Sarah Bartlett wrote this for us:
Dachtastic Obreedience Team Makes it to the final of Crufts and gets a whopping 3rd!
Dachtastic is a small team of Miniature Longhaired Dachshunds and with their respective humans we all compete in a relatively new dog sport called Obreedience.
The following is taken from the KC website –
‘The purpose of Obreedience is to encourage more breeds to ‘have a go’ at some of the tests associated with competitive obedience but in a less formal competitive environment.
Obreedience is a team event and showcases the talents of each breed through a series of fun exercises and it is perfect for all ages and abilities.
It mixes the best aspects of obedience with the camaraderie found amongst breed enthusiasts, each Obreedience team must comprise of four handlers and four dogs of the same breed who take part in two rounds of competition including a round of heelwork performed together as a group and then four set exercises including a retrieve, a ‘send to bed’, commanding the dog to stop, and a scent exercise.’
We are also encouraged to have two reserve handlers and dogs, which take the total up to 6 per team.
After watching heats in 2015 and watching the final at Crufts in 2016 we managed to get a team together in the hope of qualifying for the finals at Crufts 2017.
Our team consists of myself as team captain handling my boy Moss – Idirsholas Jazz’s Gift RL6. He has achieved Gold in the Good citizen dog scheme and was the first Dachshund to achieve his level 6 KC Rally Title. Moss has excelled in his ‘send to bed exercise.
Debbie Toby who has kindly and excellently handled one of my own dogs Ziggy – Future Legend of Idirsholas RL5. Ziggy is 11years of age, also has his GCDS Gold certificate and almost achieved his L6 title before retirement (just one qualification remaining). Ziggy did an excellent job with his ‘stop the dog’ exercise.
Wendy Schilling with Stanley – Idirsholas Rhythm of Jazz RL1. Wendy worked very hard with Stanley to train from scratch and then perfect the ‘scent’ exercise. This involves retrieving a familiar item amongst other items and presenting it to the handler in a formal manner, as would be expected in formal obedience. Stanley achieved his Rally Level 1 Title last year and isalso a GCDS Gold dog. Stanley is full litter brother to Moss. I could not be prouder as their breeder that they can excel in different dog sports, showing how versatile the Dachshund can be.
Joanne Stanley with Frankie (‘Frankiefurter’) – Silflay Wild Thyme RL1. Frankie also gained her Rally level 1 title last year with ease. Jo has competed in competitive obedience for many years with her German Shepherds, and also trained Frankie in the hope of Competing with her, but hasn’t yet. Frankie has a wonderfully trained formal retrieve with a dumbbell thanks to Jo (and Frankie’s fixation with Cheese!).
Jane Sutherland with Florence (Flozzer) – Frankie’s Silver Frosted Florentine. The youngest daughter of Frankie, a happy go lucky little silver dapple bitch who is owned, loved and trained by Jane. Jane has been a very committed member of the team despite not being called upon in any of the heats over the past year.
Pip (‘Pipperami’) owned by Jo, living with her mum Frankie, she was the only surviving pup out of Frankie’s first litter and is a lovely asset to the team. She enjoyed joining the team for the final parade at Crufts but like Jane and ‘Flozza’ hasn’t had the chance to truly shine in the ring…yet.
We had our first practice a month before our first heat last year and were very fortunate to have help from two experienced Competitors – Rachel Bradley (of the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling retriever team from the previous year) and Claire Price (Cavalier King Charles team who placed 4th at the finals at Crufts 2016). Rachel and Claire kindly shared their experience and wisdom and I believe really helped to set us on the path to success.
Looking back I think we averaged two one-hour practices in the run up to each heat and then weekly practices in the run up to Crufts.
Of the five heats we entered, we were delighted to place third at the first three of them! Qualification for the Crufts final is based on points gained at the heats, which are spread over the previous year. Heats are usually part of championship, rally or obedience shows, so its great for the dogs to gain experience of busy environments and crowds in readiness for Crufts. The higher the placing the more points gained (places and points from 1st to 10th)the ten highest scoring teams are invited to Crufts but no more than three teams from any breed group will be invited, and no more than one team per breed is selected for the final.
At the end of the final heat (which was at LKA) we were overjoyed to find that we were the top hound team, and 4th in the points table overall. Despite this we didn’t get the final confirmation from the KC until mid January and then it was all go go go to get ready!
Other teams that made it to the final were Cairn Terriers, Jack Russels, Cavalier King Charles, German Shepards, Border Collies, Cirneco Del Etna, Giant Schnauzers, Pyrenean sheep dogs and Manchester Terriers.
Placings were 1-4, 1st GSDs, 2nd Jack Russells, 3rd Dachtastic & 4th Cairn terriers!
There was only ¼ of a point difference between us and the Jack Russells in 2nd place.
It was an absolute honour to be invited to show off how amazing the Dachshund is at Crufts and on hound and terrier day no less! We were all shocked and ecstatic to be placed so high and above some more common and considered ‘more trainable’ breeds.
My old Boy Ziggy retired at Crufts there and then at age 11, though I’m not sure he will approve of letting the others have such fun without him in future!
Our aim was to make it to Crufts and to show how you can train a Dachshund despite what the masses may think to the contrary! Getting placed so high was the cherry on the cake and I’m not sure any of us have come down from the ‘winning high’ yet!
The whole team would like to give a big thanks to all who came to cheer us on and support us on our big day! It was wonderful to have such cheers each time we entered the ring and it helped to calm our nerves as we all felt we were amongst friends! We had many supporters from the various Dachshund Facebook groups, we really appreciated it, and I feel that it made all the difference.
The plan is to compete again this year and although there will be some team member changes we plan to have just as much fun if not more showing off our wonderful breed!
Towards the end of last year we were delighted to see another Dachshund team form and compete – team Mini Mayhem (miniature smooths) that also plan to compete again this year. We wish them all the best, after all, the more Dachshunds out there competing (whatever the sport) the better!
If anyone is interested in competing in Obreedience there is a Facebook group ‘All things Obreedience’; we are all a friendly bunch and all the teams offer support for each other. It’s no easy feat getting so many like minded dogs and handlers together, often teams are from different corners of the country and only get to practice on the day of the heats. The buzz from competing and the camaraderie amongst teams make for a wonderful day out and a fabulous atmosphere. All of the rules and regulations for the sport and the heat dates are on the Kennel Club website.
Sarah Bartlett KCAI CD R – Team Captain of Dachtastic Obreedience Team.