When I recently heard that a Standard Poodle had beat out all the other breeds (yes, including Border Collies, who took 2nd and 3rd place) for top honors in agility in the UK, I wanted to know all about it!
"Blaze", Kit Sue’s UK Trailblazer for Tisane, is a gorgeous parti-colored blue and white boy, who was imported by his owner Sara Bingham in 2007 when he was a year old. His very proud breeder is Sue Ablen of Kit-Sue Kennels in the United States. Sue was kind enough to put me in touch with Sara so I could learn a bit more about this winner of the UK Agility Grand Finals and introduce him to my readers!
When I spoke with Sara by phone, I realized that her dog Blaze is quite an amazing ambassador for partis in the U.K. This color is still quite rare in her country. In fact, to the best of Sara's knowledge, Blaze was the first male parti-colored Standard Poodle in England since the 1970’s, by then they had been culled out of the British lines. A great deal of thought was put into his selection, since Sara has a passion for the breed and wanted to import something very special to re-introduce the parti-color in her country (note: the British spelling is actually parti-coloured).
Sara is a founding member of The Parti Poodle Club there and says she feels very fortunate that Blaze has turned out to be a dog of outstanding quality, conformation-wise, in addition to being a dog of truly amazing intelligence. Blaze simply "loves to learn". He loves not only the agility ring but also loves learning new tricks, such as saying his prayers. We spoke of our mutual admiration of Charlene Dunlap in the US who trains her parti-colored Poodles to perform all types of tricks and special behaviors for movies she makes of them. Sara said she wishes Charlene were closer, as Blaze would love to a chance to cameo in a movie to show off his tricks, since he catches on quickly to anything she teaches him. Actually, from what I am hearing, Blaze is already quite well known, a star in his own right, in his country.
Blaze seems to be a dog blessed not only with lovely conformation and flashy markings, but a temperament to match. Sara says on occasions when they are out walking and Blaze has met dogs who like to start trouble, he just takes a quick look at them, then does a little skip on the sidewalk as if to say "suit yourself, and on you go!" Since he loves all dogs and all people, he doesn't have any understanding of dogs who feel otherwise!
Sara and Blaze have been invited by The Kennel Club to participate in the agility demos at Crufts (the world's most prestigious dog show) for the last two years, and an invitation is expected in the mail any day to participate again this Spring. We look forward to seeing more photos and hearing more about Blaze's accomplishments in the future. In the meantime, you can see more of Sara's Poodles and read about her plans to revive the parti Poodle in the UK by checking out her website: www.ukstandardpartipoodles.co.uk. Be sure to visit the page entitled "The Parti Poodle" for a short but very informative article about the history of this color in Poodles.
Coming soon to the Poodle blog (www.poodleblogger.com) - a You Tube clip of one of Sara and Blaze's agility runs.
Go, Blaze Go!!!!