It was an appreciation for the skill and bond that working dog handlers have with their canine partners which drew Dedito founder Dario Martina to the UK. Living in the Netherlands at the time, when he got his Weimaraner dog Dodi (“Dedito di primavera of Weimar’s Joy”), he was determined to get as much work for him as possible. That meant travelling to the UK to work Dodi and learn more about the world of Hunt, Point, Retrieve dogs together.
Dario has a deep respect and admiration for handlers and their dogs in all walks of life. Seeing a shepherd with an impeccably trained dog working over ground that no machinery easily manage even half as quickly and efficiently is a sight to behold. That was why when Dario and the Dedito team came across the British Association of True Working Kelpies (BATWK), we sat up and paid attention. Led by Iain Muirhead, BATWK aims to bring together admirers of the different types of kelpie dogs and promote serious breeding of registered working dogs. They are also campaigning for greater recognition of the abilities of kelpies and for more competition opportunities.
At the moment, despite a growing number of kelpie enthusiasts popping up across the UK, backyard breeding with unregistered animals is still commonplace. Added to that, there’s a misconception among working collie fans that kelpies are snappy and yappy dogs, and not as effective as other working breeds. Iain, alongside fellow kelpie owners Mike Jones and Nina Griffiths have been working hard to bring structure and life to BATWK, and the association now has 50 registered members. Sadly, the Covid-19 pandemic caused the cancellation of a number of working kelpie demonstrations and training days in 2020 and so far in 2021. There are more in the pipeline and as lockdown restrictions ease, we hope the members will be able to come together to celebrate the breed they love so much.
Despite the disruption caused by the pandemic, it’s a crucial time for kelpie fans seeking to raise the profile of the breed. A dog was imported from John Gedye’s Scoriochre Stud in Victoria, Australia to North Wales and he has made a big impact in the UK. This fantastic black and tan kelpie has dispelled some previously held misconceptions of the breed’s usefulness as a working dog. More Australian imports are strengthening the quality of UK kelpies which is fantastic news for their handlers. Work is now underway to give kelpies more chances to prove their worth in organised competitions. At the moment, kelpies are only allowed to compete in low level International Sheep Dog Society competitions in the UK and are banned from the higher levels.
Dedito supports BATWK in any way they can as they are keen to see the organisation succeed in its aims. These intelligent and instinctive dogs are a pleasure to watch work, so it’s in everyone’s interest to see them able to compete and gain recognition for good bloodlines. Keep up to date and keep an eye on their progress by following BATWK on Instagram or taking a closer look at their website.