A Cumbrian 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.
Tyler, a seven-year old Sussex Spaniel from Askam-in-Furness, Cumbria fought off competition from more than 2,000 other dogs to win fourth prize in the hotly contested Gundog Group, at Blackpool Dog Show at the weekend. His win is even more remarkable considering he is more than 7 years old, and the oldest in the Gundog group. He has already qualified for next year’s Crufts.
The win is amongst Tyler’s biggest accolades to date, having won a prize for being in the top four gundogs at only two previous championship shows in Scotland and Bournemouth,. He has been shown for around seven years and has previously won nine Best of Breed prizes at championship shows, as well.
The Sussex Spaniel is on the Kennel Club’s British and Irish Vulnerable Breeds list because it had only 56 puppy registrations with the Kennel Club last year. It is hoped that Tyler’s 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.
Jane Graham, a Kennel Club Accredited Breeder who owns and co-bred Tyler, said: “I was so proud when Tyler won aGroup prize. He is such a loveable, gentle dog and I have no doubt that he won because the judge saw how happy and healthy 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 and an inspiration to us all, to be doing so well at such a grand age.
“Tyler is not only flying the flying the flag for Cumbria and Golden Oldies but for Sussex Spaniels as well, 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.”
Jane and her husband and co-breeder of Tyler, Tom, are both Kennel Club Accredited Breeders, which means that they agree to take all of the required health tests for their breed and other steps to give them the best chance of breeding happy, healthy puppies. Jane has been showing for 12 years, and her husband Tom for more than 30.
The Blackpool Dog Show is one of 37 General Championship Dog shows throughout the year that enable dogs to qualify for Crufts, in March 2010.