When the world’s most famous dog show gets underway at the Birmingham NEC on March 6, a Ballymena breeder will be ready to compete with not one entry, but three!
Barbara Evans of the Ballykeel Business Park-based Mount Slemish Kennels and Grooming will be taking part in Crufts with Giant Schnauzer Zorro, and Miniature Schnauzers, Morse and Solo.
All three have the excellent credentials required to show at such a global standard.
Aged just 19 months, Giant Schnauzer ‘Zorro’ has multi Green Stars in Best of Breeds throughout Ireland, is a Junior Irish Champ and Irish Champ and last August won Best of Breed at the Scottish Kennel Club (KC) Show.
‘Morse’, or to give him his K.C. title - Mount Slemish Dirty Harry, at the tender age of 30 months, has six green stars under his collar, attained numerous Best of Breeds at Southern Irish Shows and won Best of Breed at last year’s Belfast Champ Show.
And, more recent ‘show man’, Solo (18 months), aka Mount Slemish Sole Survivor, got his paws on a Reserve Best of Breed title in the Belfast Champ Show and took a second in his first English competition back in November.
What makes Solo all the more remarkable is that he was ‘fostered’ by Zorro’s mum, Fergie, from birth along with her own litter of 11, after his own mother failed to produce any milk following a C-section.
Zorro, Solo and Morse are all proudly owned by Barbara (58) who has been a dog lover and owner for over 40 years having been inspired by her father, James Telford Liggett who bred and showed Kerry Blues and her uncle, who was an international dog judge.
An owner and breeder of German Shepherds for three decades, she developed a love of Schnauzers in more recent years.
Barbara, not surprisingly therefore, is proud and delighted to be showing her three ‘boys’ at Crufts 2014 - Zorro in the Giant Schnauzer Post Grad Class on Thursday, March 6, and, on the Saturday, Solo in the Miniature Schnauzer Special Yearling Class and Morse in the Miniature Schnauzer Post Grad.
Friday will see Barbara and Zorro join Mount Slemish Kennel Assistant, Christine Higgins and her Giant Schnauzer and Zorro’s sister, ‘Grace’, at the Discover Dog Stand for the Giant Schnauzer Club of Great Britain.
Although quite new to the Show circuit, Grace (19 months) came first in the Pre-Beginners and Beginners Obedience classes at the 2013 Belfast Champ Show and took a first in the Winter League training programme for Crufts.
The success of the two Ballymena ‘Giants’ is, however, in their blood as their father, who hails from Poland, won Best of Breed at Crufts last year while mother, Barbara’s own Fergie, has taken a third place at Crufts in her time.
As she makes final preparations for this year’s event at the NEC, Barbara is hopeful that her Mount Slemish trio will make their own mark when they compete next week.