Max setting the pace as latest top dog

Champion dog breeder Val Wade with Max
Champion dog breeder Val Wade with Max

Top dog Max is the latest in a long line of champions for Oldestone Show Kennel owners Val and David Wade.

The couple, who have been showing dogs since 1965, regularly travel up and down the country in pursuit of their shared hobby, sometimes travelling as far as Bournemouth on the south coast and back in a day.

Based at Old Town, they have produced a number of prize winning Red and White Setters since they began showing dogs in the 1960s.

Former engineer David said: “We’ve had Irish Red and White Setters for about 22 years and we’ve been seriously showing them now for about 14 years.

“We also go down to Crufts every year and have entered three dogs this year including Max and his son Brian. Val was also a judge at Crufts last year.”

Their recent success has been exemplified by latest success, Max, a four year old gundog, who was named the ‘Top Irish Red and White Setter 2014’ in Dog World newspaper.

Max’s show success, aesthetics and personality have also made him a hot commodity dog for other dog breeders and show kennels.

Val said: “Max has sired four litters so far, including his son Brian, one of ours, who was best reserve male at only his third show, which his dad won.

“Also, the very first litter that he sired had in it a bitch puppy who’s now just over 12 months old. She was named as the Our Dog’s ‘Top Winning Puppy’ of all breeds which is phenomenal for a Red and White Setter.

“It’s so rare, that it’s never been done. We’re thrilled to bits!”

The show champion dog, Max, whose competition name is Ballakinish Malachi at Oldestone, won his first certificate, or ticket, before his second birthday.

Val said: “To be a show champion, you’ve got to be the best dog at a championship show where tickets are on offer.

“He got his first ticket at 21 months, which for a setter is really early as they’re slow maturing dogs.

“He’s been such an outstanding dog that he’s now got 13 tickets - at 13 seperate shows.”

The couple’s hobby has taken them all over the country showing dogs since they first started in 1965.

David said: “We do about 20,000 miles a year and sometimes have to set off at half past three in the morning, show all day and drive all the way back.

“We’ve had other dogs that have been made into champions like Doug, who had six tickets, but Max has just flown away with them.”

On choosing the dogs, Val mentioned: “You’ve got to have an eye for a puppy. I picked Max out of a litter of about ten, and the same with Brian.

“It’s just about having an eye for a dog and watching the litter. It’s all to do with personality besides looking at a potentially nice specimen.”