My first Labrador, Tess, was two and a half years old when I decided to get a second bitch Labrador. Firstly, she would be company for Tess whilst I was out and also she would be company for me whenever the inevitable happens to Tess. The thought of going home to an empty house was just too awful to contemplate.

Tess did obedience and was in the Old Park Farm Display Team. I thought I would give the show world a try with Holly. She was about eight months old when she went into her first show in the autumn of 2006. Neither of us had been to any ring craft classes but we had practiced a few times at obedience training. Holly won her class and that was the start of our road to Crufts.

After that initial show she went on to be regularly placed at open shows so we tried our hand at a few Championship shows. Even though we were both new to the show world she did reasonably well at that level over the summer of 2007, gaining a third, four 4th’s and seven 5th places. However, none of these qualified her for Crufts.

Late September 2007 she was entered into Driffield Championship show. She came 3rd in a qualifying class under judge Mr A. Allen. This meant she was eligible for entry into Crufts 2008. WooHoo!!

The morning of Friday 7th March, 2008 arrived. Holly and I left home very early to make our way to the NEC in Birmingham. There we met my two sisters and my niece who had come to cheer us on.

Holly was entered into the bitch undergraduate class. As luck would have it, it happened to be the biggest class of the day with 37 entered. I thought, “oh well, we have made it onto the big green carpet; that’s excellent for our first year of showing”.

It was time for her class.

We circled the ring with all the other entrants.

Holly was examined by the judge, Mr V. Cole, and she behaved herself.

She did try to kiss the judge, which she likes to do, but she didn’t connect.

Holly Crufts 2008

Eventually Mr Cole had examined all the dogs and this is when I thought our Crufts journey would be over.

We made a shortlist – wow!

Then another shortlist – this was great!

I really thought we would be leaving the ring at the next cut but no!







She made the final eight then the final five.

Mr Cole gave her 5th place, Very Highly Commended.

So, because Mr Allen put us through she got a VHC at Crufts. Now we are going to a few Championship shows in 2008 and maybe she’ll qualify for 2009 but she has to compete with the big girls now and if she gets there it will really be a big achievement. Watch this space!!

Holly dog at Crufts 2008 Holly's rosette from Crufts Holly Crufts 2008