Barbet News (page 74)
Championnat De France, Angers 2014.
Lac du Maine, Angers, France
With the English winter seeming determined to hang on for as long as possible, the chance of a long drive south through France was too good to miss. Luckily the French weather did not disappoint and as we headed down towards Angers on the `toll` road, the aircon was working hard to make sure that passengers and dogs were all kept comfortable as the thermometer nudged 30 deg C. With such a long drive, we had allowed a rest day before the show, a chance to visit the local hypermarket (did you know they have a very good wine department) and, as we were staying on the banks of the Lac du Maine, take the dogs out for an afternoon walk around the lake and enjoy some sunny weather. After an excellent `al fresco` meal that evening we felt truly in France and ready for the show.
The Championnat De France, is as you can imagine, an enormous show with the groups split over two days. Group 8 including the barbet was being judged on the Sunday so we arrived in good time and soon met up with Karen Surrall who had brought `Claude` and `Anouk` and Annette Dinsdale, Claude`s breeder. Thankfully the ring allocated to the water dogs was at the side of the main hall where there was some ventilation and also we had plenty of room to sit and watch the other classes (which isn`t always the case at some French shows) while we waited our turn.
Luckily the judge for the barbet was Mr Laurent Brun, a French judge with plenty of experience judging barbet; for better or worse you always want to feel that the person judging your dog knows what they are talking about.
Hallie & Claude with judge Laurent Brun.
While it was great to be able to attend such a prestigious show, the real significance was that success for Claude and Hallie would mean them both becoming French Champions, which would be a another first for UK barbets.
To earn the `Champion` title each dog must achieve three CACS (Certificat d'Aptitude de Conformité au Standard), one at a breed Speciality show, one at an International show and finally one at either the Breed Club show or the French Championship show (the equivalent of Crufts) and all under three different judges one of whom must not be French.
Success at Angers would give both Claude and Hallie their championship titles, but of course nothing can ever be guaranteed at a dog show. Thankfully neither dog had the slightest idea so it was just down to their handlers to hide their nerves and let the dogs do what they do naturally.
With relatively small classes for the barbet Mr Brun was able to take his time and have a really good look at the dogs in the ring. Finally he reached his decision and awarded `Best of Breed` and the CACIB (Certificat d'Aptitude au Championnat International de Beauté) to `Claude` (Netis Hazzah bred by Annette Dinsdale) making him the first UK born barbet to become a French Champion.
Moments later, Hallie (Charamese Hermione bred by Julie McDougal) was awarded `Best of other Sex` and the CACIB (Certificat d'Aptitude au Championnat International de Beauté) also making her a French Champion. A great result for the Brits! All that remained was to watch Claude have his moment in the main show ring representing the barbet for the Group 8 judging although this time he was not placed.
After an uneventful journey back to the UK all that remained was submit all the show results and show critiques from Claude and Hallies` contributing shows to the French Breed club to confirm their Champion titles. Apart from one last hiccup; for the Champion title the dogs must have a Hip Score equivalent to an F.C.I. `A` or `B` grade, which was not a problem as both had been hip scored previously in the UK with excellent results. However these needed to be confirmed by a French specialist. After a few phonecalls and e-mails, the original x-ray scans were sourced and sent to France and the Hip Scores confirmed. Job done.
`Hallie` - Champions De France De Conformité au Standard - `Claude`