A dog from Derbyshire 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.
Witch, a 23 month old Deerhound from Belper in Derbyshire, fought off competition from a host of other dogs at the Three Counties Agricultural Society Dog Show in Malvern at the weekend and has now qualified for next year’s Crufts.
She has been competing in dog shows for over a year and has entered 17 other championship shows, winning her class on no less than 14 occasions.
The Deerhound is on the Kennel Club’s list of British and Irish Vulnerable Native Breeds, as only around 300 puppies are registered each year and registrations for the breed have fallen further from the same period in 2008. It is hoped that her 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 last year.
Glenis and Mick Peach are Kennel Club Accredited Breeders and Witch was bred by Glenis in partnership with Taryn Edwards. Glenis said: “I was so very proud when she won this, her first CC, Best of Breed and then second place in the Hound group. I have no doubt that she did so well because the judge saw something special in her - she is a happy, healthy dog who loves life, both in and outside of the show ring.
“Witch is flying the flag for Derbyshire and for Deerhounds, which are a beautiful breed but are considered by the Kennel Club to be at risk 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 gentle hounds they really are. They do need to be in the hands of experienced dog owners though as they are sighthounds and need to run a lot.
“Witch is a valued member of our family pack. I am just hoping that this will be her lucky year – her show career is just a small part of what she is but we are hoping that she can go on to have a win at Crufts. That really would be the icing on the cake.”
As a Kennel Club Accredited Breeder, Glenis agrees to carry out all of the required health tests for her breed, and takes other steps to give her the best chance of breeding happy, healthy puppies. Glenis and Mick have been showing and breeding dogs for 40 years, and Deerhounds for 30 years.
The Three Counties Agricultural Society Dog Show is one of 37 General Championship Dog shows throughout the year that enable dogs to qualify for Crufts, in March 2010. For more information on the world’s largest dog show, please visit www.crufts.org.uk.