Linda Offen has sent in this interesting article on just how difficult it is to make up a French Champion. And we thought we had it hard!
"As I seem to have "been in dogs" for at least a century, you will appreciate that I have got to know a lot of people in a variety of breeds over the years. One of them is a lovely lady by the name of Avril Lacey. When I first met her in the late 1970s she was well known for her "Weetoneon" Afghan Hounds but then became just as famous for her Hungarian Pulis, which breed she is synonymous with today. She still has one Afghan and, in fact, judged that breed as well as Pulis at WELKS this year. She has also judged both breeds at Crufts. Along the way she also owned Komondors, which always seemed to take over the whole of the hall when she brought them to training classes!
A few years ago Avril and her partner Stan decided to decamp to France (sensible couple!) together with all the dogs. She still travels to the UK to attend Championship shows but, as expected, has also managed to make up some of her stock to French Champions. This process, I have discovered, is very different from what now appears to be an almost relaxed approach in the UK to making up a Champion. The process was explained recently by Avril in the canine press where she writes the Puli breed notes, and I have reproduced it here to give an insight into what dogs and owners have to go through following gaining the necessary show wins.
I have also included a photo of Avril in the pastoral group ring at Crufts 2010 with her latest Champion Puli who, I hope you will agree, is a worthy title holder.
I hope you find the article interesting - don't let it put you off exhibiting or even living in France!!"
Gaining a French Ch title is different to the UK. You have to apply to the French KC to claim the title and it takes quite some time to be confirmed, as there are several items to check. You have to submit the CACs that have been won at both National and International Shows, plus one won at a Speciality National Show, and also one won either at The Club National Show (CBEI) or at the Championnatt de France. You also have to provide hip score certification (top scores only), eye tests (pass) and the TAN test certificate (temperament test). This test is held the day before the Club's annual Championship Show, where over 350 dogs from Groups 1 and 2 take this test. This test is mandatory, as are the other previously mentioned items, to become a Champion. The TAN test now includes a Gun Test (previously Group 2 only). The TAN test is for correct social behaviour with individuals, in crowds, and with other dogs, reactions in unusual situations, trust and obeying the handler, e.g. in one part, handler and dog have to jump over a series of tapes placed across side to side (approximately 12" high) between an avenue of barriers approximately 4' wide apart and for a length of about 6 metres. If a dog tries to crawl under, it is failed. It is a long day but worthwhile, and interesting to see all the various breeds and their reactions. The breeds one thinks would be the boldest sadly sometimes fail.
Thanks for sharing this with us Linda!