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15/10/06 Nationale D`Elevage

The Nationale D`Elevage in Orleans is one of the leading dog shows in France and as a member of the `Club du Barbet, Lagotto et autres Chiens d`eau' I felt it would be worthwhile taking the trip to France to improve my knowledge of the barbet. In addition Bepop was was being shown in the puppy class and so it would be a good opportunity to catch up on her progress while there.

Having survived the Paris ringroad without mishap we arrived in Orleans and checked in to the Campanille (chain of small travellodges) near to where the show was to be held. I had arranged to meet Elaine Fichter ( who is looking after Bepop during her quarantine ) there. The whole place had been taken over by breeders and owners and the carpark was full of a variety of breeds being walked and groomed ready for the show the following day. Bepop was looking very healthy and happy as we took her and Elaine`s barbet Booly Wooly for a good walk. In the restaurant that night, nearly every table had a dog hidden under it though all were impeccably behaved. We had thought that we might have a long night if Bepop didn`t settle, having been left with relative strangers, but she happily bedded down and didn`t wake us once.

Barbets at Orleans

Barbets at Orleans

The day of the show, we were up early and made our way to the venue nearby. We made our way through the various halls and soon found the area set aside for the `Club du Barbet du Lagotto et autres Chiens d`Eau' who would be running the Barbet competition. As competiton got underway with the Spanish and Portuguese water dogs we had the chance to get a good look at the 20 plus barbets in the exercise area before showing began. Being shown in what is descibed as a `rustic' trim means there is an absence of the frantic grooming other breeds were undergoing. Elaine did an excellent job of introducing us to members from Switzerland and Holand who were able to give us valuable information on the barbet in their respective countries, to include in our application to the Kennel Club in the UK. Despite being very busy, Madame Rault the club President, took time to speak to us and made us feel welcome and agreed to pass on the information we needed from France, the country of origin which she has since done.

Bepop in the Barbet Female Puppy class

Bepop in the Barbet Female Puppy class

As the barbet secction of the competition started we were able to have a good look at the different dogs and their breed lines as they were shown. The dogs seemed to come in a variety of sizes across each class and brown and black barbets were evenly represented. The Swiss and Dutch were rewarded for their efforts in attending. Originally I had intended to show Bepop myself but having watched the previous classes, it became clear that the judges were having a long chat with each owner in the ring. Fearing that my `holiday' French would not be up to the job and not wanting to disadvantage Bepop`s chances, Elaine kindly stepped up to show Bepop on the female puppy class. Bepop came third in her class and was cited as very promising but a bit too tall for her class. A good result and providing she doesn`t grow a lot taller it bodes well for the future in adult competition. Lunch was an excellent buffet provided by all the club members taking part and we had the chance to sample some fabulous meats and cheeses from across Europe. As the afternoon continued with the Lagotto competition, we again took the time to mix with the other barbet owners and make the most of seeing that many barbets in one place at once. Given our long drive home we had to say our farewells and left around 4:00pm arriving back in the New Forest in the early hours of Monday morning. It was an exceptionally busy and tiring weekend but from our point of view very worthwhile and who knows next year with two barbets entered.....


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