to release their dog so that it will cross with a returning dog just at the line.

    Usually the best of three runs decides which team proceeds to the next heat but five runs are also sometimes used. Each team consists of four handlers plus a ‘box loader’ and two reserves.

    Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: “We are pleased to confirm the eight Crufts qualifying flyball heats for the remainder of the year and look forward to seeing which teams are up for the challenge.

    “Flyball is a fun and energetic competition for dogs and their owners to take part in, and with all of the teams in previous years it’s clear to see the dedication and team spirit they have. We are looking forward to seeing which teams will be victorious at this year’s heats and would like to wish all competitors the best of luck.”

    Anyone who wants to enter the heats should contact the societies directly using the contacts above. For further information please visit:http://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/activities/flyball/crufts-team-flyball-finals-and-qualifiers/.

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