Dutch in 2011.

This year, the Bradford Ch. Show (or whatever it is called nowadays) kindly hosted the DCC Northern Winter Show. Kim Holmes did the honours and an entry of 22 Dutch was received. Unfortunately, the quality was rather mixed and several exhibits were sent off No Award. Considering that the entry fees and admission charges for this prestigious show are quite high, it is rather surprising that some exhibitors did not take the trouble to check with the breed standard and realise that it is a waste of time showing Dutch with coloured toenails or with stops running over the hock.

At the other end of the scale, some quality exhibits were on view with Amy Heale taking the first three places in the Grand Challenge. Her lovely adult Chocolate sow took top honours. It was good to see some new members exhibiting with Mr P & Mrs E. Smethurst (Dutch rabbit people also?) doing quite well in the Red classes and Nathan Evison ensured that the juvenile classes were not wanting of support.

April saw the Yorkshire Cavy Club Championship Show, Keighley attracting an entry of 527 exhibits. Included in this total were 37 Dutch for Chris Pearson to sort out in the DCC Northern Spring Show classes. Having bred a half decent baby in early February, I was anxious to enter the show. Admittedly, he was less than the recommended twelve weeks old but he was by no means the smallest youngster on view. The experience obviously did him no harm as, at his next appearance on the show table, the Real London Show as an intermediate (5/8 mths old) he was sent off 'OD' by Amy Heale. This was quite understandable on the grounds of size and nail length but I'd entered early when he was only six and a half months old and it was his birth date rather than development that was in my mind when making out the entry.

If this admission is frowned upon, I would add that I am not an advocate of very young pigs being shown but if sales stock is allowed in pens at eight weeks, I'd have thought a one day event for a well grown youngster of nine to ten weeks should do no harm.  Of course, I don't flog a pig round the shows week after week and, at that tender age; it's a once only occurrence.

The overall quality of stock at Keighley was good, particularly in the adults that took all four places in the Grand Challenge. For once Amy Heale had to be content with her Chocolate and Red exhibits taking the lower placings as Best Dutch went to Crazy Cavies with their Black boar that had won so much the previous year.

During May, the Kent Cavy Club entertained the DCC Southern Area Show with Kevin Lidbetter behind the table doing the honours. Whilst the entry could have been bigger, most colours were represented although Cream Agouti Dutch have been conspicuous by their absence throughout the year. On his home ground, Gary Clark did very well taking Best Dutch and the top two places in the Grand Challenge with his adult Red boar and sow. Two other Kent residents took the other places with Madelaine Coomber's Chocolate Agouti taking third and Palace Cavies the Reserve spot with a Silver Agouti Dutch. Julie Davies broke this spell of localism by exhibiting the Best 5/8months entry (Silver Agouti) and also the Best u/5months with a Red sow that greatly impressed Kevin on colour.  It was the product of Tim Brock's experiment of crossing his Dutch with a Self Red that Julie is now progressing and the venture has certainly borne fruit.

At Birmingham in July for the Midland Area Show, it was Gary Clark's turn to be behind the table and members supported him on his debut with a good entry of 49 Dutch. The show saw the emergence of another good pig from the Sarah Stribley stable; a really nice 5/8 months Red boar and it duly took top honours on the day from the adult Blacks of Wilmot Goldsworthy and Crazy Cavies with another Sarah Stribley exhibit (u/5mths Red) taking the Reserve card. There was a good mix of colours at the show including the rare appearance of a Lilac Dutch (Stuart Inch) that received some favourable comments from the judge. In the Agouti classes, Palace Cavies, Silver sow and Madelaine Coomber's Chocolate sow were both felt worthy of special mention.

On the day, Gary had some difficult decisions to make and often things boil down to a matter of opinion. In this respect, he must be admired for having a mind of his own, acting as he felt right and, as such, fully deserves our support.

The South West Area Show in August saw Sue Hearn behind the judging table who I believe has some experience judging rather bigger animals.  Only a small entry of 23 Dutch but, what was short in numbers, was made up in quality with some smart exhibits on view. This time Sarah and Wilmot reversed placings with the winning adult Black sow taking Best Dutch over the best 5/8 months Red with third place in the Grand Challenge being taken by the winning youngster, a very taking Red sow from Kevin Hopkins.  After only a few years in the Dutch fancy, Kevin is now starting to make a mark but it is not surprising considering his pedigree!! It must be in the blood as he is the grandson of that eminent South West fancier and judge of yesteryear, Gordon Tremeer.

September saw the very first Real London Show attract a fantastic entry of 840 pigs including 63 Dutch. Although, I suspect several southern fanciers consider this show the be the REAL London Show, the show was actually named by a fancier with seemingly football interests i.e. Real London as in Real Madrid. I suppose that is fairly relevant as I've recently learnt that the Reading F.C. are known as the Reading Royals and the London connection to the Reading region is endorsed by the fact that the London Irish Rugby Club are based in the area.

Anyway, back to the pigs and the DCC Margaret Elward Memorial Show that was being entertained with Madelaine Coomber doing the honours. Most colours were on view with, surprisingly, the biggest breed class being the Adult Silver Agouti class of seven.Palace Stud took the honours here and they are particularly strong in this colour. Of the less numerous colours, the Cinnamon Agoutis shown by Maggie & John McKay and Julie Davies took Madelaine's eye and she was also impressed by the Creams being shown by Alan Wilson. Top honours though went to Amy Heale with her noted adult Chocolate sow with Sarah Stribley in close attendance with her consistent 5/8 months Red boar. This time, Wilmot Goldsworthy took third place in the Grand Challenge with a 5/8 months Black sow. Kevin Hopkins was again winning with his young Reds (both boar and sow doing well) but both were touched off for Best Youngster by another smart Chocolate from Amy Heale.  

In October, the Dutch Cavy Club did support the London (at Peterborough) Championship Show with a Points Show but the show, like the venture of points shows away from DCC stock/area shows, was not well supported and the subsequent AGM in November decided that the arrangement be scrapped for 2012. Hopefully, the London at Peterborough event will be a less acrimonious affair in future and I see that the National Cavy Club will be staging a specially sanctioned show there next October. It will be a Midlands Area Show and the clue to my objections to this particular 'London' event is in the title of the show being entertained. It's all a question of location and nothing else.

Our final stock show for 2011 was the Annual Stock Show at Worth Valley Fanciers' venue in Oxenhope on 5th November. The entry of only 28 Dutch for Stuart Inch to sort out was rather disappointing being made up of 17 adults, 9 5/8 months and 2 youngsters. This was surprising considering so many trophies were up for competition and another surprise was the fact that not a single adult made the Grand Challenge placings. Best Dutch went to Kim Holmes with her 5/8 months Golden Agouti with the winning youngster, a Black from Crazy Cavies taking the runner up spot. Kevin Hopkins was again prominent, taking third place in the Grand Challenge with his 5/8months Red and the young Chocolate from Karen Binks (a new name to me) took the Reserve place. For the record, a Black sow shown by Brian Leiper took Best Adult. I suspect this was the first Scottish success at a DCC show for many a year; if not the initial one.

The 2012 Dutch Cavy Club show programme kicks off early with the South West Area Show being held at Lytchett Matravers (Wessex C.C.) on Sunday, 26th February 2012. Peter Gammie will very kindly be doing the honours and I hope that the year can get off with a really good entry. Remember the shows and the Club are only as good as your support.