Here on our little island, at the bottom of Australia, we have been very fortunate to have not felt the full effects of the pandemic. This means we only missed out on six months of events. Shows returned in August, though without the regularity. So we certainly haven't seen the inside of the showring as much as we usually would have. But nevertheless, we still have a lot to be proud of, here at Zuleika.
BENNI - Sup.Ch. Armahani Heliodorr Hulivili (AI) ET
After his amazing 2019, Benni was invited to the Tasmanian Contest of Champions, which just scraped in before lockdown, back in March. The Contest of Champions is for the Top 32 dogs from the previous year and uses a standard knockout structure. Benni thrilled us by making the semi-final (final 4 dogs), losing only to the eventual winner. As far as we are aware, this is the most successful a Finnish Lapphund has been in any Australian 'top dog' competition.
Benni is now enjoying semi-retirement. He will only come out for special occasions, such as Royals and Specialties.
FLEUR - Ch. Armahani Iolite Ilo (AI) HT
Fleur was spayed in January and was just about ready to make her Neuter debut when lockdown occurred. This meant she had another six months at home to develop that beautiful 'booty' she now sports. We do not have neuter at all of our shows, so Fleur has only attended three shows. She took Neuter Best of Breed at all three, before culminating in Runner-up Best Neuter in Show (BIS2) at the final show of the year. She also took Runner-up Best Neuter in Show (BIS2) at our Judges Training Open Show. I am looking forward to continuing to campaign her in 2021.
I am also hoping to resume Herding with her. To help us both learn directions and distance work, we have been learning Trieball. This is so much fun. Our long term goal is to get Fleur's Novice Trieball title, through NATE in the US and her ANKC Pre-Trial Herding title.
LIINA - Armahani Moonstone Movtta (AI)
Liina just scraped in making her show debut as a Baby Puppy, at the end of February, before lockdown, taking two Baby Puppy in Groups. When shows resumed at the end of August, she picked up where she left off, taking taking three out of four Puppy in Groups on offer and then Junior in Group at her first (and so far, only) show as a Junior. This means she finishes 2020 as Top Dog Australia's #2 Working Dog Puppy and #5 All Breeds for Tasmania.
Where we have been having the most fun is in the Performance Sports area. For the past few months Liina and I have been working with Kathy Seadon, of Leaps & Bounds Dog Training, to develop our skills in Rally O and Tricks. We have also been working with Clover Ward on Agility skills. Liina loves to work and I adore the relationship we have developed from training together. I can't wait to get in the trial ring with her. Our first goal is her Rally Novice title. This little girl is proving to have beauty and brains!
J¨AGER - Zuleika Gold Digger
Poor Jäger hasn't seen the physical inside of a show ring during 2020. However, he still managed to wow us. In May the Southern Finnish Lapphund Society (UK) held a virtual show, to raise money for research into Addison's Disease. We were thrilled when Jäger placed second in a class of 30 Open Dogs, from around the world, under Finnish judge Reino Korpela. To have our homebred boy recognised on such a world stage is a huge honour and we are immencely proud.
Fingers crossed we can get him into the ring in 2021 and finish off that title that he so well deserves.
THEO - Zuleika Le Bombe
Theo got a few shows in, at the beginning of the year, taking three Baby Puppy in Group wins. He has since made his 'big boy' debut and is well on his way to this title. Along the way he has taken Junior in Group, State Bred in Group and been shortlisted in Best in Group line-ups.
I am really happy with how he is maturing and he is starting to understand this 'showing' thing.