Lynn Leach

Herding dog championships showcase comes to Thunderbird

On October 8 and 9 the top all breed stock dogs and their handlers will be travelling from across the world to compete in the 2011 CKC Canadian All Breed Herding Championships.

On October 8 and 9 the top all breed stock dogs and their handlers will be travelling from across the world to compete in the 2011 CKC Canadian All Breed Herding Championships.

Each year, the All Breed Herding Championships move from the east-side to the west-side of Canada. This year the event will be held at Thunderbird Show Park on Otter Road (248 Street).

The championships support the tradition of the working dog, and all breeds are welcome to participate. Handlers and their dogs compete in Canadian Kennel Club herding events throughout the year to accumulate points in order to qualify for an invitation to the championships. A total of 40 dog/handler teams will have the honour of participating.

Lynn Leach, co-chair of the planning committee, clinician, trainer, and AKC, CKC and AHBA judge says it has taken many years to get the championships running in B.C.

“We now have a variety of trainers and resources in B.C. that are required in order to provide a solid foundation for the training that herding stock dogs will need in order to confidently do chores, or compete in trials,” says Leach.

Leach feels strongly about encouraging breeders to strive for maintaining their breed’s workability, instinct and good conformation. She also believes that herding promotes responsible dog ownership and encourages others to seek training for their pet dogs.

“Training and/or competing in herding creates a wonderful bond between dogs and their handlers,” she says.

Leach says that the economic motive for herding is based on recognition that, for controlling the movement of livestock, a competent dog can do the work of several people more quickly and at a fraction of the cost.

“Farming has taken major losses over the past decade and increasing the opportunities for allowing these farmers to save both time and money is a huge benefit. Langley and the Fraser Valley are major farming areas, so bringing herding into our communities should promote economic efficiencies”.

Leach explains that herding also brings recreational and tourism benefits to the community.

“Stock dog trials are a dynamic and rapidly growing sport that combines the dog’s ability with a handler’s skill. Many people in the Fraser Valley make their living training dogs, boarding dogs, and running herding facilities. Herding trials bring visitors to your community, who become tourists during their stay.”

Aside from the main competition, spectators will also be invited to enjoy “Meet the Breed” presentations about various breeds’ temperaments, working styles; presentations about dog obedience, dog tricks, and how to teach children to be safe around dogs; “Sheep Care” workshops; presentations from 4-H groups about why 4-H is beneficial to our communities and to our families; and visiting a variety of vendor booths, including those of local artists specializing in painting pet portraits.

Admission is free. For more information about the 2011 Canadian All Breed Herding Championships, visit

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