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Meet the Southern Golden Retriever Society Display Team

Meet the Southern Golden Retriever Society Display Team

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Vet's Kitchen are proud to support The Southern Golden Retriever Society Display Team.

Founded in 1977, The Southern Golden Retriever Society was set up to ensure the safeguarding and preservation of Golden Retrievers across Kent, East Sussex, West Sussex, Hampshire, and South London. Since then, the society has expanded and now involves many functions such as training, showing, and providing best-practice advice for buying golden retriever puppies, responsible breeding and the importance of training.  The Club trains to The Kennel Club Good Citizen scheme..  . 

Today an important and popular part of the society is the Display Team, a Team dedicated to providing entertainment and to promoting the docile nature of these gorgeous dogs through the performance of obedience routines to music. All team dogs have their Gold Certificates.

We caught up with Jan, a member of the of the society to tell us more about the Golden Retriever Society Display Team:

The Southern Golden Retriever Society's Display Team consists of a Team of twenty-two dogs and four helpers.  Sixteen dogs perform and are supported by reserves in the “wings”.  For over eighteen years the Team have delighted audiences throughout the South of England at venues large and small.  The Team came into being in 2000 when eight handlers who had enjoyed their training at the Society's classes at Wrotham in Kent decided to stick together and do small routines to music. The Team grew to twelve, and then to sixteen, and the routines became more complicated.   Performing at first at small local fetes, the Team were noticed and invited to Kennel Club events. 

Performances and appearances

In addition to performing at many community events the Team have performed every year since 2003 at the Kennel Club's Discover Dogs event in London and since 2004 at the world's largest dog show, Crufts in Birmingham.  In 2018, at the end of our performance in the Crufts Main Arena, the Team were joined by Radzi from Blue Peter, a new presenter at Crufts.  He had been asked by the Kennel Club to have a go at performing with the Team. He did his best with one of our dogs, much to the amusement of the audience!

The dogs have helped present a science lesson for young children on You tube (Pets Teach Science) which has had 419,477 views. They have performed live twice on Blue Peter when all the dogs received the coveted Blue Peter badge!  They have also appeared in the Blue Peter Annual. 

The Team were invited to appear at Buckham Fair in 2014, 2015 and 2017 which actor Martin Clunes runs on his beautiful farm in Dorset, raising thousands of pounds for charity. He is currently letting his fields recover. The Team have also performed at Pup Aid at Primrose Hill, London, which is run by TV vet Marc Abraham to draw attention to the evils of puppy farming.  This is attended by many celebrities and in 2015 Strictly Come Dancing star Pasha Kovalev and his partner Rachel Riley had a go at performing with the Team. They did rather well! 

 Another major event is the Cotswold Show and Food  Festival held on the estate of  Earl Bathurst in Cirencester. The Team are looking forward to this enjoyable event  this year on 2nd and 3rd July.

In 2018, some of the team took part in the Vet's Kitchen Waterloo Station takeover performing routines in different shapes, highlighting the question - does your pet food shape up?

At the events Team members talk to the public about responsible dog ownership:-  whether to have a puppy at all, how to choose the right puppy, the vital importance of training and the right nutrition.  Many people, after watching us perform, say they want a golden retriever as they are so obedient.  We have to point out that they don't come into the world that way!  But a trained dog is a happy dog and training the Kennel Club Good Citizen way is fun for dog and owner.

The dogs are all much loved family pets who live at home with their owners. Team dogs have all gained their Kennel Club Good Citizen Gold award which means they have a high level of social obedience. They love being in the Team and think they belong to a doggy youth club!  Some of the dogs participate in obedience competitions, agility and volunteering as assistance dogs for “From Fear to Friend (helping children get over their fear of dogs) and PAT dogs.

Where will you see the Golden Retrievers perform this year? To check out their events for 2022 look on the  club’s website by clicking here. New dates will be added throughout the summer.

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