A top dog handler is to take his place among the best in the country at a national gundog contest.
Lewis Butler, 25, of Matlock, has won a place to compete in one of the UK’s most prestigious competitions for working gundogs for the first time, with his labrador retriever, Jack.
Lewis and Jack were selected from a draw to compete in the Novice Test this Sunday at the Kennel Club Gundog Working Test, being held at the Chatsworth estate.
The competition will assess the working abilities of different gundog breeds, and Jack will be expected to show off his retrieving and game finding abilities using seen and hidden dummies – putting his natural instincts to good use.
As Jack’s handler, Lewis will need to show good control over his dog and put the daily training he undertakes with Jack to good use.
Lewis said: “The improvement I have seen in both Jack and myself over the past year is monumental and we have both come a long way in a short time, so I am thrilled that we are able to compete at the Kennel Club Gundog Working Test for the first time.
“As it is such an international event I am hoping to be able to represent Derbyshire as one of the most local competitors.
“Jack was placed second recently at a gundog working test organised by the Dove Valley Working Gundog Club so we are hoping for a similarly good result at Chatsworth.
“The reason I got involved in gundog training was because of Jack.
“When my partner Amelia and I first got him we just did the basic sit and stay training with him, but were recommended by a friend to try out gundog training and we have never looked back.
“He loves his training and taking part in competitions as it allows him to use his natural instincts. During the day all three of our dogs go to work with Amelia and occupy the office she works in, so Jack is definitely used to being in different environments, going from the office, to home, and then out in the field.
“All of my dogs are part of the family and I feel honoured that I get to strengthen my bond with Jack by taking part in different competitions with him.”
Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club secretary, said: “We wish Lewis and Jack the best of luck in the Gundog Working Test.
“Competing in working gundog competitions and undertaking the regular training it requires to get there really does help to cement the bond between dog and owner, as it is all about teamwork. First and foremost Jack is a much loved family pet.”
To find out more about the Kennel Club Gundog Working Test, sponsored by Judge’s Choice, visit www.thekennelclub.org.uk/gwt.