Tails of Crufts success

Maria Cockram from Misterton won prizes at Crufts with her miniature schnauzers G120320-3c
Maria Cockram from Misterton won prizes at Crufts with her miniature schnauzers G120320-3c

THERE must be something about Misterton that’s good for breeding dogs.

Two dog owners from the village have both bred champion dogs and have the Crufts rosettes to prove it.

Pictured is Val Jarvis with her Irish Red and White Setter Lottie.  Lottie came First in Class at Crufts  (w120402-3)

Pictured is Val Jarvis with her Irish Red and White Setter Lottie. Lottie came First in Class at Crufts (w120402-3)

Maria Cockram, of Wharf Road, has been showing dogs for 25 years and is no stranger to the country’s top canine show.

She used to breed Akitas but 12 years ago fell in love with miniature schnauzers when she was working at a boarding kennels and has been breeding them ever since. “They are good fun and real characters.”

She brought home three winners from Crufts.

“A brother and sister Jenson and Mayzi both got third places in the yearling category and nine-month-old Brandon won the puppy dog class and reserve dog challenge certificate.”

Maria and husband Stephen have eight dogs which are kept in tip-top condition by Maria, who is a professional dog groomer.

“They take a lot of grooming every week, I work on their jackets and leg hair. Before a show I will trim them.”

“They have to have a wire jacket which is different to a pet dog’s because that will be clipped and soft. They are usually a pepper and salt colour and have a beard, moustache and long eyebrows.”

She goes to Gainsborough ring craft classes at Corringham village hall and says training dogs for showing is a different skill to obedience training.

“They have to learn to stand in a still position while the judge looks and assesses them and handles them. Whereas with obedience training dogs learn to sit when their owner is standing still beside them.”

“Dogs usually get the hang of show training quite quickly.”

Maria has been all over the country showing her dogs and last year won a third and a fourth rosette at Crufts.

Her friend Val Jarvis, who she has known since she was 17 when they worked together in a Gainsborough pet shop, is another winner.

Val breeds Irish red and white setters, which are recognised as a vulnerable breed because their numbers are down.

She said: “When I started breeding them in 1982 there were only 30 of them left in the world so I have helped to increase the numbers.”

“They aren’t just show dogs either, they are trained to work as gun dogs as well and that’s something the judges at Crufts are looking for. They look for a dog that’s most capable of doing the job it was bred for.”

Val’s champion dog Jaffa, six, who she bred, won third in the open dog class and his two-year-old daughter Lottie won the postgraduate bitch class.

Jaffa gets his champion status because he’s won three challenge certificates at different shows. He has also won four reserve challenge certificates.

Val, who works as a senior teaching assistant at Aegir Community School, has four dogs and said they need quite a bit of grooming.

Another Crufts success came from Caroline Morrell, who runs Croft House Kennels and Cattery at West Stockwith.

Her nine-month-old Newfoundland Chase, who she bred herself, came third in the puppy class.

Caroline said: “Chase has a full season ahead of him so fingers crossed he will do well.”