Dora’s Day! Wymondham gundog hunts down national championship

Lucie Hustler with Dora, a four year old German shorthaired pointer who competed at the Hunt, Point

Lucie Hustler with Dora, a four year old German shorthaired pointer who competed at the Hunt, Point and Retrieve Championships in North Yorkshire, over the weekend, and returned with first place. - Credit: Steve Adams

Every dog has its day, and for one dog from the region, that day saw her named a national champion.

Dora, a four year old German shorthaired pointer, competed at the Hunt, Point and Retrieve Championships in North Yorkshire, over the weekend, and returned with first place.

The championships, which is organised by the Kennel Club, require dogs to be put through three different stagings; hunting, tracking down game; pointing, which involves standing still and indicating to handlers the direction of the game; and retrieving once the birds have been flushed out and shot.

Dora, and her owner Lucie Hustler, of near Wymondham, were among 27 competitors over the two days, which saw various stipulations leading to dogs being eliminated from competition, and she became one of the final four dogs left.

After a final tasks, which required dogs to swim across a river to retrieve a hidden bird, she was named the winner.

Mrs Hustler, 57, said: 'I didn't think we stood a chance to win, I knew she was a very good dog, but she was competing against top class dogs; the very best in the country.

'She was also at a disadvantage because the whole of the trial was held on a grouse moor, so it was quite extraordinary for a dog from Norfolk to achieve this feat.'

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Mrs Hustler has been breeding gundogs for 38 years, and opened a kennel, Aytee, in 1980. Dora is part of the seventh generation of gundogs Mrs Hustler has bred, but is her first national champion.

She added: 'It's very special to have been breeding for so long, and I'm massively proud of Dora. This really is the pinnacle of our sport.

'We were originally scheduled to compete in the world championships, but sadly had to drop out, so to win the national championships is a great way to make up for that.'

Dora trained at the Norwich and District Wild Fowlers Association, and does picking up for Tas Valley Syndicate and Lakes Farm Shoots.

Do you have a success story? Contact David Hannant on 01603 693892.