If you are interested in working gundogs be sure to visit Crufts this year. The show, to be held on 5-8 March at the NEC in Birmingham, is a great place to meet people who work their dogs. My mum prides herself on owning and breeding working gundogs that are fit for purpose. Showing them in the BASC gamekeeper classes at Crufts gives us the opportunity to have them judged as working dogs. The judges understand that working dogs might wear a few scars and that their coats might not be in perfect condition.
I have been handling my own and my family’s gundogs at Crufts since I was six years old. I am not so keen on showing in the breed classes though. I much prefer the gamekeeper classes where I am being judged on my partnership with my dog in the junior handling class and the dogs are being judged on their natural working ability.
I think participating in BASC classes helps hold up the history of working dogs, the shooting community and gamekeepers. We should remind people of the range of unique breeds that all play such versatile roles in the shooting field. With all the new designer breeds popping up everywhere, it’s easy to forget that many of our gundogs have been around for centuries, working alongside us and playing a key role in the history of shooting.
Crufts and the BASC classes help keep the real purpose of our working gundogs alive. Such events help promote the breeds as they have been intended and it gives us, the owners, an opportunity to promote some of our most vulnerable breeds and also educate the general public on the purpose of working gundogs and how they play a key role in the countryside.
I attend shoots throughout the season, and it is plain to see that much of the day-to-day running of a shoot could not be fully accomplished without the abilities of our dogs.
If you want a great day out and meet like-minded people, come to Crufts and see the gundogs and their handlers in the BASC area. The gundog day this year falls on the Friday 6 March.