A four-year-old Border Collie, Littlethorn Leaf RW, belonging to Denise Platts of Barton-upon-Humber, North Lincolnshire is the first ever dog to be awarded the new Rally Warrant (RW) title. She qualified for the award at the Ditton Dog Training Club.
This title was introduced by The Kennel Club at the start of 2021 in a move designed to encourage new competitors into the rally discipline, as well as to give confidence to existing competitors to work at every rally level.
Rally is a canine activity derived from the heelwork elements of competitive obedience. However, it differs from obedience, primarily in that competitors and dogs attempt a preset course with signs placed at up to 18 stations along the course, requiring them to perform one of around 80 different preset exercises.
In order to claim the Rally Warrant title, dogs are required to obtain the following:
- A rally title at all levels
- A rally Level 6 Excellent title
- An additional three excellent scores at Level 6, gained from 2021 onwards
Once attained, the RW title may be used after the name of the dog in competition entries and also in catalogues and will replace the RL6.Ex title after the dog’s name.
Leaf was bred by Bob Tunnicliff by the Italian-bred Raving Mad Underconstruction ex Littlethorn Octavia. She had a very successful competitive season in 2019 when she gained her RL1Ex – RL5Ex rally titles. Leaf and Denise were also selected to represent the Northern Rally Team at Crufts 2020. “Being on the green carpet was a dream come true for me, and it was the most wonderful experience”, said Denise. “Amazingly we won our class and the Northern Team were overall winners. It was one of the most memorable days of my life.”
On attaining the RW award, Denise added: “I am absolutely delighted to be able to claim the Rally Warrant title, and incredibly proud that Leaf is the first recipient. I had competed in obedience briefly many years ago and wanted to do some sort of training with Leaf. We discovered rally quite by chance and both thoroughly enjoy training and learning the exercises. Leaf is full of boundless enthusiasm which can occasionally be a challenge, but I am just as likely to make an error with the signs!”
Unfortunately the Covid-19 pandemic has caused the cancellation of many rally competitions, so this year Denise and Leaf have been competing in obedience as well, winning their first novice class in August.
“Leaf is the most amazing dog. She tries so hard at everything but at home likes nothing more than curling up on the sofa. I am truly blessed to have such an incredible dog!” said her proud owner.
Kennel Club Board member, Sue Garner, who also sits on the Activities Committee, said: “The Kennel Club sends huge congratulations to Denise and Leaf on the achievement of the first ever RW award. This is truly a good step forward for rally and will help people to see what can be achieved by any dog in this relatively new discipline. It’s something for those already competing to aim for, and at the same time it offers encouragement to new owners to start on their competitive careers.”
Visit The Kennel Club website at thekennelclub.org.uk/events-and-activities/rally for more information on the new Rally Warrant award, as well as an online claim form. All enquiries about the RW award should be directed to email firstname.lastname@example.org, while general rally enquiries can be sent to email@example.com.