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Top dogs win at Crufts

Gunnarr (left) and Ylva returned from Crufts with five rosettes between them. Photo Fiona Johnson

A SHETLAND woman who returned from the UK’s top dog show at Crufts carrying no less than five rosettes is looking for other local owners wishing to train their dogs for events.

Fiona Johnson from Skeld took her dog and bitch German wirehaired pointers to Crufts this month to compete against some of the finest canines in the country.

Both the male Gunnarr and the bitch Ylva won the post graduate class for their breed, they came third and fourth in the gamekeepers class and Ylva came fifth amongst the working gun dogs.

Fiona Johnson with her winning German wirehaired pointers.

Johnson, who is safety manager with Shetland Islands Council, said it was a gruelling day, but she was elated by the end of it.

“It’s a long way from Shetland to Crufts and while most people only have to worry about a traffic jam, I had to think whether the ferries were going or not,” she said.

“You have to be quite fit once you’re there, I had to go in the ring seven times and in the ring you have to run around it twice.

“I was there for almost 12 hours and didn’t have time to see any of the stands or do any shopping, it was an exhausting experience. If we had done badly I would have felt completely drained, but by the end I could have flown back I was so elated.”

Gunnarr is a three year old German wirehaired pointer who belongs to Johnson’s husband David. Ylva, which is Old Norse for “she wolf”, is a two year old bitch.

They are both working dogs who go out wild fowling and shooting with their owners on the west side where they live.

Fiona Johnson with Ylva in the gamekeepers section.

Johnson said they never intended to show them, but the breeder suggested they might do well and when they were placed in a Scottish Kennel Club show at Ingleston they were eligible for Crufts.

Ylva first travelled down in 2012 to compete, but suffered “dead tail” five minutes before entering the ring and had to pull out.

This year however she was up for the challenge and performed beautifully, as did Gunnarr, Johnson said.

“Funnily enough the most nerve wracking bit was in the breed class when they were only competing against half a dozen dogs.

Gunnarr dummy training on Shetland's west side. Photo Fiona Johnson

“But I was especially proud when she came fifth in the working gun dogs section because she was up against munsterlanders and weimeranas, dogs that were full champions.”

Now Johnson is looking for other local dog owners who might be interested in going to ringcraft classes, as dogs in Shetland have nowhere to practice for shows.

“If folk are interested I am quite happy to take the classes as long as we can find a suitable venue,” she said, adding that she has every intention of returning to Crufts next year.

She can be contacted at scarvister@btinternet.com.

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