Work­ing stock dogs take cen­tre stage at CBCA cham­pi­onships

Prairie Post (East Edition) - - Alberta - BY JAMIE RIEGER— [email protected]

Sheep­dog tri­als date back to the late 1800s and now peo­ple in south­east Al­berta have the chance to see some of the best work­ing dogs in the busi­ness at the 2018 CBCA Cana­dian Sheep­dog cham­pi­onships (Cana­dian Sheep­dog Open Cham­pion and Nurs­ery Cham­pion) tak­ing place at Ca­nine So­lu­tions, south of Dun­more this week.

The an­nual event, held al­ter­nately in western and eastern Canada, show­cases the elite border col­lies reg­is­tered and com­pet­ing in The Cana­dian Border Col­lie As­so­ci­a­tion (CBCA) stock dog tri­als.

Ninety-two open dogs and 16 nurs­ery dogs from across North Amer­ica are com­pet­ing.

Spec­ta­tors can watch the border col­lies as they gather, drive, pen, and shed (sep­a­rat­ing one par­tic­u­lar sheep from the flock).

"They all do the same course, about 475 yards. They go out and gather four sheep and bring them back to the han­dler. Then, they have to get to the set of gates," said han­dler Peter Gon­nett from Out­look, Sk. "I am ab­so­lutely amazed by the dis­tance these dogs can cover."

"Then they drive and cross drive and bring the sheep back to the han­dler's post. Then, they have to get the sheep re-grouped and put into the ring."

The pur­pose of the stock dog tri­als is to show­case the border col­lies and the han­dlers who train them.

"It is a real dis­play of proper stock­man­ship. "It is very im­por­tant to pro­mote these work­ing dogs," said Gon­nett. "It is all about mov­ing the live­stock with the least amount of stress and try­ing to find the best dog to move that live­stock. Border col­lies are nat­u­rally bred to do this work. The han­dler helps to build on what is al­ready there."

Dogs from across North Amer­ica are com­pet­ing, but they must be reg­is­tered with the CBCA.

CBCA is the breed reg­istry in Canada and this event is held ev­ery year to pro­mote the border col­lie reg­istry. They are from all over North Amer­ica, but they have to be reg­is­tered with the CBCA. This is the border col­lie reg­istry trial, a premiere trial. This is the one most strive for," he said.

The sheep, 380 cross bred ewes, are be­ing pro­vided by the Ki­wan Sheep op­er­a­tion from Gull Lake, Sk.

Pa­trick Shan­nan­han from Cald­well, Idaho is do­ing the judg­ing.

The event is run­ning daily un­til Aug. 26 from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. A shear­ing demon­stra­tion is be­ing held at 1 pm on Satur­day and Sun­day. Herd­ing demon­stra­tions will take place at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Satur­day and at noon on Sun­day.

The event is tak­ing place at Ca­nine So­lu­tions, 10112 RR 52, south of Medicine Hat in Cy­press County.

From Medicine Hat, go east on the Trans Canada High­way to Dun­more, turn right at the Co-op gas sta­tion onto Ea­gle Butte Road, then south for 15 km and turn right onto TWP 102. Take first left onto RR 52. Watch for signs.

No spec­ta­tor dogs are al­lowed at the event, so leave pets at home.

Visit www.ca­ni­nes­o­lu­tions.ca for fur­ther in­for­ma­tion.

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