Dame Foxy and Lady Briz
|Born in August 18, 1994 the Swedish Show Champion, "Dame" Skedoms Foxy is still fit and good-looking. In addition she can be pretty noisy at times. Some days ago when we decided to take a few "show pictures" of our dogs she pulled our leg a bit. While we cleaned and arranged this rock for photography, and took the picture of Briz below, Foxy found a mud filled ditch and decided to cool her belly this warm day. When we called her in for the photo we found that we had a black and white setter instead of a red and white. So we had to put the dogs in the car, drive home, give Foxy a shower and then drive back to this place we had set up as a studio. You can see that her coat is still a bit wet and shaggy.
In Scandinavia we have a pretty good system to maintain both good looks and the working ability in our birddogs of the British breeds, that are the Pointer, the Gordon setter, the English setter and the Irish setter.
To start with each breed has an own club covering the entire Sweden. These clubs are collected under a unifying organisation the called the FA that is an abbreviation of "Fågelhundarnas Arbetsutskott", meaning something like - very liberally translated - "The working committee for the British breeds of birddogs". Sweden is divided into 5 or 6 regional sections of the FA. These bigger clubs work with all 4 breeds within their section. Finally all these clubs are members of the official Swedish Kennel club (SKC). The SKC is rather show oriented but the FA has the right to decide show and trial rules that suit the breed in question and support its working ability. The organisation is a simple as the firearms legislation in Sweden but that's another story that can be told another rainy day
In practice the show and field trial rules are the same for the 4 breeds and they compete against each other without any limits.
Now; here is the point that maintains the working ability of these dogs and at the same time maintains their beauty:
To become a show champion these dogs must have 3 show certificates and at least one of them must come from a show arranged by the FA. The FA invites show judges that understands working gundogs and understands a physical conformation that supports speed, style and stamina. In addition the dog must have got the highest merit in an open stake field trial (1:st prize with prize of honour), that is a quality stake. This means that the dog must not only be good looking but must also have shown excellent working ability on the field.
To become a field trial champion the dog must have 3 certificates, earned by winning the winners stake (competition stake). In order to get a cert the winning dog must have worked good enough to correspond to the 1:st prize with prize of honour in open stake. In addition the dog must have a 2:nd prize from a show, thereby proving that it is of a good representative for the breed.
|Born in April 23, 2000, Lady Briz lacks the ultimate appearance of her mother Dame Foxy. She has been shown a number of times and gets a 1:st prize but no cert's. On the field she has good speed, style and stamina and a more moderate range than her wide-ranging mother. She is perhaps a better game finder than her mother but has for many years lacked patience on point and hence failed at trials. Lately, at a more mature age, she has started to show patience on point and we have not given up the hope to get her a field trial merit. Her brothers Boogie and FTCH Birk are excellent hunters but then again they live in Norway were they have a better environment to gain experience. However Briz is a nice hunting dog and at home she is very expressive and, how shall we say... manipulative? Whatever she is never boring but a bit of entertainment.
The Scandinavian system has no doubt contributed to maintain both good looks and good working ability among the birddogs that in other countries have been so thoroughly bred for show only. Since a pure bred show dog of these breeds is in practice impossible to make to a show champions in Scandinavia, they do not entice the show folks to any great extent and the hunters have the main responsibility for their maintenance and development.
|Saturday June 9, 2007. Foxy is showed as a veteran at one of those by the FA arranged shows in Garpenberg. These working gundog shows are pretty small (62 dogs showed) with a very family friendly atmosphere. There are all kind of activities like clay shooting, water and land retrieving competitions and whatever. The judges are totally field oriented and show bred dogs have nothing to collect here.
Foxy was by far the oldest veteran, but made her self into the spectators and judges favourite with her magnificent performance. She got the biggest applause for the day from the ringside and the judge's notes goes like this, roughly translated:
"A 13 year old veteran dame in a fantastic condition. A feminine head filled with details typical for the breed. Excellent back. Good angles. Moves fantastically well. Excellent type and whole. Very pleasant to see such an old dog in this excellent condition".
It was after this performance from Foxy that I decided that she needs another title, something that better than the title SCH explains her true nature. "Dame" is such a title, best understood in her country of origin, Britain. It has several dignified meanings but I chose only two of them to represent her. The first one means "an elderly woman". The second one means "a woman of rank and authority". A woman of rank she is, Dame Foxy!
In order to be fair I also had to give Briz a more dignified title than "Sundance" Briz. I though "Lady" would be suitable. Among many other meanings it also states "a woman of superior social position". Her position in our house is beyond dispute, for sure...