What a great and very full weekend we had at the North Otago Kennel Association and the South Canterbury Kennel Society shows held in the delightfully picturesque town of Pleasant Point. Our little pocket rocket, Ben (Kitaco Ben de la Creme) burst out from behind the shadow of his Aunty Ava and made everyone sit up and take notice.
Pleasant Point, in case you're interested, is located between Temuka and Timaru. Nestled in rolling farmland with views of the Southern Alps, beside dogs shows, it boasts a steam museum and railway, with regular ‘Steaming Days’ to ride Kiwi the Engine and Model T railcar. It is also home to the internationally acclaimed ‘Denheath custard square’ dessert (yum!) and ... wait for it... can also claim the dubious distinction of being the best place in New Zealand to get burgled.
That's right, this small South Canterbury town, population approximately 1300, has the highest burglary resolution rate in NZ. Half of all burglaries reported in the area are solved, far higher than the national average of 9.3 per cent.
The weather started out nice but a cold wind kicked in mid-afternoon, making it more Un=Pleasant Point than Pleasant and had everybody shivering. In the first show, Ben strutted around the ring like it had been constructed just for him and took Best of Breed and well as Best Dog. Ava took Best Bitch and Reserve Best of Breed. Earlier this year, Expert Chihuahua Judge, Kathy Morton, awarded Ava the Best of Breed over Ben with the qualifier "today" (she gave him Baby Puppy in Show) and it seems her prediction was spot on. He's just now emerging from some ferocious uglies and starting to look like a real Chihuahua. Add that to an attitude that makes his 1.5 kgs seem 10 feet tall, he is really starting to come into his own.
Nikita and Mexico battled it out for the Best Neuter in Breed, although calling it a battle might be a bit of a stretch. Hard to put in to words how little Mexico cares about being a show dog, these days. He's happily retired and clearly saw no reason to come out of retirement to walk around a ring in a bitterly cold wind. Not even for roast chicken. Not surprisingly, the ever reliable Nikita took Best Neuter of Breed and then went on to take the Best Neuter of Group.
In the afternoon show, Ava took Best Bitch, Best NZ Bred of Breed and Best of Breed then Best NZ Bred of Group. Ben took Reserve Best of Breed, Best Puppy of Breed and Best Dog.
Day 2 and Ben once again took centre stage, winning Best of Breed in both the Champ Show and the Open Show. He also took Best Puppy of Group in the Open show.
Nikita took the Best Neuter of Breed and the Best Neuter of Group again in the Champ show.
While waiting for the In-Show judging, we also got the opportunity to do a Ring Craft talk for a group of Open Panel judges, who were talking to select breeders about their breeds, breed standards and ring craft. It was so good to be able to share our knowledge and help dismiss the "bucket breed*" reputation of Chihuahuas. They got to handle (and cuddle) all our dogs, compare their type and construction, and learn about what the breed standard actually means when looking at different types of Chihuahuas. It went really well and we got lots of thanks for letting them go over our dogs. Apparently, not many breeders are comfortable with having their dogs' faults dissected in detail by a bunch of judges, even informally, so they were extremely grateful.
*As in you need a bucket of water next to the judging table to wash away the blood after judging them!
Thanks to both committees for some great shows and the hardworking Judges and Stewards. Can't wait to come back and do it all again next year!