Dutch in 2012

This year, the Bradford Ch. Show attracted an entry of 672 cavies; a total that included 19 Dutch. Not the biggest breed entry by any stretch of the imagination but reasonably good for most years. Amy Heale did well in the Adult classes with a Red sow being the best. It was also good enough to take the Marked/Ticked Sow Challenge. In the Intermediate classes, a Chocolate sow shown by Karen Binks prevailed whilst in the youngsters, a Black boar shown by Wilmot Goldsworthy proved best.

In February, Wessex Cavy Club kindly hosted the Dutch Cavy Club South West Area Show with Peter Gammie doing the honours. The entry of 32 Dutch was reasonably good for the time of year and, in fact, it proved to be very satisfactory in the light of the entries at some subsequent events. Sarah Stribley took Best Dutch with her good adult Red boar, 'Treleaver Rambo' that was later to become a DCC champion and be the only Dutch in 2012 to gain Best in Show over all breeds at an open event (East Cornwall C.C. in May). Well done Sarah.

However, from the judge's comments the top spot at Wessex was closely contested with Wilmot Goldsworthy's 5/8 months Black boar not far behind and just losing out on saddle placement. Wilmot also took Best Youngster with another Black boar. Also, it was good to see some juvenile interest at the show and Ewan Collis took Best Junior with a 5/8 months Black boar. Collis was a name to crop up at other DCC events and one that did quite well too.

The Yorkshire Championship Show at Keighley in April is always a good show, attracting an entry of 517 pigs this year. I'm not sure how many Dutch were entered for Peter Wardman to sort out but I suspect it was somewhere in the mid-thirties. Sarah Stribley's red boar, 'Treleaver Rambo' again took the top honours with a smart 5/8 months Chocolate from Amy Heale taking the runner up spot. Third in the Grand Challenge was an adult Red sow from Kevin Hopkins and I suspect this may well have been the attractive youngster that took my eye at the Real London Show in September 2011.

Pete Wardman's comments on Kevin's pig were quite complimentary but stated that a little better preparation would have improved the saddle. It is a job to know what exactly is the ideal requirement is this regard as some judges are happy with a really tidy line whilst others prefer a more natural line. One does have to be careful as this can be quite a contentious issue and is something that is hard to deliberate on. A matter of opinion is the simplistic answer.

The month of May was marred with the loss of our Secretary, Maggie McKay who had been diagnosed with liver cancer in September 2011 and had struggled on bravely helping out with the local Kent shows until the very end. Maggie had offered to resigned but members at the 2011 AGM felt that we should not desert her and that she should continue in office with Stuart Inch and others agreeing to help out with various duties. Sadly, the Club survived better than Maggie did with obituaries appearing in the June issue of Cavies magazine. They can still be read on the DCC website.

Should anyone have forgotten, 2012 was the wettest year for about 100 years. The DCC Northern Area Summer Show that should have been held at the Bingley Agricultural Show on 21st July had to be abandoned because of the waterlogged state of the site. Hopefully, we will have better luck in 2013.

The Club's Southern Area Show was held in conjunction with the Real London Show on 8th September. A total of 41 Dutch were entered for Kevin Lidbetter to sort out and, as expected, he made a good fist of things and, as expected, Sarah Stribley and Amy Heale featured in most of the top placings. This time, Amy prevailed with her Chocolates with third place in the Grand Challenge going to Sarah's 'Rambo'. Amy was also successful in the Intermediate classes with another Chocolate although Sarah had to be content with second place in the u/5 months challenges with her promising Golden Agouti boar. Malcolm Atkinson can often be expected to produce something very useful and this time he brought down a smart young Black sow from Yorkshire to take Best Youngster.

As Amy Heale was judging Best in Show for the Real London classes and Graham Godfrey was sorting the winners in the Marked/Ticked Adult classes, this meant that the competition was a little different with Amy's Chocolates and Reds and Graham's AOCs out of the running. Sarah Stribley's 'Treleaver Rambo' took the Adult Red class (10) to gain the remaining win that was required for his championship. Maureen Woodward took the Dutch Agouti Adult class (6) with a nice Cinnamon Agouti sow, a colour that has few supporters and could do with more. Unfortunately, the remaining adult classes were conspicuously absent from the report although I did notice from cards on the show pens that Alan Wilson took the awards in the A.O.C. Adult class with his Creams.

In the London Intermediate and Young classes, I was pleased to see the names of Sharon and Ewan Collis taking firsts with their Black Dutch entries. Emily Bennet also did well with her 5/8 months Reds and I was impressed with the colour of her stock. These fanciers augur well for the future.

Amy Heale did the honours on 29th September for the Midland Area Show at Norton Lindsey. An entry of 35 Dutch awaited her and that was a good response from fanciers considering the few DCC members that reside in the midlands. Once again, 'Treleaver Rambo' was present but, if he was a horse, it would have been reported that he had been 'cast in his box' as some misfortune occurred overnight in the travelling box. As a consequence, some coat was missing and that had to be taken into consideration in the challenge placings.Therefore, two Blacks shown by Wilmot Goldsworthy headed Sarah's boar in the Adult A.C.Challenge.

The Intermediate challenges were won by Crazy Cavies with a useful Black Dutch although it was seen to be a little over-groomed; a factor that probably held it back from progress in the later challenges. Sarah Stribley took the Young classes with her promising Golden Agouti boar and this pig then went on to take the Grand Challenge and Best Dutch. Wilmot's two Blacks provided the meat in this class sandwiched between Sarah's youngster and her Red that took the Reserve spot.

Most of the successful exhibits at this show proved to be boars but it was good to see Amy being considerate to all colours with Alan Wilson's pleasing Cream taking second place behind Wilmot's Black youngster in the Sow Challenge A.A.

This year, the Margaret Elward Memorial Show went South West and was held on 13th October in conjunction with the Cornish Championship Show. Only a small entry of 20 for Graham Godfrey to sort out and the overall entry of 250 exhibits was perhaps a little disappointing but other shows were being staged on the same day. Graham's comments are rather sparse but I can report that Best Dutch went to Amy Heale with a young Red Dutch sow. Second in the Grand Challenge went to another youngster, Sarah Stribley's Golden Agouti with Wilmot Goldsworthy taking third with her adult winning Black. It was good to see Sharon and Ewan Collis showing again and Sharon took the 5/8 months challenges with her Black.

Also being staged on this day was the London at Peterborough Championship Show and I see from the show report that DCC member, Kerry Hill did quite well with her Golden Agouti 5/8 months exhibit. Kerry did also exhibit at Norton Lindsey in September and she did disclose that she might be running down her cavy interests to persevere with her show jumping aspirations. It must be difficult to give both the attention they merit but I hope that we don't completely lose Kerry to the horse world.

The last show of the year was the Annual Stock Show at Loughborough on 9th December with yours truly doing the honours. Unfortunately, Sarah Stribley and Wilmot Goldsworthy were unable to make the show as I heard through the grapevine that Sarah had badly injured her shoulder in an accident. I'm not sure of the exact details but I hope it is nothing really serious and that she has a speedy recovery. As a consequence, what could have been an entry in the mid-thirties only materialised to a total of 25 Dutch.

However, there was still some nice Dutch on view although it is fair to say that the quality was a bit mixed. One exhibit in the 5/8 months classes was a Golden Agouti that I soon discovered had a pronounced coat fault on the belly i.e. a ruffle/swirl. In the past, prior to the standardisation of the breed standards, the likes of Jim Tenner would have called this fault an escutcheon and I see from an old breed standard sheet of June 1997 that it is clearly listed as a disqualification. Come the 21st Century and the BCC review of all standards, this fault became 'standardised' and was then listed simply as a fault across all short, smooth-haired varieties.

Notwithstanding the change, I feel that it is still a serious fault and one that should not be present in a first prize winning exhibit. Often in past years, I have seen such exhibits sent off No Award and provided it is not indicated as a disqualification, I have no quibble with this action and it is consistent with the American viewpoint of matters. I simply withheld the first on this occasion as I felt that was more consistent with my actions of the past but it is something that could be discussed at the next DCC AGM as surely the fault has more in common with a side whisker (disqualification) than other faults such as cysts, hemmed ears, static mite, etc.

When it came to the winning exhibits at this show, Amy Heale had quite a field day taking the first three places in the Grand Challenge with her adult Chocolate boar (a very impressive pig), u/5 months Red sow (nice all round) adult Red sow (just held on cheeks). The Reserve spot went to Gary Clark with his adult Red boar (heavier cheeks and beaten undercut but still a nice pig).

Palace Cavies took the Intermediate classes with a Red sow and they also showed a tidy adult Golden Agouti boar that was a nicely coloured pig and a good example of the breed. Madelaine Coomber flew the flag for the off colours in agouti showing both Chocolate and Cinnamon exhibits. The two chocolates varied quite a bit in colour with the winner dark and the second light. The one she showed at Real London impressed me most for colour and I hope she perseveres with this new colour as it I find it most attractive at its best.

That leads me on the New Colour class where I encountered a Buff cum Dark Cream that could well have been a Dark Cream cum Buff and was not really my idea of a new colour. See comments in my Cavies show report or on the DCC website. I would remind members that the possibility of Buff Dutch was raised by Alison Roles at the DCC 2002 AGM and I quote: The Sec then read a letter from Alison Roles concerning the possibility of darker coloured Cream Dutch being considered Buff Dutch. As this prospect could lead to some confusion as to what was a dark Cream and what could be considered a Buff Dutch, it was agreed to leave things as they were; particularly as some judges had a leaning anyway toward a darker shade for the better definition of markings.

All that now remains is to wish everyone All the Very Best in 2013 and that, hopefully, there will be plenty of promising Dutch around to give the judges a busy time.