We have just returned from a trip to Sweden where we were the guests of Peter Olsson (Qvarnhill). We were really looking forward to a break, and Peter made us very welcome and we had a great time.

We met up at the airport, and half an hour later Catriona McMorran flew in, she was to judge the Uppland Vastmanland Springerklubben Open Show on the Sunday. Once we had all got our nicotine levels up after our flights! Peter drove us to his house, and we were reunited with Bertha (Canouan Dorset Dame) whom we hadn't seen since Peter took her home just after Crufts. She looked just fantastic, and we thought that she half remembered us, she certainly seemed to more and more as the weekend went on. Mia Eriksson, from the north of Sweden, was also staying at Peter's with her two dogs Qvarnhill Tartan Titbit and Qvarnhill Marcellina. We had a great supper, lots to drink, and retired to bed.

On Saturday Bertha and Sissel (Qvarnhill Papagena) were entered at the SSRK Championship Show. The dogs were expertly judged by Mr Jens Martin Hansen (Denmark). We were interested to see the Swedish way of doing things. After a preliminary look at all the dogs together Mr Hansen brought each dog back in to the ring on its own. He went over the dog, moved it, and the dictated a critique for each dog. Every dog, no matter where it was placed, took home a written record of the judges opinion. If, in the judges opinion the dog met the required standard for the breed they were handed a small red ribbon. If in his opinion they did not reach this standard they were given a blue ribbon. Classes were very different too. Puppies start showing at 4 months, and the first class is 4 to 6 months, followed by the 6 to 9months class. After 9months a dog is classed as a Junior (9 to 15 months). Bertha won her 6 to 9 months class, and was then adjudged to be the Best Puppy 6 to 9 months. Big ring for Bertha, we were delighted. Catriona handled Sissel in the Special Yearling Class (15 to 24 months). It was a very hot day, and Catriona was exhausted as Mr Hansen moved the dogs many times before awarding the class to her and Sissel. Good day for Qvarnhill and Canouan.
Sissel went on to be awarded Fourth Best Bitch of the Day. This final line up confused us somewhat as it is not only unbeaten dogs that are considered in the challenge. Any dog that in the judges opinion reaches a required standard of Champion quality is called back to the ring for the final challenge. The Swedish also set great store by the working quality of their Springers. A dog cannot be a full champion unless it has qualified in the field, and there is a separate class for those that have attained their full champion status, and those that have just qualified in the show ring. Needless to say we thought a great deal of this. At the Open Show the following day there was an obedience test being run in conjunction with the show, and several dogs where participating.

So Big Ring for Bertha, we could hardly watch as she was pulled out in the final five, and when it was down to the final two I just couldn't watch. However it was the American Cocker Puppy who was awarded BPIS and Bertha the RBPIS. So near, but Bertha handled the big occasion very well, after all it was not her first appearance in the big ring, or in the final line up, and was expertly handled by Peter. She moved like a train, stood like a pro, and thoroughly enjoyed showing herself off!
Our overall impression of Swedish Dog Showing was that it was not only a dog show, but a social occasion. Everyone seemed very friendly and generally took a picnic and had a great day out. The atmosphere was great, the judge was courteous and friendly, and in the breed and final challenges had a word for each exhibitor, and shook the hand of them all, winners or not. Here are some pictures of Mr Hansen and his ESS Breed Winners, Sissel and Catriona and of course Bertha. For full results please click here

Catriona and Sissel

Mr J M Hansen & his Best Dog (right) and Best Bitch

On to Sunday where Catriona was to judge at the Springerklubben Open Show   

We have had







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