The following is an extract from the Salute to Special Achievers feature on George (Ch Yarrowfell Intaglio CDX TDX ET) that appeared in Australian Top Dog Journal, February 1997, pages 2 and 3.
Top Dog talked to the Hursts of Yarrowfell Dalmatians recently about their philosophy on breeding Dalmatians and how that relates to George, their top winning dog.
Top Dog: We understand that George is only the fifth Dalmatian to gain his Tracking Dog Excellent title. Doesn't that confirm that Dalmatians as a breed are difficult to train in such disciplines?
Yarrowfell: There is no doubt that the traditional way of training by repetition won't work with a Dally, they are far too intelligent. I agree it can be quite a challenge keeping a Dally motivated but they are a real crowd stopper when they are working well.
Top Dog: So how long did it take to train him to this level?
Yarrowfell: We started formal training during the autumn of 1992 when he was coming up to his third birthday. He gained his Championship title and his CD qualification, with scores between 180 and 186 (from 200) in February 1993. That year the Canberra Kennel Association awarded George a Dunbar Medallion for "Achievement in Obedience Trials and Championship Shows". So far as we have been able to find out, he is the only Dally ever to have been awarded one.
We started training for his CDX that autumn and he got his first pass in Open that September. We qualified one year later in September 1994, once again with quite respectable scores. A great thrill was being awarded Best in Trial at the Dalmatian Club's Obedience Trial in October 1994 with a score of 190/200. In fact 1994 was quite a year, for in July George passed his Endurance Test (ET), the first test ever held in New South Wales and as far as we know the first Dally to so qualify. In June that same year we also passed the Test Track which is a prerequisite for entering Tracking Trials. He qualified for his Tracking Dog (TD) during the 1995 tracking season, and Tracking Dog Excellent (TDX) during the past (1996) season with three passes out of four trials. All just four years, four really happy and satisfying years.
Top Dog: I note you pull your Dallies out of the show ring after they have gained their championship title. Why?
Yarrowfell: Our aim is to breed all-round dogs. Conformation is only one facet of their make up. We also want our dogs to have biddability for obedience, self confidence for tracking, stamina for endurance and vigour for agility, not forgetting the wonderful colourful personality that all Dallies should have. That all takes time to prove.
Top Dog: Talking about endurance, shouldn't Dallies be capable of more than the required 20 kilometres in two hours for the Endurance Test, especially if they were originally bred to guard coaches?
Yarrowfell: The Minoans used Dalmatians for hunting thousands of years before coaches came along, but I still take your point. When we were training for the ET, my Dallies were running 30 odd kilometres and then coming home and skylarking in the farm dam. George's mother still joined in even though she was then nine years old and so couldn't enter the trial. Actually I'd like to see the introduction of a Road Dog qualification of say 60 km in six hours to assist in maintaining an emphasis on robust structure and sound movement in the Dalmatian perhaps even as a prerequisite to qualifying for the Championship title.
Top Dog: You certainly seem to be involved in lots of activities with your Dallies. Do you have any other dogs coming up?
Yarrowfell: We certainly do ... all I can say is watch this space!
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