Top gundog taking on Aussie canines
‘‘She is just a bit of a natural. I think she is a bit of a freak some of the things she does. ’’
Georgie is smarter than your average dog. Though it took a few years to discover.
The 7-year-old black labrador retriever is a New Zealand champion gundog and the only Kiwi canine about to take on Australia’s four-legged finest.
Her owner, Peter Southee, of Galloway in Central Otago, left for Australia on Sunday to compete in the New South Wales state retrieving championships and the 47th national retrieving championships.
Southee said she would be competing trials completely different to New Zealand, including retrieving multiple birds from 200 to 300 metres away. She was the first official New Zealand representative to compete in the Australian championships, he said.
‘‘It’s entirely different to ours...I had to start from scratch to train her. If I get in the top 10 I will be rapt.’’
Her talents as a gundog were not initially obvious, in fact, she was considered ‘‘soft’’.
‘‘I got her third-hand from a breeder. He couldn’t handle her because she was too soft, she wouldn’t retrieve or anything...I put her on a short chain with a big dog and he dragged her along. After that she never looked back. Then I slowly started to enter her in competitions.’’
She competed in retriever trials, as well as ‘‘all breeds’’, and the different trials required the dog to complete different challenges. Her success in New Zealand trials has shocked even Southee, particularly in the all breed trials.
All breed trials demanded dogs completed tasks not natural to retriever breeds. It involved all breeds of gundogs finding and flushing out game. Dogs zig zag, covering the ground trying to find the game.
‘‘Not a lot of dogs can do it. She got better and better and started winning. She is the only lab doing it in New Zealand.’’
She holds numerous champion titles, including New Zealand grand champion. Both her parents were grand field trial champions and her father was a record holder, Southee said.
‘‘Every time you win the provincials you get a point. She has 43 points and the record is 50 which her father holds. She is just a bit of a natural. I think she is a bit of a freak some of the things she does.’’
Peter Southee, of Galloway, is in Australia competing with his champion labrador retriever Georgie.