Monday, 23 March 2009

weekend show news

At the Bristol & District show on the weekend, my friend Sam was judging the Lapphunds (sorry I forgot to enter, Sam!)

In the puppy class, Tarkka placed 2nd and Inko 3rd behind a puppy who went on to win Best Puppy in Show. So another nice result for the two newbies.

And here is the latest pic of the adorable boy due to make his show debut at the West of England Ladies' Kennel Society Champ show next month - Rauhan.

I don't think he's made it to ringcraft yet, what with the recent arrival of Katy & Hattie's new little sister Dorothy. However, Emma is teaching him to stand & he's already an old hand at having his teeth brushed, so it should be lots of fun. I'm really looking forward to the day & I've promised Emma a quick showing demo to get her started.

I'll also be taking Taito along with me as the other Emma won't be able to make it. He's been to one ringcraft class, so I'm sure he'll be an old pro... yep. You may well ask what I'm letting myself in for. So far I'm only down to be showing 2 dogs per class, so I'm sure it'll all be fiiiiiine.

Sunday, 22 March 2009

oops, no title

Here's the last snow pic of the year, and only so late because I've been a bit out of touch with my computer for a while for one reason & another. Anyway, I was delighted to get an update on Jaana a couple of weeks ago and very pleased to hear that she's being a little angel. No, she is. She is. Who have you been talking to?

True, perhaps Baz isn't so impressed with her tail surfing capabilities. And Mike & Sarah would rather she wasn't such an early morning songbird. But Sarah must be pleased with all her new stuff following Jaana's assistance in getting rid of the old. Not to mention how cute she is! And I'm loving her velvet coat.

And a quick post-snow update from Tarmo who is growing into a very handsome lad. Surely he's the biggest of the litter by now? He still has wonderfully enormous paws and is cultivating a lovely coat.

On a different subject, I'm very sorry to be missing the SFLS walk today being hosted by Karen in the New Forest. It's a bit of a drive from here, and we missed it last year too. But this year the weather is gorgeous & they must be having a wonderful time. Too bad I'm hobbling with a stick at the moment. Not much fun for anyone, dogs included. Maybe next year we'll make it. I hope someone is taking lots of photos.

Friday, 13 March 2009

crufts the second

Thank you to Wendy who sent me some more photos from Crufts, including some of Taika. I just knew someone must have some! So, here she is, former victim of what I affectionately call Fat Lappy Syndrome, looking smart and trim in the ring shortly before placing 4th in her class. Imagine how well she might have done had she been in possession of a full coat. Alas, such things are not ours to control.

And here she is perched on the grooming table, where she spent a large part of her morning being breed ambassador to all the admiring folk walking past. Unfortunately her nose was rather close to the camera, giving her one of those comic-dog looks, but you get the general idea.

See the little Lappy picture to Taika's right? That's a stunning print of a charcoal drawing Wendy made of Karhu to advertise her services as an animal portait artist. I've admired Wendy's work since I first met her, but this must be a masterpiece!

And, back to the grooming table, here is Neka in the same spot, her favorite place to be during any show:

Not to be left out, Karhu had his turn on the table too and kept waving in the hope of earning a slice of sausage:

Finally, this fine young dog is Ripa (Arianrhod Kirrinkurri) who is Keskiyo's offspring by Neka's sister Suvi (Elbereth Huvi for Arianrhod). At somewhere in the region of 17 months old, this is his first Crufts.

Thursday, 12 March 2009


At last I finally got to show one of my own dogs at Crufts. And one of my own dogs' own dogs too, if you follow. No? I'll explain.

In order to qualify for Crufts, a dog must place either 1st, 2nd or 3rd in their breed or Not Separately Classified class at a qualifying Championship show the previous year. I've been showing Neka for about 4.5 years now and in every one of those years she qualified for Crufts. In fact, unless I'm mistaken, she qualified at her first attempt each year.

So why is this her first year actually at Crufts? After all, there are people who show dogs for years and years and never qualify them to go to Crufts. To qualify in a numerically small breed like Finnish Lapphunds is not nearly so difficult as many other breeds. However, it's still an honour to be able to take your dog there. I've gone along just about every year to watch and cheer others on - one year I showed someone else's dog. Keskiyo has been there before but someone else showed him for me on that occasion.

The reason Neka has never been before is because the timing has always been wrong. Her first year of qualifying for Crufts was out because the judge was her breeder, and breeders cannot judge their own dogs, for obvious reasons. The next 2 years Neka was in season during Crufts - the one time I cursed her seasons being so predictably regular! And if being in season wasn't bad enough, she was also at the tail end of her moult at that time and more or less bald. So, in one way or another, the Crufts ring wasn't exactly the right place for her.

As luck should have it, having her 9 puppies well and truly knocked her cyle askew and not only is she not in season, but her coat is gorgeous, thick & lush at the moment - almost back to it's fullest. So, at last, at the age of 4 years 11 months and 11 days, Neka got to go to Crufts. And I'm so glad she did - here she is coming 3rd behind her lovely half-sister Apina out of a large class of 9.

Going to a normal Champ show is a tiring enough event. The early rise, the invariably long drive from Devon, the lugging of bulky & heavy kit around - often through the mud and rain, etc. ( Are you wondering yet why we do this? When I put it that way it doesn't sound like much fun, does it?) Anyway, that's just a normal show. Crufts is a completely different event with something in the region of 28,000 dogs and their hangers on coming and going through 7 halls over 4 days. It's big. And, of course, it's often the one chance you get to catch up with old friends in the dog world that you have somehow missed meeting up with all year. So it's also busy. And very, very tiring.

I couldn't face venturing into this on my own with more than 2 dogs. It's difficult enough to cope with more than 2 dogs at a time under normal circumstances. Most years Jay would be there with me and we would have anything up to 4 dogs between us. This time Jay stayed at home with Annie who is too old and dignified to stay in a kennel these days, and I had promised to take Taika for Kate as she was otherwise engaged. So it was just me, Neka & her daughter. A nice team, if I do say so myself!

Somehow I managed to not get any photos of Taika at Crufts, so if anyone has one, I'd love a copy, please! I did find this one, though, thanks to Karen's husband who was documenting her spin round the ring with Taivas (I'm the one in bright blue). And, lo and behold, at her first ever outing at Crufts, Taika came 4th in her class, the largest of the day. And she wasn't even in full coat - result! (as they say...)

Then it was the boys' turn. As I didn't have Keskiyo with me, I was able to relax, watch and take photos at this point. Here are Taito (L) and Karhu (R) in their large class.

They went on to place 4th and 3rd, respectively, so I was one excited observer! I'm hoping that Andrew, the happy snapper, will have lots of photos of Emma & Taito for me. In the meantime, this is what Karhu thought of the whole showing thing, hanging out on the benches before going into the ring to do his thing.

The 4th showdog from that litter, Keksi, was absent from Crufts, afflicted with the same unfortunate timing as her mother - her season was due. Perhaps I should plan a litter of puppies from her in the hope she'll be able to attend in another year.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

baths and other traumas

A week and a half ago was the SFLS annual general meeting and it was fun getting together with friends and their Lappies. Jay stayed at home with the rest of the gang while Maija and I made the long drive to Reading.

Maija remained attached by her lead to the radiator pipe for the duration of the meeting and she was a little angel (most of the time), happily hanging out with half-sister Keksi. After the meeting she got her reward out in the field for a play with Inko (right).

A week or so before the meeting, Maija had her first bath. Luckily, Lapphunds are pretty much self-cleaning, in spite of their long, thick coat. A good brush once a week and a bath once or, in dire circumstances, twice a year and they're good to go. However, it's vitally important for puppies to have lots of different experiences, ideally before they are 6 months old, to prepare them for any eventuality throughout their lives.

With this in mind, Maija spent a night in a boarding kennel a little while back, keeping Keskiyo company for part of his little 'holiday' away when Neka was in season. Predictably, she wasn't in the least fazed by any of it. The next stage will probably be another overnighter sometime soon, but by herself. Then I'll happily be able to leave her in a kennel in the future without having to worry that she's stressed or pining.

And then came the bath. She really didn't need one, but the 6-month-old mark had come and gone. I thought I might as well get on with it since Neka was having her semi-annual scrub in preparation for her attendance at Crufts. Neka wasn't always well-behaved in the tub, but these days she puts on her resigned face and lets me get on with it.

Here she is patiently waiting for the rinse cycle to finish (you can see she did really need a bath by the colour of the rinse water going down the drain.

And looking, somewhat alarmingly, rather a lot like Vladimir.

No, that's not Neka's shampoo on the corner of the bath. I've tried several dog shampoos and my favorites by a very long way are Doreen Paige products. I have a few different ones and they all smell gorgeous and are kind to a dog's skin & coat.

After the bath Neka scooted downstairs and had a mad few minutes zooming around the living room and rolling on the carpet trying to get rid of all that pesky nice clean smell in her coat.

In the meantime, it was Maija's turn for the bathtub. Due to our hands being very much otherwise occupied, a photo from during the event is regrettably unavailable. However, here she is being towelled off.

And all dry & fluffy a few hours later.