Barbet News (page 46)

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The CLA Game Fair 2010


Arriving at Ragley Hall, Warwickshire for this years CLA Game Fair on the Thursday night allowed us to set up camp, set our stand up in the Sporting Dogs Pavillion and of course give the dogs a chance to get re-acquainted before the real work started at 8.30 sharp on the Friday morning.

Hugo meeting the crowds on the Barbet stand.

Hugo meeting the crowds
on the Barbet stand.

Any idea that the forecast of heavy showers might reduce visitor numbers was quickly dispelled as the carparks filled early on and a stream of visitors began to come through the Sporting Dogs Pavillion where the barbet was one of several gundogs on display. The barbet was certainly attracting plenty of interest and dogs and owners were kept busy answering a variety of questions on the breed from their origins, maintenance and types of work. Having a range of ages, colours and coat length in attendance also made it possible to give a more complete picture of the breed to the visiting public. Many were encountering the breed for the first time while others were taking the opportunity to meet the breed in the flesh having read or heard of the barbet previously. With so many barbet owners prepared to give up their time to promote the breed we were able to rotate the dogs in two hour shifts and give owners and dogs a well earned breather out of the pavillion.

By the end of what had proved to be a successful first day, those of us who were camping at the Game Fair for the whole weekend returned to the campsite in the grounds of Ragley Hall set aside for the gundogs. After dinner we were able to unwind and let the dogs have a good run together along the `Sculpture Trail` which runs through the woods and grounds of the estate.

Saturday brought slightly larger crowds and once again the barbet proved a popular attraction. Strikingly the barbet is a very tactile breed with old and young alike instictively reaching out to touch the barbets coat. It was a testament to the character of the breed that whichever dog was on display at the time, they were always willing to meet new people and were unfazed by the many hands reaching into the pen to pet them.

The Sporting Dogs arena.

The Sporting Dogs arena

Twice during each day, the dogs are paraded in the Sporting Dogs arena which gives the public a chance to see the different breeds moving in a more natural setting while a commentator gives a brief description of the history and work done by each breed. Explaining that the breed gets its name from `barbe` the French for beard, the commentator noted that we had a few bearded ladies in the arena. Even when not on display, many of the owners commented on how much attention their dogs got just walking around the show, frequently being stopped by passers-by and asked about their dogs and the breed in general.

While not on display in the pavillion or in the Sporting Dogs arena, six of the barbets present took the opportunity to visit the Kennel Club specialist eye vet during the day. As a result Demi, Duplo, Eton, Bonnie, Betsy & Bepop all have current clear eye test certificates. While the test is not required in France, it is in several other countries and we are especially grateful to those who had their dogs tested even though they do not plan to breed as it gives a good indication of the health of the breed in general.

On Sunday evening the Fair came to a close, a successful weekend for the barbet with over seventy information pamphlets taken and many new admirers of the barbet introduced to the breed. The Barbet Club is especially grateful to Melanie and Graham owners of Remy for co-ordinating the event on behalf of the club and to the owners of Esme, Eton, Evie, Hugo, Duplo, Bonnie, Demi, Betsy and Bepop for giving up their time to man the Club stand and take part in the parades.



Next year the Game Fair will be held at Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire, see Game Fair 2011 for details.

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