The NECGB Open Show was judged by David Cavill (Toveri), a very knowledgable judge of the Nordic breeds and a famous and long-standing breeder of Finnish Spitz.
At 10 years of age, Kobi (Ch/Am Gr Ch/Can Ch Kamgaard Kut Above) took top honours, being awarded Best in Show and Best Veteran Show from the Special Veteran Dog (10 years and over) class. The judge said after the judging that he found him to be quite exceptional. To put the icing on the cake, Reserve Best Dog was our Gunnar (Kinderhorn Espen of Conrick).
Most poignantly perhaps, Best Puppy in Show was the Hodkinson's stunning Laakso Brokki, a grandson of the late Ekko (Naraena Knut of Conrick), who had died earlier in the same week.
The photo was taken by Tanja Mortimer and depicts Gunnar and Ness on the left and Kobi and Stuart on the right (adorned with rosettes). Many thanks to the judge for these awards and to our fellow exhibitors for their support and congratulations.
Gunnar (Kinderhorn Espen of Conrick) was awarded BOB in a strong entry at Blackpool under breed specialist judge Sue Heward, of the renowned Eskamere Elkhounds.
Sue's critique read "Lovely mature, well-toned square outline with good depth of chest. Strong and straight fore and hindquarters, with neat oval feet. Well constructed wedge head with dark eyes. Well shaped and proportioned ears and good mouth. Moved well."
The pictures show Gunnar in the group ring, where he represented the breed well, even taking the ramp in his stride.
Acknowledged around the world as an expert on the breed, Ralf Campbell judged the Norwegian Elkhound Club of Great Britain Championship Show. This "Sapphire Show" celebrated 45 years since the first Championship Show in 1973. As we celebrated our 40th anniversary in the breed this year, we realised that we had been present at almost all of them, bar the first few.....
We particularly appreciated that every dog at the Show was given an opportunity to have its pedigree published in the catalogue. A really nice touch, which gave a good overview of where the breed is at in terms of bloodlines and diversity. Not all of the pedigrees were completed, which was a shame, especially as I would have been more than happy to fill in the gaps, pedigree compilation having been a hobby of mine for the last 38 years.
Gunnar (Kinderhorn Espen of Conrick) was awarded 1st place in a well-filled Limit Dog class. There were 4 entries in the Special Veteran Dog 7 - 10 years, which Kobi (Ch/Am Gr Ch/ Can Ch Kamgaard Kut Above) won. But the star of the day was Kobi's son, Tóki (Ellahyde Fine N' Dandi), who was awarded the RCC from Post Graduate. His critique read "Squarely built dog of excellent type of correct size and proportions. Wedge shaped head with well set and carried ears. Strong back which is firm both in movement and stance. Well moulded croup, tail a bit short but curled centrally over the back. Moves with ease keeping a firm topline, good quality coat." Such a wonderful accolade from a hunter/breeder/judge from the breed's country of origin. I was very pleased that both Tóki and the Dog CC winner (the Simms' exciting young dog Seasara Earl Grey) are grandchildren of Huistenbosch Aksel at Breckslake, a son of Conrick Bereth and Gunnar's sire also.
Kobi (Ch/Am Gr Ch/Can Ch Kamgaard Kut Above) reaped the rewards of his success in the 2017 show season when he was awarded the Lupton Susan Veteran Cup as the top-winning veteran for the year. He also won the Thingvollr Variety Cup for the most points in varieties classes. His daughter Mya (Grasilva Cruggleton With Laakso) was named as the Norwegian elkhound winning most points in Junior classes during the year.
Later on the same day, Kobi was chosen as the Veteran Dog of the Year at the Contest of Champions by judge Mike Caple. The judge's critique read:
"Pleasing stamp of a dog, rising 10yrs, of excellent size and proportions, square outline, short backed and good length of leg, liked his head properties, blunt wedge, correct planes, alert expression, neat ears, moderate angulation, good forehand, good bone and neat feet, tightly curled tail, abundant coat of good colour showing harness markings, excellent at the stance, thought that the floor surface affected his movement."
Note to self - buy some Paw Wax before the next indoor show!
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.
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.
I'm a second-generation Norwegian elkhound owner, exhibitor, breeder and judge.