at Trollebo 28 September 1997 link to test in May 1998 

John NorrisJudges Comments from John Norris

The Winner- 1st place- DrögstasCat-ri-ona. 78 points. May I first of all take my hat off to Aji and her amazing friend DrögstasCat-ri-ona- what an amazing pair of redheads! Congratulations! I will give you my interpretation as I saw it. We had come to the last dog and as with all the contenders, I shook Aji's hand and wished her good luck. Then the shooter led the way to the hide, about 15 metres, and immediately I noticed the heel work was the best of the day all the way to the hide. Almost immediately the tolling test was underway and was very pre-cise. The dog moved quickly and with happiness on all five tolls, and after this DrögstasCat-ri-ona was ordered to heel and sit. The shooter fired his gun and the duck was tossed out to the water.

Cat-ri-ona was switched from a dog on standby to a dog at ready to go.(Just like a light, she was switched on). Cat-ri-ona looked at Aji, Aji stands and waits for the second shot. This comes and the second duck hits the water. Again, the dog marks the bird and looks at Aji for the signal to go. Aji looks down at her rock steady girl leaving her to think for a moment. At this stage I knew this team was going to be special and I was not let down. Aji gave the instruction for Cat-ri-ona to go and off she went like a third shot from the gun, and straight to the bird and back to shore. At this stage, Cat-ri-ona would come into Aji with a distinct happy wiggle, followed by Aji doing an impersonation of her dog with a little wriggle of her own- two redheads in perfect harmony with each other. Aji was totally confident in her dog and the dog was totally confidant in herself.

Then to the delivery to hand- this was also done with very much style, coming into Aji on her right then behind and sitting at Aji's left and the bird is taken. Then we had a very nice eye contact between dog and handler. Cat-ri-ona was saying to Aji, "when you're ready, I am". Again, Cat-ri-ona was dead calm. OK aport and off she goes again and a short cut was taken to the reed and direct to the bird back to Aji with the same wriggle of the head and the bottom of both dog and handler. (I think I gave a plus mark for Aji's wriggle of the bottom!) Back to the second tolling test, perfect again, now for the two marked retrieves. The shooter fires and the bird is tossed from the boat and an easy mark, then the second shot and a bird is tossed onto the shore. The dog didn't see this one and was in dan-ger of losing points which at this stage was A + all the way. Aji had noticed that this was a blind re-trieve and so had I. Aji sent the dog on a directed line with no commands to follow and the retrieve was made with ease. Again I gave an A+ as this was a perfect blind retrieve. The third, well as you may expect, it was excellent. Now to the last part of the test. The search for three ducks from the reeds and the wooded area, this was executed with the speed of a marked retrieve with all three birds brought to hand in the same style as all the previous deliveries including the little wriggle from both the girls. It was a performance I will never forget and one that could only be judged as an A+ all the way. Again, congratulations, hope you like my trophy as well as the black duck cup.

2nd place- Decoymans Piper Pippi. 65 points. Well Johan Stenebo, you done me proud my friend. This came close to tears for me, judging my own breeding doing so well. Pippi was also a joy to watch. The heel work was excellent all the way to the hide. The tolling was also excellent. The first shot goes off and the duck is tossed, then the second shot and again a duck follows. Pippi is steady and shivering with energy to go, you give Pippi time then it's time to work. Off Pippi goes at her mothers speed. ('I want this bird yesterday!') An easy retrieve for Pippi and the delivery was made to hand. Pippi waits for her master to give the signal to go. This is given and Pippi is off like the red headed whirlwind she is named after. With precision and no direction from Johan, straight to the duck and back to shore. Pippi had made her delivery this time a little sloppy and had lost some points. The second toll was also excellent and all the following re-trieves were made with the same determination and speed as the first part of the test. The blind re-trieves were all collected by Pippi at good speed and brought to hand to Johan. May I say at this stage, that Drögstas Cat-ri-ona and Decoymans Piper Pippi were the only two girls that once sent on to the birds, took any further instructions from their handlers. I think that all of the spectators and other handlers would agree with me that Pippi and yourself took 2nd place with ease and style. It is only sad that some people had missed such a fine performance. Well done Johan and Maria, I know that you have both done a lot of work.

3rd place- RödahundsAnd-Isak. 59 points.
My congratulations Megg and your fine dog. It was a real pleasure to see that your dog has done so well. I was especially impressed by the stamina showed by your dog in the field work. The points I awarded you, shows you as a clear 3rd. Well done. 


Diplomas have gone to:
Swinging Tails Lansen with 53 points.
Drögstas Papageno with 51 points.
Rödrävens Kantarell with 46 points.

Points System.
The points were awarded as follows: A+ = 6 points above that expected.
A = 5 points - excellent.
B = 3 points - average.
C = 1 point - poor.
Left blank = 0 points = fail.
The maximum points available were 78 points.

As not only the judge but also as John Norris, breeder and trainer of Tollers, and with a dedication to the breed, I wanted to see as much as possible of all the dogs work in the test. However, once it was apparent that dogs would not make any retrieves it was to be a fail and the dog and handler were asked to finish.

I would like to close this statement by saying that I thought that the whole test was in my opinion a complete success. It was a beautiful venue with lots of friendly people. I consider it an honour to have had this opportunity to judge the dogs that I love so much.

As to the future of our little hunting dogs, well I don't know , I think that a lot of encouragement is needed from the Toller clubs and that it should be remembered that all Tollers are here today because of the hunters of the past who made this breed. We owe it to them to protect and encourage the future development of the breed as a hunting dog. We all know that every Toller club in the world exists because of the vast interest to show the breed, and I do value the importance of this. But it should be remembered that they are showing a hunting dog and that the hunters are not hunting a show dog, and future tests should be supported at all costs.

John Norris.

Special thanks to Marie Theorin, Gunner Dan Wentland, Aji Franzén, Pierre Andrén, Birdthrowers Johan and Maria Stenebo etc etc