A quiet summer saw us attend very few shows after the excitement of the springtime wins. As the year mellowed into autumn, a cluster of favourite open shows lured us out of seclusion, and we ventured forth again to compete.
The first show, Burton on Trent KA, saw our Kobi awarded RBOB in very strong competition under Trish Wells. He also won a large Veteran Stakes class. BOB, Puppy Group 1 and adult Group 3 was the 9-months old Seasara Earl Grey, owned by Nev and Elaine Simms. He is Gunnar's half-nephew and a descendant of both Raider and Spooky. A bright future awaits this smart young man, I'm sure.
The next show was Stockport CS, where Kobi was Best AV Hound Veteran under Anne Defaye (Fedaye) and Best Veteran in Show. He was also awarded Best AV Hound Champion and Best Champion in Show.
Finally, Gunnar was RBOB under Brian Foster (Stormpasture) at South Yorkshire Hound, giving his usual exubernat performance!
A trip to see relatives in South Wales was combined with a visit to WKC, where Kobi (Ch/Am Gr Ch/Can Ch Kamgaard Kut Above) stopped off to win the RCC under Zena Thorn-Andrews (Drakesleat) on his way past.
The judge wrote "Smashing class of super boys. Winner has a perfect set of teeth, dead sound and true moving, is in good coat for the time of year, excellent legs and tidy oval feet, clear colour too."
The NECGB Championship Show held near Coventry is one of the highlights of the show calendar, and this year it proved to be exceptionally so for us.
Winning his 3rd CC (which gives him his UK title) was our American import, SBIS Am Gr Ch/Can Ch Kamgaard Kut Above (co-owned by Stuart Horner, Sally Simmonds and Maggie Mott). Kobi is 8 years old and was handled to his title by Stuart, who is himself 78 years of age. So you might say that the oldies proved that they've both still got it!
As well as winning the Dog CC and Best Opposite Sex, Kobi was also Best Veteran In Show. What is especially pleasing is that Maggie was at ringside to see Kobi's win!
Another nice win at the show was 1st in the Brood Bitch class for Siri (Am Ch Kamgaard Kiamesha), co-owned by Vanessa and Bryony Gray. The win is depicted in this photo which was taken by Ali Cullen. The team wore knitted waistcoats which Ness handmade over a period of 8 months (without her knowing the relative sizes of the people that would be wearing them, which was challenging - I think young Lucy Cullen still has a bit of growing to do to fit hers!). Siri's son, Flint (Grasilva Little Rock Avec Gilkaro JW) was awarded the Reserve Dog CC at the show and 2 others from the same litter also won 1st places.
April sees our annual trip up to the Royal Highland Showground near Edinburgh, for both the Hound Association of Scotland and the NEAS Open Show. This year, the two shows were held on the same day and this meant quite a few trips around both rings for Ness!
Winning his first CC at HAS was Gunnar (Kinderhorn Espen of Conrick), here pictured enjoying some downtime by the Firth of Forth at the end of the day's showing. Many thanks to judge Sue Hewart-Chambers for this award.
In the afternoon, Gunnar was second in his class behind Flint (Grasilva Little Rock Avec Gilkaro JW), who was co-bred by Bryony Gray and Vanessa McHugh. Flint was eventually awarded Best in Show by judge Tanja Mortimer, who also awarded Reserve Best in Show to Flint's mother, Siri (Am Ch Kamgaard Kiamesha, co-owned by Bryony and Vanessa). Not only that, but Flint's litter sister, Tia (Grasilva Silver Vine) was Reserve Best Bitch and Reserve Best Dog and Best Veteran in Show went to Kobi (SBIS Am Gr Ch/Can Ch Kamgaard Kut Above) co-owned by Stuart with Sally Simmonds and Maggie Mott.
The image below shows Gunnar and Kobi's haul which made the long trip home to North Derbyshire.
A fabulous day was had at the NECGB AGM and Contest of Champions yesterday.
Firstly, the points trophies were awarded for wins over the course of 2016. Mya (Grasilva Cruggleton With Laakso), owned by Tanja Mortimer was confirmed as the top-winning Norwegian elkhound puppy of 2016. She is by our Kobi out of Ch Grasilva Gwendoline Mary (a daughter of my Raider). Flint (Grasilva Little Rock Avec Gilkaro JW), bred by Bryony Gray and Vanessa McHugh and owned by Alan and Helen Tress and Katherine Gilluley had to make do with the trophy for top male puppy. However, he was also confirmed as the top points-winning male Norwegian elkhound in the UK in 2016! At the other end of the age spectrum, Kobi (SBIS Am Gr Ch/Can Ch Kamgaard Kut Above) was named as the top-winning veteran of last year. He is co-owned by Stuart Horner with Sally Simmonds and Maggie Mott. Top brood bitch in the UK (based on points won by offspring over the course of the year) was Flint's mother Siri (Am Ch Kamgaard Kiamesha), co-owned by Bryony Gray and Vanessa McHugh.
Later in the day and at the same venue, the Contest of Champions took place, and this time, Flint came out on top as the Puppy of the Year, with litter sister, Bryony's own Tia (Grasilva Silver Vine), chosen as Puppy Bitch of the Year. Flint was also the winning male in the Stud Book Challenge.
We are excited to see what the future holds for these and other young dogs connected to us.
The first Championship show of the New Year was Manchester, where Norwegian judge Espen Engh dealt with a large entry of Norwegian Elkhounds.
Kobi (Am Gr Ch/Can Ch Kamgaard Kut Above) was awarded the RCC, his second. Describing Kobi as a very attractive dog with excellent type and quality, Herr Engh was very complimentary in his critique.
The star of the show was young Tia (Grasilva Silver Vine), Siri's daughter, who was awarded her first CC with BOB. Siri herself won the Open Bitch class, putting in a good performance. Tia is owned by Bryony Gray and was co-bred by Bryony and Vanessa.
Siri (Am Ch Kamgaard Kiamesha) won the RCC at Midland Counties for the second year running, this time under Serena Parker. She was once again handled by her co-breeder, Maggie Mott (Kamgaard).
"Eyecatching girl with everything in the right place, lovely head & expression, correct forehand, good body, tailset & hindquarters. She moved true both ways & covered the ground well, shown in good coat & conditioning she was not disgraced with the RCC in such good company."
This picture of Siri was taken earlier in the year, at East of England.
She was not the only family member to find success on the day. Son Flint (Grasilva Little Rock Avec Gilkaro) won the other RCC and young daughter Tia (Grasilva Silver Vine) was Reserve Best Bitch at the NECGB Open Show, hled later in the day.
.....under a Scandinavian judge, no less. Leila Kärkäs from Finland rewarded Gunnar with the RCC at the show, which featured one of the largest entries of the year.
The CC winner was connected to Conrick Kennel too. Grasilva Little Rock Avec Gilkaro was co-bred by Vanessa and Bryony Gray. His dam is the co-owned Am Ch Kamgaard Kiamesha.
Kobi (Am Gr Ch/Can Ch Kamgaard Kut Above) won his second CC, this time with Best of Breed, at Border Union under renowned breed specialist Lorraine Bolton (Rikarlo). Lorraine's family had a long association with the breed in the days when class entries were much larger and filled with quality dogs, which is not always the case today.
The judge's critique said "Nice size dog epitomising the elusive balance between substance/strength & agility/athleticism, that is so much a part of the essence of an Elkhound & which is so difficult to get right. Strong body, well ribbed back, good depth of brisket & deep, short & wide loin. Spot on for topline & bottom line. Excellent tailset & curl. Not over angulated in rear, (the curse of the modern show dog), & this balances nicely with front. I would like a tad more breadth of skull. He appears to be a bit short in neck when standing, but I was reassured on further examination that this is not so, rather an extraordinarily thick ruff. He was true moving front & rear & was nicely balanced in profile. Very pleased to award him the CC & BOB."
Kobi was 1st in AVNSC Hound Open and Best AVNSC Hound under Dorothy Grayson-Wood (Isiqa).