A local dog has brought some much needed attention to a breed that is teetering on the brink of extinction, by winning at a major Championship Show and qualifying for Crufts.
Indie, a three-year old Irish Red and White Setter from Chippenham, Wiltshire fought off competition from 44 other dogs to win the Best of Breed title, at the Southern Counties Dog Show at the weekend and has now qualified for next year’s Crufts.
This is Indie’s biggest accolade to date, having never won a Best of Breed prize before. He has been showing for around two years and has previously entered approximately 20 championship shows.
The Irish Red and White Setter is on the Kennel Club’s Irish and British Vulnerable Breeds list because the breed has less than three hundred puppy registrations with the Kennel Club each year. It is hoped that his dog show success could help to raise the profile of the breed after the Sealyham Terrier, another vulnerable breed that won this year’s Crufts, saw a 55 percent increase in enquiries about the breed in the first quarter of 2009, compared to the same period in 2008.
Suzanne Humphries, a Kennel Club Accredited Breeder, who owns and bred Indie, said: “I was so proud when Indie won his Best of Breed prize, I drove all the way home with a stupid grin on my face. I have no doubt that he won because the judge saw what a happy, healthy dog he is and how much he loves life, both in and outside of the show ring. He really is a fine example of his breed.
“Indie is flying the flag for Wiltshire and for Irish Red and White Setters, which are a beautiful breed but are in danger of extinction. By winning at dog shows, where people can come along to see all the different breeds, we are giving people a chance to see what wonderful characters they really are.
“Indie is a member of our family and was treated to a nice long walk, a special meal and big cuddle when he won his prize. I am just hoping that this will be Indie’s lucky year and that he can go on to have a win at Crufts – that really would be the icing on the cake.”
Suzanne is a Kennel Club Accredited Breeder, which means that she takes all of the required health tests for her breed and other steps to ensure that she breeds happy, healthy puppies. She has been showing for 26 years and has twice won Best of Breed in the Gundog group at Crufts.
The Southern Counties Dog show is one of 37 General Championship Dog shows throughout the year that enable dogs to qualify for Crufts, in March 2010.