Spaniel ‘runt’ Alfie leads the field in world of dog trials
A spaniel, written off as the runt of the litter, went from
underdog to top dog after getting two trophies under his
English springer Alfie was given to Sheppey farmer Victoria
Lawrence by professional trainer Brian Wade in exchange for letting
him use her land at Neats Court to drill other pedigrees.
Mr Wade, from Rochester, was looking to get rid of the puppy but
he agreed to teach the novice Victoria the sport of field dog
trials which are designed to resemble a day’s shooting.
The animals are judged on style, pace and drive as they retrieve
game including rabbits, hares, partridges and pheasants.
After taking it up in summer 2011, Victoria, 32, and Alfie won
their first competition, the Kennel Club Novice Any Variety Field
Trial in Lincolnshire, after friends entered them in November.
Alfie then shot down the opposition with a dogged performance at
the Suffolk Gun Dog Open Club Field Trial in December.
They took part in the national Kennel Club English Springer
Spaniel Championships at the Buccleuch Queensberry Estate,
Scotland, last Sunday.
Although they did not make the final 10, Victoria, who was one
of just two women at the event out of 63 entrants, said she was
pleased she took part.
She said: “Alfie is the kindest and most honest dog, but mostly
goofy. He’s a sweet family pet but he’s got lots of get up and
“He loves cuddles and running around wildly on the beach as he
has always been a fast paced and athletic boy.
“I am ultra-competitive so enjoy the competitive element of
“I have learned so much from the people I have met, who are
fabulous and always willing to share tips and ideas, as well as
having a bit of a laugh.
“This is what I do now.”
The mum-of-two said people from as far afield as Sweden have
expressed interest in Alfie, who she hopes will represent
She also plans to buy two more dogs to train.
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