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Holcombe Hunt harriers are the first working hounds to qualify for Crufts

Image credit: Gary Scobell (YuniiQ Images)

The Holcombe Hunt has become the first working pack of harriers to compete in a Crufts qualifier showing class after successfully qualifying for the world's greatest dog show over the weekend. The hunt then went on to showcase their versatile harriers by parading in front of a large and appreciative crowd at Bury Show the following day.

On Saturday, 25th June, the Holcombe proudly showcased the many qualities and attributes of the Harrier breed in a Crufts qualifier show class, scooping a number of ribbons and Crufts qualifications at the prestigious Blackpool Canine Society Dog Show held at Redwood Park, near Preston. The judges were left in no doubt that the Holcombe entries highlighted the best in conformation, movement and temperament.

Harriers returned to the showring at Crufts earlier this year for the first time since 1898, however, the Holcombe's entrants are the first from a working pack to be shown in this way as a recognised Kennel Club breed. Holcombe President and Holcombe Hazel blazed the trail, with President winning best postgraduate and best open dog followed by the section championship. Hazel won the postgraduate bitch class and was third in the open class. President then was put forward to the Hound Group overall championship (amidst 24 hound breeds to be judged).

The hunt continued with their successful weekend by then producing a fantastic hound parade at the annual Bury Agricultural Show on Sunday, 26th June. Several thousand visitors flocked to the show to celebrate this country tradition and cheer their local pack in the parade finale.

Delighted at their winning weekend, joint-master for the Holcombe Hunt, Sue Simmons explained why this was an important achievement: "It was a marvellous weekend for the Stud Book Harrier. We have only eight pure stud book 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."

Polly Portwin, Director of the Campaign for Hunting for the Countryside Alliance, congratulated the Holcombe on their success: "The Holcombe Hunt are rightly proud of their hounds' success in the show ring this weekend. 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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