‘Proudly showcasing their qualities’: first working harriers qualify for Crufts

  • The Holcombe Hunt has become the first working harrier pack to compete in a Crufts qualifier — and earn their place at the final.

    The pack “proudly showcased the many qualities and attributes of the harrier breed” in a Crufts qualifier show class at the Blackpool Canine Society Dog Show on 25 June.

    Harriers returned to the Crufts ring this year for the first time since 1898, but these are the first from a working pack to be shown in this way as a Kennel Club working breed.

    “Holcombe President and Holcombe Hazel blazed the trail, with President winning best postgraduate and best open dog followed by the section championship,” a Countryside Alliance spokesman said. “Hazel won the postgraduate bitch class and was third in the open class. President then was put forward to the hound group overall championship.”

    The following day, the hunt produced a “fantastic” hound parade at the Bury Agricultural Show on Sunday, 26 June.

    “Several thousand visitors flocked to the show to celebrate this country tradition and cheer their local pack in the parade finale,” the spokesman said.

    Holcombe joint-master Sue Simmons said this was an important achievement.

    “It was a marvellous weekend for the studbook harrier,” she said. ”We have only eight pure studbook packs remaining in the UK so it was a delight to showcase the quality of the breed and its versatile temperament in two totally different environments. Internationally renowned judges placed our entries at the top of their classes at Blackpool and the public gave a wonderful welcome at Bury Show.”

    CA director of the campaign for hunting Polly Portwin congratulated the Holcombe on their success.

    “The Holcombe Hunt are rightly proud of their hounds’ success in the show ring this weekend,” she said. “Hunts have a wealth of knowledge and experience in breeding working hounds to the best of their type and it is wonderful to see this recognised in a public arena.

    “In addition, hound parades up and down the country have long been cherished as a pinnacle of county and agricultural show displays throughout the summer and we are pleased to see the Holcombe Hunt delight the crowds at Bury Show once again.”

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