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Our Dogs Editorial
Book Review: from Geoff Duffield: 01604-832500.

A Study of The Swedish Vallhund (Vastgotaspets)
By Jacqui Bayliss

I have read countless books on dogs, reviewed many for the dog press, and openly admit the passion and obvious love for the Swedish Vallhund by Jacqui Bayliss is quite remarkable.

In a special tribute to Ralph Wilkes in Jacqui’s introduction - “my dear friend Ralph” - who died in 1992, the author has revised, over a period of some 14 years since, a new and updated edition from his original publication.

The idea originated after Crufts, 1992 where Jacqui was in conversation with Ralph and his wife Connie, discussing the re-writing of his book.
This beautifully bound coloured production is the result. All the countless hours of research, writing and telephone calls, both in the UK and abroad, are behind this edition which, at £45 is a massive bargain, a true collector’s item and a total ‘must’ for breed enthusiasts who have the Swedish Vallhund at heart.
The book traces the history of the Swedish Vallhund, the Västgötaspets, an ancient national dog of Sweden, a breed that came perilously close to becoming extinct but through the dedicated efforts of two Swedish enthusiasts, successfully brought around a revival.

Jacqui’s passion is best summed up in the intro: “It is my hope that new people in the breed will strive to keep the breed type and not try to change it to fit their own view.”
The beautiful cover picture is a painting by Meriel Lloyd of a Vallhund by a beach on the Isle of Man. Superb! They say you can’t tell a book by its cover. In this instance, and looking at the painting, you can...

The drawings, paintings and photos have been collected over the last 30 years. “A view from the past and a record for future generations to enjoy.” An instinctive, working, herding cattle dog, the needs and desires of this faithful people-loving breed is beautifully scripted within this “read-me” book which traces the history as far back as was possible, and relates in almost film script style the way Karl Gustav Zettersten and Count Von Rosen saved the Vallhund. The breed almost came to the point of extinction in the 1940s and the great debt owed to the determination this dedicated pair of gentlemen is graphically painted.
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Photos dating from 1947 to the present day give a clear indication of how type has been retained by dedicated Swedish and Nordic breeders, culminating in the current quality stock bred in the UK. And if you ever have any doubt as to the natural charm of the Swedish Vallhund, look at the lovely head study by Meriel Lloyd on P.79 of the Finnish Ch Fennican Amaryllis.

The breed Standard feature goes beyond the norm with comments a breed enthusiast would expect from a properly fun seminar by dedicated breed specialists. The author fits that bill. Much credit is paid to Joe and Liz Cartledge (Ryslip) who, in the 70s, combined with Sheila and Dennis Haddon (Norsled) to produce “the backbone of our British Swedish Vallhunds”, ‘The Famous Four: Snäckans Kikkan our first Grand Lady, Valle of Ryslip, “The Bright Spark’ Ryslip Rustibuss of Norsled, known as ‘Jerry The Gent’ and last but certainly not least, Akkevall Zamba, ‘Ms Bossy Boots’.

The author pays the high compliment by writing: “The qualities of these first four have passed down through the generations, for which we must thank Joe and Liz Cartledge for their decision to import the breed into the UK, along with Sheila and Dennis Haddon, for bringing in Zamba and for carrying on the line up till now, 2009.”

The author has bred numerous champions in the breed and a particular favorite is the first record holder in Vallhunds, the bitch Ch Hurstfield Kilana who won her first CC at her first show aged nine months. Made up in three shows, she is the youngest champion ever in the breed at one year two days – still a record. She was also the only Vallhund to have won the working group (under the old group system) at Welks in 1996). Jacqui has also bred the top brood bitch who whelped two litters with three champions in each, one of whom went on to win the pastoral group at Bath.

Jacqui Bayliss judged the breed at the Kennel Club’s centenary Crufts in 1991, and again in 2007. She has also judged in Sweden (where her then entry of 105 was a record), Finland, Holland, Canada and America. Not allowed dogs as a child (her grandfather was a cat lover), the first thing Jacqui did when she got married was get one. She saw the first Swedish Vallhunds to come into the UK, Zamba and Jerry, decided to buy one for her son David .

Jacqui won BOB at Crufts in 1986, the second year Vallhunds had CCs (she went on to become Ch Beth), also BOB Crufts 1993 and was short listed in the group and also 2003 her UK & Dutch international champion ,and is currently campaigning one of a red litter of three. The author judges groups and BIS at open shows but decided years ago “it would be wrong of me to go off and leave my dogs on their own while judging all around the country”, so restricted her championship show judging to Vallhunds.

The author has run boarding kennels for years and now runs a cattery.

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