We interviewed Joanne Blackburn-Bennett, owner of Reserve Best in Show winner Chilli, to find out how she got into dog showing, how she celebrated after her group win and her tips for newcomers for those interested in dog showing.
When and how did you get into dog showing?
I was born in 1969 and my mother won her first CC (Challenge Certificate) when she was pregnant with me so I was born into the world of dogs and dog showing. My first show was a Dachshund Club Show, I was only four years old and I showed in junior handlers. I was not allowed to show at championship shows until I was ten. I am from a three generation family that shows dogs. My mother is Ellen Blackburn the founder of the Stargang which is mainly used for our Dachshunds, myself and then my daughter Heather Blackburn-Bennett. My husband John was also born in to the world of dogs his parents had the Shardaroba Dachshunds. We also have our Pointers which are under the Kanix kennel name with our close friends Sigurd and Kari Wilberg.
Do you remember the first time you went to Crufts?
I cannot remember my first Crufts as I have always gone! My mother used to run a coach to it when it was held in Earls Court and Olympia. My Grandmother would watch me, and we would sit at the back of the bus and she would tell me jokes.
What did you do to celebrate your group win?
We celebrated at home with drinks for us and ice cream for the dogs.
How many times have you been in the group at Crufts before?
I think I have been in group ring three times with a Pointer. We were in the ring with Breeze, Chilli’s Grandfather who we had for 18 months from New Zealand. We had Breeze’s son and father to Chilli, Sh Ch Kiswahili Martin at Kanix and then Chilli. Chilli’s mum also won a CC at Crufts. We have been in the group ring over ten times with our Stargang, which are Miniature, Smooth and Wirehaired Dachshunds.
Have you ever had a group win at Crufts before?
No I have been placed in the group but never won a group at Crufts.
Other than Crufts what is your favourite show to exhibit at?
I have several but I have to say LKA as it’s like a mini Crufts and Windsor in the summer.
What are your tips for newcomers?
Take advice, don’t be disheartened, and don’t try to run before you can walk. Most of all have fun, it is only a dog show so don’t take things too seriously.
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