Golden Oldie has his day and qualifies for Crufts

ArniAn Oxfordshire dog has proved the theory that you improve with age after beating all of the younger competition to win at the Southern Counties Championship dog show on the weekend.

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, Arni, from East Hagbourne in Oxford, is ten and a half years old and has been taking part in dog shows since he was a puppy. His Best of Breed success at Southern Counties is one of a long line of showing successes for the Golden Oldie, including winning the veteran dog class at Crufts this year.

Arni has also won the Best of Breed at Crufts four times, only being beaten in the intervening years by his own sons. The rest of the family are clearly continuing in Arni’s footsteps as his grandson, Woody, already holds ten Best of Breed awards at Championship Shows, at just 26 months of age.

Owner and Kennel Club Accredited Breeder, Babs Harding, said: “I was on cloud nine when Arni won his Best of Breed prize, I never expected him to get that far when he was the only old boy competing. 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 adores the applause and looked as proud as punch when he won.

“He is flying the flag for Oxford and for Golden Oldies everywhere, by showing that you truly can improve with age. We are so proud that he is able to set the standard for younger dogs and their breeders to aspire to. We breed responsibly to ensure he passes his healthy genes and good temperament down to his offspring, which is already reaping rewards in the show ring.
“Arni is a member of our family and was treated to a nice long walk and a cuddle when he won his prize. I’m now just hoping that this is his lucky year and that we can come home with another Crufts victory - that really would be the icing on the cake.”

Babs is a Kennel Club Accredited Breeder, which means that she agrees to give her dogs the health tests that are required for their breed and to take other steps to give her the best chance of breeding happy, healthy puppies.

Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Communications Director, said: “I am really pleased that Arni has done so well and is proving the theory that we all get better with age! Arni was bred by a Kennel Club Accredited Breeder and his success demonstrates just how important it is that people buy dogs from a responsible breeder, in order to ensure that they live long and healthy lives. Arni’s good start in life has enabled him to grow into a healthy and well adjusted dog and this is clearly helping him and his offspring to achieve their showing success.”

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.