Roll up, roll up…it’s circus time at the Chiswick House Dog Show! Well, it was on the weekend and the wet weather certainly didn’t stop the Chiswick House Dog Show from going ahead…after all, the show must go on and go on it did!
The Chiswick House Dog Show
Marking the end of London’s summer fun dog show season, the Chiswick House Dog Show is London’s largest fun dog show with 18 classes across 4 rings, as well as a host of other attractions for humans and hounds alike on offer. Plus all proceeds from the show go directly to supporting the running of the beautiful Chiswick House Gardens which London dogs can enjoy all year round.
After winning ‘Best Canine Picture’ in the photo competition at the 2017 show, I was invited along to be a photographer for this year’s show which meant having to show up whatever the weather. Fortunately, despite things getting off to a soggy start it didn’t stop many dedicated dogs from coming along too, with suitable rain attire obviously…
This year’s show theme was ‘Circus 250’, part of a national campaign to commemorate 250 years since the first circus was held in London. This certainly made for a fabulous source of inspiration for the Fancy Dress Class (more on that in a moment).
The Chiswick House Dog Show – Womballs’ Flyball
As well as the fun dog show classes of Waggiest Tail, Best Rescue, Handsomest Male and Prettiest Female and the very popular Fancy Dress, the show also hosts some unique activities like the Womballs’ Flyball Demonstration and Have-A-Go session. We were lucky enough to be photographing the flyball ring and to see this in action close up is really something else. The speed at which these dogs can move in their quest to retrieve the ball from the spring-loaded box at the end of the run is incredible.
So what is flyball all about? After our on-the-day crash course, we discovered that a team of dogs work as a relay team, having to jump over four hurdles on their way to retrieve a ball from a spring-loaded box and then return back over the hurdles before the next dog sets off. If jumps are missed, balls dropped or a random course taken only known to the dog in question (which much to the amusement of the crowd watching can often happen) then faults are awarded and the dog that incurred them has to run again for the team to complete.
Some of the dogs taking part really challenged the stereotype image of the kind of dog that would do flyball. A favourite of the day has to be ball mad, Kiki the Frenchie. As Kiki’s owner told us, Kiki is the team’s secret weapon as no-one expects a Frenchie to be good at flyball but as the saying goes, never judge a book by it’s cover. In fact, Kiki showed us that not only is she super fast but that Frenchies can actually fly…
Then it was time for any pup to have a go even if they’d never done it before. Some were a bit bemused, yet others like Yogi the Greek rescue and Darcy the Weimaraner, are clearly flyball stars in the making!
If you’re interested in trying out flyball with your dog, then the Womballs are a friendly group based in Wimbledon (but not on the Common like their furry pointy-nosed namesakes). Check out their website for more info.
The Chiswick House Dog Show – Egg and Spoon Relay Challenge
In between the flyball sessions was a class that we hadn’t seen before, the (dog and human) egg and spoon relay challenge. The humans certainly got into the competitive spirit of things and the hounds, slightly confused but ever trusting, went along for the ride.
The Chiswick House Dog Show – Classes
As the day went on, the sun started to come out and fortunately so did the humans and hounds. Many came along to just be watch the show, browse the doggy trade stands or take part in the afternoon classes of Next Top Dog Model, My Dog’s Got Talent and the highlight of the day, the Fancy Dress class.
The Chiswick House Dog Show – Fancy Dress
The class where the circus theme really came to life was of course the Fancy Dress class with clowns being a firm four-legged favourite as well as a ringmaster or two. The celebrity judges Harriet Thorpe (Absolutely Fabulous) and Marianne Kessler (Phantom of the Opera) certainly had a hard job ahead.
Stealing the show were the seven strong group of fox terriers (and humans), the Canine Cannonballs who took home first prize as they did last year. Once again it was a fantastic terrier team effort from this talented group who set the standard very high, so it was well deserved.
As we discovered, catching one (or more) of these little guys staring at you intently from behind their aviator glasses was quite unnerving too!
Coming in a close second were rescue circus duo Bambi and Doodles who together with owner Emma Louise, had brought their own mini circus to the show. If there had been a ‘strike a pose’ class, Bambi and Doodles would have won it for sure, holding a pose for so long without moving that they didn’t look real!
The Chiswick House Dog Show – My Dog’s Got Talent
Plenty of pups and their humans had tricks to show off in the My Dog’s Got Talent class. Sadly some got stage fright but others went on to wow the judges (and the by now large audience) with their entertaining circus skills.
The Chiswick House Dog Show – Best in Show
The day finished off with the Best in Show Class where all the winners from the previous classes had another shot at being Top Dog.
It must have been a hard decision for the judges but in the end, the coveted title was taken home by the beautiful golden Retriever Evie (who’d previously won the Naughtiest Dog class) and her young owner.
So after a day of rain, sun and circus fun for all it was a wrap for another Chiswick House Dog Show.
Until next year that is…see you then!