Sherborne Castle Country Fair - 31 May 2021

The Retriever & Spaniel Team Challenges 2020

Sponsored by Skinner's Pet Foods & Hi Lost

Gundogs have been an integral part of the Sherborne Castle Country Fair since it began over 20 years ago. The first International Gundog competition for Retrievers took place at the Fair in 2002, and when the International eventually moved onto Highclere Castle in 2006, the Retriever Team Challenge immediately filled its place.

The Retriever and Spaniel Team Challenges have attracted many of the most highly skilled working retrievers and spaniels from the south and west of the UK, and even from overseas and is open to entries from both club teams and from groups of friends.

In both the Team Challenges, eight teams of highly trained and highly qualified dogs and their highly skilled handlers compete in a number of working tests which are set to simulate scenarios likely to be encountered during the shooting season.

They are all run under Kennel Club rules and regulations and use blank gunfire and canvas dummies instead of game. Handlers work their dogs to show their skill, style and efficiency hunting and retrieving over different types of terrain and in the water.

The tests are fun to watch, and spectators are very welcome. This year, there is a shuttle service to the Retriever tests in the Deer Park available for Show Patrons, see the programme for times.

In 2020, we are very grateful to have the much valued support and sponsorship of Skinner's Pet Foods, Hi Lost, Gerald Hallett Land Rover and AR Rule & Son for both the Retriever and Spaniel Team Challenges.

The Retriever Team Challenge

(8 teams of 4 Open Standard any variety Retrievers)

In the morning, eight teams of four Open Standard Retrievers of any variety will compete in four challenging working tests which are run simultaneously in the Deer Park.

Spectators are welcome to park their cars near the Team Challenge Tent in the Deer Park and walk from test to test to see the dogs in action. This year, Show Patrons can take advantage of the shuttle service provided by Gerald Hallett Land Rover from the eastern ticket point up to the Deer Park. In the afternoon, all the competing dogs and their handlers head to the lake for a retrieve against the clock in what is always an exciting end to the day's competition.

Timetable (tbc)

Competitors' briefing at the marquee in the Deer Park
Tests start in the Deer Park
13:00 (approx.)
Final runs by the lake (near the Castle main entrance)
Parade of teams and Prize-giving in the Main Ring

Judges: Robert Atkinson (A5), Dorothy Walls-Duffin (B2457), Basil Smith

The Spaniel Team Challenge

(For 8 teams of 3 Good Novice to Open Standard any variety Spaniels)

The morning begins with a water test at the lakeside near the Castle main entrance for eight teams of three Good Novice/Open Standard Spaniels of any variety. The teams will then move to the Old Park (the woods at the top of the track opposite the castle) for their remaining tests.

Spectators are very welcome, and can walk up to the Old Park from the Country Fair car park.

Timetable (tbc)

Competitors' briefing at the marquee in the Deer Park
Water test by the lake (near the Castle main entrance)
Tests in the Old Park with a short break for lunch
Parade of teams and Prize-giving in the Main Ring

Judges: Simon Jones (A2292), Paddy Williams (B3707) and Neil Varney (NP)

Entries (Retrievers & Spaniels)

£12 per dog, which includes entry to the Fair (competitors only). Closing date for entries is Thursday 23rd April. All applications will be put in a 'hat' and the teams to run for each Team Challenge will be drawn on Friday 24th April.

For further information and entry forms for both challenges, contact: Joanna Bentley: tel 07789 991603 or email