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Fionnuala Introduces Roger Good
An introduction to Roger Good (Doughcloyne).
For this particular issue, that which coincides with the Circuit, I believe there was no one more suitable to interview than Roger. He has reached dizzy heights of success throughout the years at Championship shows with many dogs, but it is his prolific winning on the Munster Circuit that must crown him ‘King of the Circuit’.
1996 saw Roger and Ir Ch Kencot Crystal Rainbow “Becky” take total control of the Terrier Group. Together they won all four Groups, RBIS at Clonmel and BIS at Killarney. She has since earned her International Champion title.
In 1997 it was the turn of Ir Ch Brykar Minx, she won three Green Stars, two Best of Breeds, and both the Groups they competed in.
Last year he handled Ir, Eng and Int Ch Balboa Belmondo to victory in two of the four Groups, he also took a Group 2. To top it off they went Reserve Best in Show at Limerick. Although “Vox” was not heavily campaigned he finished off the year a Qualifier for Dog of the Year which will take place in November.
By Rogers standards 1994 and 1995 may have been quiet on the Circuit but he certainly was not resting on his laurels. The former year saw him handle Shandon Crispy Doll to her title, and during the latter he campaigned both Eng Ch Arranshire Pioneer and Finbar Desmond’s Kencot Crystal Light to their Irish titles. To date, Crystal Light has gained titles in Ireland, Denmark, and Germany.
1999 sees Roger showing a son of Balboa Belmondo’s, Kencot Perfect Match. He is still a young dog but has already a Group 2 under his belt.
Rogers’ involvement in the breed began in 1978 at the tender age of 14. His late Father Leo always owned hunting dogs but Roger decided the show ring was the place for him and so he asked his Father for a “pedigree dog”. Shortly thereafter Leo arrived home with Shandon Kadet, Roger’s first Kerry. It is pot luck that Roger is involved in Kerrys today, way back then he didn’t know what a Kerry Blue was and had Leo arrived home with any other breed Roger would have taken to the ring with it.
The first Show he attended with Kadet was the International Kerry Blue Club Show and he entered eight classes in total, including speciality classes. Roger took home eight First prizes. He mainly exhibited this dog at Open Shows and quickly became addicted to the success. He believes the prizes offered at Open Shows serve as an added incentive for beginners.
He spent five years exhibiting at Open Show level and in the meantime had purchased a bitch and started breeding. This was a turning point, he believes, as it led him to judge the dogs in his own kennel critically. He turned to England and Noel Reidy, among others to purchase dogs in an effort to improve the colour in his lines.
As is always the case your goals and aspirations change constantly. At 21 Roger showed for his first time in Crufts. He purchased Louisburgh Sammy Lux from John Doherty for this occasion. On arrival they found the venue packed with people and dogs, which was not an ideal situation as Sammy Lux was a rather boisterous dog. John and Roger wrestled the dog out of the box and before long blood was running down Roger’s shirt sleeves from where the dog had caught him. Not perturbed, in he went to Open Dog to challenge Don Munro and the Top winning dog of the year, Balboa King Regal. Nose to nose they stood in this daunting arena with Don eventually taking First and Roger winning a very respectable Second place. To this day he still has the prize card he was awarded that day.
In 1985 Rogers ambition was just to exhibit at Crufts, ten years later he went to the same show with Kencot Crystal Rainbow and to the roars of the Irish contingency present she was awarded Bitch CC and BOB. The following year, 1996, he went one better taking Bitch CC again with “Becky” and the Dog CC and BOB with Arranshire Pioneer, handled in partnership, by Ron Ramsay.
1995 saw his beloved “Becky” start her career as she continued it, on winning ways. She was awarded BPIS at the St Patricks Day Show. The same year Pioneer won GSD and the coveted CACIB at the World Congress Show, which also marked the opening of our Showgrounds in Cloghran. Since then Pioneer has also had a few wins at St Patricks Day Shows.
Down through the years Leos’ influence and encouragement has been extremely evident, it was not only the breed he chose for Roger, but it was in all other aspects of his life. Leo was an avid GAA supporter and was proud to watch his son play until his retirement last year. Roger loved hurling and since he hung up his boots he has taken to managing an under age team in his local club, St. Finbarrs. He believes it is important to give back to a club that has given him so much enjoyment. He also has a black belt in Kung Fu and believes the discipline it instils in young people is advantageous. Leo was always there in the background willing Roger on to greater heights. Roger remembers fondly the days prior to his marriage, while he was still living with his parents, never having an alarm clock. Leo would call him for work every morning at the ungodly hour of 4am. The love and respect they shared for each other is truly heart warming and nothing I could say here would do it justice.
Roger believes that to get the top in any breed you have to serve an “apprenticeship” , and be accepted by the top men of the time. This, of course, is denied by most show people but he felt that winning under a breed specialist many years ago opened up more doors for him.
He believes that every breed goes through transition periods and have to evolve to survive. At present Kerrys are strong in Group situations. It does not necessarily follow that the breed itself is strong, just that individuals within the breed are winning top awards. Throughout the years certain dogs have been introduced into lines here and have had a profound impact on the breed. He feels that this is necessary to broaden our gene pool. It goes without saying that if quarantine were to go this could only serve to enhance and strengthen our breed, from both a breeding programme and showing point of view. It is unfortunate, but understandable that many people do not like putting their dogs through the ordeal of six months quarantine. Down through the years a large proportion of our best dogs have been exported, with the removal of quarantine, using their progeny would be made more accessible.
As mentioned earlier, for many years now Roger has been importing dogs from England, and in particular, the Kencot kennel. He admires these dogs for their balance, excellent temperament, and for their style and finesse. This can also be said for the Balboa dogs, which of course have Kencot, among other, bloodlines behind them. He feels their introduction into pedigrees here is having a very positive affect, promoting good tail sets, colour, correct size, showmanship, and compactness. Due to these very qualities he believes he has finally found Kerrys that he wants to show and dogs that enjoy showing.
He says of Kerrys, that he can forgive most things but they must be balanced all over, they must be a picture. Showmanship is a must, afterall we are in the game of showing. True movement is also a desire and height wise anything that deviates from the standard must be penalised.
He worries about the lack of newcomers into the breed. There is, he believes, a high attrition rate in the breed, and especially with those involved in the show game. He remembers a time when The Dublin Irish Blue Terrier Club ran trimming classes regularly to assist and encourage new people in the breed. At that time there were large entries in shows and all dogs were presented to perfection. Time needs to be given to newcomers to ensure the exhibitors/breeders of the future can produce top quality dogs.
Roger is qualified to judge all Terriers and Hounds at Championship level. He has officiated over the Dublin Irish Blue Terrier Club show and many Groups here. He has also judged all Terriers in Finland, Sweden, Spain, Holland and Portugal. This year he is looking forward to returning to Sweden and Finland, again to judge.
He fancies many breeds and has owned quite an array of breeds. Like a lot of Kerry people he feels an affinity with the Snauzers and more recently the Black Russian Terrier. This breed is one he would like to acquire in the future. To date he has owned Wire Fox Terriers, Carins and Scotties, all these exhibits gained their Irish titles, with the Scottie being Top Scottie for several years. Of course anyone involved in Smooth Fox Terriers realises that he has bred four Champions since coming into the breed some five years ago. He also owned a Staffordshire Bull Terrier, which was not shown. To own other breeds, he feels, is terribly important, it lends itself to a greater awareness of the finer points of a breed, knowledge that cannot be gained from reading a breed standard. But it is the sharp character of the Kerry Blue that he admires most and to date has not experienced this in any other breed.
Roger loves attending shows and meeting people both here and around the world, this coupled with his love of trimming and finishing a dog are the main factors he remains in the show ring. Obviously everyone competing at a show is there to win and he feels the natural high you get from showing and winning is a wonderful thing. He is a jovial, fun loving character and one that enjoys socialising with fellow exhibitors no matter what the outcome.
While talking with Roger I lost count of the amount of times he mentioned his love of trimming and it is plainly obvious he derives great pleasure from the countless hours spent working on dogs and the end results. Roger trims and handles to perfection and is always aware of his dog and what will bring the best out of him/her. For twenty years Roger worked nights, most weekends he left work and was driven straight to showgrounds where upon arrival he would commence trimming his exhibit. He would quietly work his magic on the dog and before long a work of art would be presented to the judge. This is a mark of his dedication and true professionalism that whatever the circumstances he never appears to be under pressure.