Best In Show 2011: Flat Coat Retriever
Taking away the highest of dog show honours of Best In Show at Crufts 2011 was a Flat Coated Retriever formally named Sh Ch Vbos The Kentuckian, or "Jet" to his family and friends. Shown by his breeder Jim Irvine from South Queensferry, Edinburgh. Jet was recognized above thousands of other entrants from around the world as the best example of a pure bred dog. In fact, now in it's 120th year, Crufts had over twenty one thousand entries!
There are six types of Retrievers recognised by the Kennel Club - Curly Coated, Flat Coated, Golden, Labrador, Chesapeake Bay and Nova Scotia Duck Tolling - all of which fall under the Gun Dog category. Many of the breed characteristics that the judges look for are based on the dogs function, and this is especially true for Retrievers. Although few show dogs will actually still take part in the activities that they were traditionally bred for, they should still display the traits necessary to excel at these functions, in this case the ideal form for running, locating small animals and carrying them gently but securely back to their owner.
When being shown on the famous green carpet, judges look at a dog's build, coat, movement and temperament and compare them to the official ideal description of the breed.
The Flat Coated Retriever should be around 23 inches tall, and weigh between 60 and 80 pounds. They should have a solid yet define shape, with a broad chest and muscular hind legs and a straight appearance when viewed from the front or rear. The head should be long and shapely, without too much space between the eyes and with open nostrils. The mouth is particularly important, and the teeth should be perfectly spaced so that the top teeth closely overlap the bottom.
As dogs bred for working in partnership with humans while hunting, Flat Coated Retrievers are judged highly on their intelligence, confidence and friendliness, as shown through bright eyes, an eager expression and "enthusiastic tail action".
When walking and running in the ring, Jet displayed the ideal balance of power and grace that is admired in Flat Coated Retrievers. It doesn't take an expert to see the strength and agility in his movement.
Grooming is also an important aspect in judging, and while some breeds, such as the Bichon Frise are scored more highly in this area than Retrievers, Jet's healthy and shiny coat, falling in soft black waves down his sides, undoubtedly impressed the judge.
Breeders top tips for a shiny coat? Most of the Crufts show dog handlers that I spoke with recommended including tripe in a dog's diet to improve skin and coat condition.
If you are interested in finding a Flat Coated Retrievers breeder you can use the Kennel Club's 'Find a Puppy' service, which will ensure that you buy a puppy from breeders that understand and aim for all of the traits found in the breed. Although it may be a tough call to find a dog as outstanding as Jet, Flat Coated Retrievers make great pets, and any puppy is bound to be a winner with the right family.
Petside: Get Started
- Kitten Life
Learn about the different life stages of your Kitten and much more!
- Puppy Life
Everything you need to know about raising a Puppy, all in one place! Check it out.
- Find a Breed
Browse dog and cat breeds to find your perfect pal.
- Diagnose a Condition
Use PetVet to research what's ailing your pet.