(Curragh's Celtae Cernunnos) Dutch Champion

Kari, almost 9 years old

Since a visit to Crufts in 1997, we knew what our next breed would be. For a long time, I had been making a list of breeds that met a number of criteria. We wanted a versatile breed with which I could try out many dog sports, but which at the same time did not need to work constantly. A healthy breed with no hereditary problems. A social breed, where dogs could get along with other dogs easily. An easy coat that did not need too much grooming. An all weather dog that did not mind the cold or the rain too much. Incredibly enough with all these criteria, there were several breeds on my list. With this list in hand, we went to explore the breed stands at Discover Dogs at Crufts. And the Swedish Vallhund or Västgötaspets charmed us both immediately. (You may need to click on 'Lees verder' to read more about Kari)


A litter!

After several long years on the waiting list and an even longer few weeks waiting since the birth of the pups, we could finally go pick up our puppy in June 2002.

Naar boven Naar benedenWe had already visited the pups several times. There were four male puppies and one female. Three out of five had no tail. A stubby tail is hereditary in some Swedish Vallhunds. During our first visit, the breeder, Bonnie Benneker of Curragh's Kennel, explained that she always tries to match the owner and the dog. She already knew that we wanted to train our pup and that we were willing to show him at dog shows. After several visits, Bonnie told us which pup she tentatively had in mind for us.

Naar boven Naar benedenAfter that, we started watching the little guy a bit closer. Live and on video, of which we had taken ample footage during our earlier visits. This puppy seemed a fine little dog with nice doggy interaction skills and, as far as we were able to tell, good coordination and conformation. A week later, we heard that this would indeed be our puppy.

For the name, we found our inspiration in the fact that the sire was a Finnish dog. We quite like Finnish names, so I started searching the internet to get as many as possible. Eventually, we choose the name Kari, simply because we liked the sound of the name. Kari's pedigree name is Curragh's Celtae Cernunnos.



As a puppy, Kari learned fast. He was already almost completely house broken when he came to us. By 13 weeks of age, he had learned to sit and lie down on command, to sit automatically on the curb before crossing the street, to walk on a loose lead and to wait for our sign before going out the front door and before getting up to eat his food.

Gezellig samen slapenNaar bovenNaar beneden

He had also learned that though Joschka, our Dalmatian, is a great playmate, his people are wonderful too. They can play different games like tug, they can make a toy behave like prey and they can throw the toy away, so he could chase it. And to start this great game all over again, he would rush back to us with the toy.

In general, it was easy to keep Kari from mischief. A few quiet "no's" combined with distraction with a toy was usually enough to stop him even considering doing something again. Once or twice a day he would have his 15 minutes of making a complete nuisance of himself by doing everything that he should not do. That's all part of being a puppy and growing up.

Great training partner 

Kari is a wonderful house mate and a great training partner. We have done some basic obedience together, we do agility and dogdance, we have tried out some nosework for fun, we were able to do some sheep herding via the Dutch Västgötaspets club and we will continue to try out new sports and activities, whatever gets our fancy.

Kari is not perfect. He barks a bit more than we would like - but then, he IS a Swedish Vallhund. He likes to chase cats. He is however easily called off those. He also likes to chase skateboarders. These are a bit harder to ignore than cats, but he doing great with this issue as well. And he heartily dislikes veterinarians after having gotten off to a bad start with his own. But he has learned that people groping him on tables are not by definition veterinarians, so that he accepts examinations in the breed ring. With one exception, unfortunately, due to my nervous behaviour when I grabbed at him to put him on the table in a hurry where I usually simply ask him to jump up against me so I can easily pick him up. This mistake earned us a disqualification, but Kari gamely recovered in the next show to gain his Dutch championship title.

He is very sociable with other dogs. He has his likes and dislikes, but he will go to great lengths to avoid confrontation. He is very good at deflecting other dogs' aggression. And he loves playing with most dogs. Watching him play with other Vallhunds is the very best. Their playing styles match and that makes for the greatest fun. When he thinks the game is too rough, he will ignore his playmate until he or she has cooled down again. It is wonderful to watch him.

He is fast as lightning, which is a double edged sword. He is quick to react to something and can be gone in a flash if he sees something of interest, but he is usually back equally fast when we call him. I have never yet had a dog who reacts to our cues so fast. His sits, downs and stands are split second.


More information on the Swedish Vallhund or Västgötaspets, including a link to Curragh's Kennel, is to be found in Meer info online. Kari's C-litter page is on that website as well.

You can view videos of Kari doing canine freestyle in a group dance on Ghostbusters at the bottom of this page: muziek and a solo on Warriors from Lord of the Dance at the bottom of this page: Wat is dogdance?.

For many pictures of Kari (and Ronja) during our activities, see the DoghouseRock Foto's


June 2003 (1 year old)

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