Barbet News (page 8)

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12/08/07

This year the 9th Exposition Nationale D`Elevage of the "Club du Barbet, du Lagotto et autres Chiens d`Eau" took place in Le Blanc, in the centre of France. We tied our visit to the club show in with our summer holiday, so with two well groomed dogs and two not so well groomed children we set off for France via the Channel Tunnel. We arrived on the Friday before the show and met up with Fiona Lucas (see Fionaís show report below) and Carol Pugsley the two other members of the B.C (of G.B) making the trip. Given the geographical separation of most barbet owners, a day of informal meetings had been arranged at the show venue for owners and breeders to get together and discuss issues and concerns for the future of the breed. With Elaine Fichter doing a sterling job of coping with six different nationalities and translating between French, English and Italian, the topics to be discussed were decided and then we split into smaller focus groups to arrive at a consensus to be reported back to the group as a whole. The groupís findings were then to be passed to the club committee for their consideration. While we didnít resolve every issue discussed it was certainly a big step forward and I felt everyone was working towards the same goal.

An International picnic - Le Blanc.

An International picnic - Le Blanc.

We then had a long lunch break where we were treated to various gastronomic delicacies from around Europe and Scandinavia. In the afternoon we had a presentation by Mr Gregoire Leroy, a geneticist working on rare dog breeds in France. While his research is still ongoing, he did confirm that he had now identified the specific gene code of the barbet as distinct from other breeds and that the modern barbet has a sufficiently diverse gene pool to take to breed forwards. He stressed however, that this was of course dependant on best breeding practice being followed. We then listened to a talk on reproduction by Mr Emmanuel Fontaine although being in French much of this went beyond my level of skill with the language.

That evening we attended the annual club dinner, held in a restaurant nearby, and aswell as an excellent meal a quiz was held in English and French throughout the evening and I even managed to win a prize for knowing where and when the first dog show was held in France?
Paris - 1863, if you wanted to know, all that research on the barbet has some benefits.

Betsy Bonheur - winner Barbet Intermediate Female class.

Betsy Bonheur - winner Barbet
Intermediate Female class.

On Sunday, the day of the show I managed to give the dogs a quick groom first thing and we headed off to the show. It was all a bit chaotic when we arrived but I paid my 44 Euros entry fee for both dogs into the same class "Intermediate Female" which covers bitches aged from 15 months to 24 months old. With two dogs in the same class my husband was pressed in to service as a handler, a first for him and Betsy Bonheur who was also at her first show. I took in BePop who while not a veteran had been shown in puppy classes before.

We stayed in the ring as each of the three judges visited in turn, luckily conversation with the judges was kept to a minimum and any directions for walking or running around the ring were fairly obvious. BePop showed really well and provided a good lead for Betsy to follow as she was unsure of what was expected of her. With the judging completed we left the ring and waited for the aggregated results to be posted. It was a great result for us, Betsy came first with two Excellent + `s and an Excellent and BePop third with an Excellent and two Tres Bon`s. Going into the main ring against the other female class winners Betsy decided she wasn`t going to play and refused to move so she rightly came last. That aside, we were pleased as we can work on Betsy`s ringcraft and feel sure she will progress further in the future.

Bepop having fun in a French lake.

Bepop having fun in a French lake.

With our involvement in the show ring over we were free to watch the rest of the show and chat to other barbet owners. One last job remained for the two dogs, the Finnish Barbet Club members were collecting blood samples, with the help of a local vet, for research at Helsinki University into a suspected genetic problem in some of their breed lines. Needing as many barbet blood samples as possible this was an ideal opportunity with so many barbets in on place. If you are a rare breed you are going to be giving a lot of blood samples.

With the hard work done we could relax and enjoy the rest of the weeks holiday although we did make the most of Carol and Fiona`s experience in working Newfoundlands in the water, and took both dogs out to a local lake for a training session. Again, both dogs showed they had the temprement and desire to work in water so will will be continuing their water training back in the UK. An uneventful journey back across the channel saw us in overcast and wet weather but both dogs seemed quite pleased to be back in their favourite New Forest muddy puddles.


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