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Oops, we did it again! The misadventures of Team CORE on Tour!

After a successful trip to Maastricht and the cancellation of more shows in the UK, we decided to plan another adventure, so we headed to the Kortrijk Eurodog show, which is one of my favourite shows in Europe.

In typical Toni and Lisa (Mair Jones) style it rapidly became one of our misadventures!

In order to travel to Europe with the dogs, we currently need to have an Animal Health Certificate (AHC). These are only valid to travel out of the UK and back to the UK once and must be completed within 10 days of travel. We collected ours the day before we travelled and got the dogs wormed for their return journey as this needs to be done between 24 hours and 5 days prior to our return.

When I got home from the vets, I checked the AHC against the one from our previous trip and noticed that something had been missed so it was back to the vets to get it amended! It is very important that the AHC is completed correctly as any mistake can prevent you from travelling.

Further details on how to obtain an AHC for travel can be found at; Taking your pet dog, cat or ferret abroad: Getting an animal health certificate - GOV.UK (

The form itself isn’t particularly complicated but is approximately 10-20 pages long depending on how many animals you are taking across. It contains proof of their identity and vaccination status.

We travel using the tunnel as this enables us to stay with the dogs throughout the journey.

Before we travel, we must upload advance passenger information which currently includes our passport details and our ‘statement of honour’ for our arrival in France.

The trip to the tunnel was uneventful and we checked the dogs in and were given the option of an earlier crossing which gave us just enough time to grab a coffee before boarding. However, this is where we really started to notice the tightening of restrictions in Europe as were not allowed to get out of our vehicle whilst on the tunnel.

Once we arrived in Belgium we called in at a shop where we discovered how strict they are on masks as someone followed us in with a UK exemption lanyard and was asked to leave. When we arrived at the hotel, we had to show our Covid passes before we were allowed to check in. Of course, Lisa’s covid pass is from a different health authority as she lives in Wales so the QR code couldn’t be read! Thankfully, they accepted it and let her stay. Subsequently we were prepared for the same issue getting into the Expo for the show.

Day 1 of the show was Lisa and Kazhiya’s turn. I walked across to the Expo with them in case there were any problems getting in and thankfully they were willing to accept her covid pass. Unfortunately, we hadn’t realised that the show required us to show the pet passports so I had to run back to the hotel to get Kazhiya’s AHC which caused problems as they initially weren’t prepared to accept it and we were told to get Belgian passports (which a friend had organised an appointment with their vets for us later in the day). Thankfully, they finally accepted it and Kazhiya went on to win 1 exc open dog, the RCAC and RCACIB against the champion male so has started his Belgium championship!

UK. CH Vandreem Imperial Kazhiya JW

Fuelled by Wellness CORE Adult Ocean

That evening we were joined at the hotel by a dear friend and her Briard puppy Pink, who is now besties with George and Layla, so we celebrated George obtaining his Dutch and international titles from our previous trip.

Time for Day 2. We woke up to rain which is never a good thing with coated breeds. Luckily, our trolley is big enough for both dogs, so we built the trolley and walked across to the show. Thank goodness we didn’t have the same issues that Lisa had had the day before, as we presented the dogs new Belgian passports.

George was due in the ring first between 10 & 11:30 with only 14 Beaucerons in the ring before. Briards and Layla (Catalan Sheepdog) were due between 12 & 1pm, so we thought it would be a reasonably relaxed day.

Our judge took an hour and a half to judge the Beaucerons and then went for his lunch, so Layla ended up in the ring first where she won 1ex champion bitch, CAC, CACIB & BOB!

NL CH Starwell Oops We Did It Again With Rozimba

Fuelled by Wellness CORE Adult Ocean

Then it was a mad dash back to the Briard ring as the judge had returned. George was graded excellent, won the champion dog class, and proceeded to win the challenge for best dog along with the CAC & CACIB completing his Belgian title!

BE CH INT CH NL CH Gilcoru Sauvignon D'Brie At Rozimba BEJCH NLJCH BJW18 AJW18 (subject to confirmation) 

Fuelled by Wellness CORE Adult Ocean

After the bitch judging we challenged for BOB and won so Lisa was going to have to take Layla into the group for me.

After the Briard judging and photos, we headed over to the handling class where the judge put us through our paces. We wouldn’t find out our placings until the presentation in the main ring later in the day. We headed back to ‘base camp’ to give the dogs a drink and start preparing for the group when we realised, we only had 10 minutes before we were due in the collecting ring, so it was another mad panic as we had 2 dogs to prepare!

The groups are judged very differently in Europe. All the dogs enter the ring under the watchful eye of the judge who then picks out a shortlist to go over. Our judge selected the Tervueren and the Bouvier Des Flandres then from halfway down the ring pointed to George! I was thrilled! What a way to finish his title by getting shortlisted in the group! George had won the group at this show back in 2018 so there was no way we were going to be lucky enough to win it again, or was there?

We were down to the final 4 and the judge had made his decision. This point is always very stressful as the placings are announced in French and in reverse order, so I had to listen carefully for ‘Briard’. First out was the Tervueren in 4th place (fantastic we were finishing on the podium). Next was the Bouvier in 3rd place. It suddenly dawned on me that we might actually win the group again. 2nd place was called out and the commentator hadn’t said Briard….?! We had only gone and done it again!! George was the winner of FCI group 1 at the Kortrijk Euroshow 2021!

We had time for a short break before the handling finals, so we made sure that George had the opportunity to have a rest whilst we went to collect our BOB trophies. Then it was time for the handling class. I haven’t really competed in handling classes for a number of years and our judge was ‘old school’, so I wasn’t confident that I had done enough to win in such good competition. To my surprise, we managed to win the handling as well!

We then watched the rest of the judging whilst George had a rest before best in show. In the collecting ring I met up with fellow CORE ambassador, Kathleen Roosens, who had won group 9 with another of her gorgeous Papillons, James, who is a son of the famous Dylan. George pulled out all the stops and powered round the big ring but unfortunately only placed 9th in Best in show.

BE CH INT CH NL CH Gilcoru Sauvignon D'Brie At Rozimba BEJCH NLJCH BJW18 AJW18 (subject to confirmation) 

Back at the hotel the restaurant was closed so dinner was a cheese sandwich left over from the show and a bottle of prosecco that had been purchased to celebrate with friends at the show whilst attempting to complete our PLF’s for the return home. In the end we gave up and decided to set off to the tunnel early to ask for help as we were unable to scan our Covid passes and when it eventually allowed us to do that it wouldn’t accept the codes for our day 2 lateral flow tests. In preparation, I had taken the tests with us, or we would have had to purchase new ones. The team at the Eurotunnel were very helpful and we managed to get our PLF’s completed and uploaded.

As we had arrived so early, we were able to book an earlier train which gave us just enough time to head to duty free and pick up a bottle of champagne for our new year tradition (we bring in the new year with a bottle of champagne purchased in Europe to ensure our adventures continue the following year).

After a steady drive from the tunnel back home it was time to relax and start planning the next adventure……

By Toni Wescott-Smith, UK Ambassador for Wellness CORE