Top Ilminster dog best of British

NIGEL Partiss and Midge (centre) with team members Ian and Wendy Openshaw.

NIGEL Partiss and Midge (centre) with team members Ian and Wendy Openshaw.

First published in News This is The West Country: Photograph of the Author by

A DOG trainer from Ilminster has his ‘head in the clouds’ after his cocker spaniel was crowned British Champion.

Nigel Partiss, who runs Tip Top Dogs at Dillington House, was delighted when the Kennel Club selected three dogs to compete at the Cocker Spaniel Championship in Scotland.

And Brookfurlong of Tiptopjack – or ‘Midge’ – was named best working cocker spaniel in the country, and best hunting cocker, despite being the oldest competitor at seven.

Nigel said: “I think my head is still in the clouds. It’s an honour just to reach the championships but to win it is just incredible.

“It was even more special as it was also a record-breaking year because they have opened it up to Ireland as well now, so there were 40 competitors instead of the usual 25 to 30.”

The dogs were put through their paces on three consecutive days at the home of the Duke of Buccleuch, at his Queensberry Estate in Dumfries and Galloway.

They were tested over different terrains on their hunting, flushing and retrieving skills and much more.

Midge has always excelled, becoming a field trial champion at just 15 months – normally winners are two-and-a-half or three years old.

She has won many accolades, including the prestigious Gun’s Choice Award in the 2012/13 Championships, presented by the Queen at Sandringham.

Nigel added: “We love all our dogs but she is phenomenal – she has always been a natural. Midge is the cream of the cream and I am very proud of her.

“Every single year that she could she has qualified for the championships and has just got better and better. She has had a couple of litters and is now producing champions herself.

“We have to keep them in top form all the time –we treat them like a Formula One car or a race horse.

“I would like to thank Ian and Wendy Openshaw, Lord Cameron and the staff of Dillington Estate for their ongoing help and support.”

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