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2022 Top Rally Dogs

Full Results PDF

Fast-moving, upbeat, and tons of fun, Rally is a sport that demonstrates the competency of both handler and dog in performing Obedience exercises without requiring exact precision for success. Watching a CKC Rally event will make you truly understand the meaning of the word teamwork.

Danielle Mathias noticed that her Australian Shepherd, Rigby had incredible focus from a young age. Lucky for Rigby, Danielle took those talents and watched her boy excel at several sports while showing the true diversity of his breed. Rigby is highly praise motivated, so Rally was a great fit for the bright Aussie and the team went all the way to #1!

The Canadian Kennel Club is pleased to introduce you to the Top Rally Dogs of 2022.



Call Name: Rigby
Australian Shepherd
Owners: Danielle Mathias, Angela Slauenwhite & Collin Veinot
Handler: Danielle Mathias
Breeders: Angela Slauenwhite & Collin Veinot
Date of Birth: November 5, 2013
Place of Birth: Nova Scotia, Canada
 Danielle Mathias: I'm so grateful to have Rigby as my first performance & show dog. He is willing to do anything I ask and always gives 110%. It was evident right from the beginning that he was something special. As a puppy, he was very in tune with me and had great focus. Rigby has excelled at several different sports and exemplifies the versatility of the Australian Shepherd. He really enjoys Rally in particular. We started the year off with the goal of earning his Rally excellent title, but we couldn't just stop there. Rigby is highly praise motivated, which makes trialling so much fun for both of us. The most memorable moment at a trial was when Rigby did his favourite exercise ("Dog spins left, forward"), he got so excited after completing it that he wiggled his whole body all the way to the end of the ring!
I have met many great, supportive people in Rally and always look forward to the positive trial atmosphere. Congratulations to my fellow competitors on your successes in 2022, and best of luck to all who are training and competing this year. Thank you to Rigby's breeders for giving me the opportunity to own such a wonderful dog. 

#2 – RGCH Nassau RMX5 CD RAE6 S

Call Name: Nassau
Mixed Breed
Owner: Angela Froese
Handler: Angela Froese
Breeder: N/A
Date of Birth: April 11, 2016
Place of Birth: Manitoba, Canada

Angela Froese:  Nassau and I started competing in Novice Rally Obedience in February of 2019 and by February of 2020 we'd completed our Master title! Nassau and I were brand new to the world of competitive dog sports and starting in Rally changed everything for us. We were completely hooked!
Since then, we've also trialed in Obedience, AKC Rally Obedience, Sprinter, Barn Hunt, Updog, and Dock Diving. He loves doing tricks and achieved his Trick Dog Grand Champion title this winter. We are training for Agility and hope to get into Scent Detection soon as well.

Nassau has always loved to work and is always willing to try something new. He's literally my "do everything" dog! We've been thick as thieves since my husband, and I brought him home when he was just 8 weeks old. He truly is my heart dog and the best teammate.

To place in the Top 10 Rally Dogs has been an incredible experience, never mind placing 2nd! We spent the year training and travelling across four provinces, oftentimes with our good friends, Stephanie, and Marvel (who placed 10th overall!)!  Our most memorable trial was the Summer Classic at Spruce Meadows in Calgary, AB. It was the largest show I had attended and was our first time competing outdoors! Nassau is always the happiest dog in the ring, his tail never stops wagging!

We've met so many incredible teams and made some amazing friendships along the way. I will be forever grateful for every moment and opportunity that has led us to where we are today. A big thank you goes out to our instructor, Brenda, who introduced us to Rally and kept us on our toes! To my husband, Ryan, thank you for all your support and encouragement along the way!

(Photo credit: Deanna Lynn)

#3 – RCH Azka's Dreams Of Greatness CGN CD HNT RAE5 RMX3 VN ITD

Call Name: Ranger
German Shepherd Dog
Owner: Diana MacKenzie
Handler: Diana MacKenzie
Breeders: Heather Dost & Robert Christiansen
Date of Birth:  September 25, 2015
Place of Birth: Ontario, Canada
Diana MacKenzie: Ranger came to live with us at the age of 8 weeks, from Heather Dost and Robert Christiansen of Azka’s German Shepherd Dogs. He was a special pup from the start, learning behaviours quickly and eager to please.
I had him herding instinct tested and found that, like his father, he had a very strong herding instinct so off we went to herding lessons, it enabled us to maintain social distancing and stay outdoors during Covid. Rangers loves his sheep, and in the summer of 2021, he earned his Herding Novice Tested title.

In 2021 we prepared for his CD which he earned in great style earning his Companion Dog title in 3 consecutive trials, earning 2 HITS in his very first 2 trials, he passed every trial I entered him in and earned a 3rd HIT along the way. He also earned the German Shepherd Dog Club of Canada’s Benjamin Schultz award as top scoring German Shepherd Dog in novice in Canada that year.

2022 was a wonderful year for Ranger and me, Ranger earned his Rally Champion title, his RMX3, RAE5, his Versatility Novice title, and his CGN. I am very happy with his Top Rally placements of #3 all breed, #1 German Shepherd Dog, and #2 Herding Group, an improvement over 2020 and 2021!

This year we are going to continue to work toward his Rally Grand Champion title and do some Tracking and Scent Detection for fun. Ranger truly encompasses the complete and versatile German Shepherd Dog.

I would like to congratulate all my fellow exhibitors, it was a real pleasure to compete with you all, the friendship and good sportsmanship that we shared made me proud of our sport.

#4 – RCH Maplelane's Enriching Ash CD CGN RAE4 RMX ETD

Call Name: Murdoch
Golden Retriever
Owner: Joy Gray
Handler: Joy Gray
Breeder: Caitlin S. Luck
Date of Birth: May 16, 2018
Place of Birth:  Ontario, Canada

Joy Gray: I am beyond proud of Murdoch for earning #4 Top Dog for Rally Obedience in 2022.

I want to thank the judges, fellow exhibitors/friends, volunteers, clubs, as well as my amazing instructors - special thanks to Diana Kirkaldy and Rose Appolonio for making this possible.

A huge thank you to Caitlin Luck for breeding such a versatile boy and allowing me the pleasure of bringing him into my life.

Murdoch is a sweet, smart boy who is always happy and eager to do anything I ask of him. He loves to train, do therapy dog work (Therapeutic Paws of Canada), perform in the ring, or just hang out at home with my other Goldens.

Our journey together has exceeded all of my dreams and any expectations I may have had. Earning his Rally Championship at the Georgina Kennel Club show in Lindsay last fall, was the icing on the cake for both Murdoch and I.

I am thrilled to have been able to take such an exciting journey together and am looking forward to what the future holds for me and my ever-eager companion.

#5 – RCH OTCH Ambertrail's Apache Spirit JH WC RAE RMX2

Call Name: Cochise
Golden Retriever
Owners: Mavis Lenhardt & John Lenhardt
Handler: Mavis Lenhardt  
Breeder: Michael Ducross
Date of Birth: February 8, 2013
Place of Birth: Ontario, Canada
Mavis Lenhardt: We’re so proud of Cochise for achieving #5 in Canada for Rally Obedience in 2022. Cochise is a very smart, focused, high drive Golden Retriever who needs to keep busy, and loves any form of dog sport he’s introduced to. He was a wild child as a puppy, and even now at ten years old he still gives everything 110% effort. However, when he’s not training, hiking, or travelling with us he’s happy to chill out on the sofa. 

Cochise heels beautifully and likes the variety of the Rally courses. Having formal Obedience training really complements Rally Obedience, especially when you get to the higher level. In Master, we are required to do moving stands and signal exercises, so our Utility work is useful. Last year we earned multiple 100 HIC Rally Scores, and when we did lose points, it was usually down to me! 

Once we get the last two legs for our RGCH title this spring, we’re going to work on something completely different. We’ve already started training in Scent Detection. Cochise has an excellent nose and caught on to this new game very quickly. I’m fortunate to be a member of Cowichan Dog Obedience Training Club, with instructors and other members who compete in many dog sports. Their expertise and camaraderie have made dog training and trialling so much fun.

#6 – Miqelon Apparition RMX RAE3

Call Name: Salem
Shetland Sheepdog
Owner: Brailen Smith
Handler: Brailen Smith
Breeder: Jenna Cruthers
Date of Birth: May 10, 2018
Place of Birth: Saskatchewan, Canada

Brailen Smith: What an exciting way to end 2022! Like many individuals who have embarked on the campaign trial, our year was full of ups, some downs, a lot of miles and even more memories (and maybe a Timbit or 3?).  

Salem and I started this year with the goal of #1 Rally Sheltie, and due to the competitiveness in the breed, that often means a Top 10 spot is in our sights as well. I am so proud of my “little black dog” who puts his heart into these weekends, even though he may have more fun back home organizing sheep!

Salem debuted as #1 Rally Sheltie for the year and never looked back. He is my obsessive learner, full of try, and is a blast to see looking back up at me with that “wolfy smile”. It feels like a dance when we are in sync. Chasing that feeling is why we keep coming back for more.  

We could not have done this alone and are thankful for our cheering section. Special thanks to travelling and training partners Tammy Kelly and Buster (#1 Rally Bernese Mountain Dog and Top 5 Working dog!) and Betty Bowes (who we never would have survived our first AKC weekend and National without!). And to Salem’s breeder Jenna, who picked out for me the puppy who was everything I asked for… even if he did earn the nickname Hurricane Salem as a baby.

Without waxing poetic (any more than I already have), I’d like to part with the following sentiment. Hug your dogs. Win or lose, perfect score, or NQ, just hug the dog. Give him a pat and a treat for a job well done. Show careers end, standings are forgotten, but the memories made together are forever.   
Here’s to 2023! 

#7 – RCH Blueshadow's The Butler Did It AGIJV NPS AGIS JT CGN RAE7 RMX

Call Name: Butler
Shetland Sheepdog
Owner: Dayna Nichol
Handler: Dayna Nichol
Breeder: William Seifried
Date of Birth: April 15, 2015
Place of Birth: Alberta, Canada
Dayna Nichol: What can I say? 2022 was quite a year. With all the COVID restrictions being lifted, shows and events popping up, we could finally come out and play as trials were opening once again. Butler did it again as this is his 2nd stint at being in the Top 10 Rally dogs in Canada. The last time was in 2019!

It was quite a ride, and though we were a little late to the Rally races, we squeaked by. My proudest moment last year was when he attained his Rally Championship in Sudbury. Butler is one of those once in a lifetime dogs that will do anything I ask him to do or try with that twinkle in his eye. The special ones usually do. He may be small, but he is mighty with that personality of his. Butler loves those weekends when we are on the road trialing in Rally and Agility. As soon as the collar goes on, he is ready for the next adventure. Does he still enjoy Rally? I believe so as when he gets the spring in his step at a trial, I know he loves it.

One thing that stands out from this past year is the friendships, sportsmanship, and support of one another in the ring and outside too. The Rally community is fantastic as it is great to see people encouraging others to do well and applaud each other’s successes. I have been so grateful for his breeders who entrusted me with him as it has been a roller coaster of a ride so far. Who knows what 2023 will bring for us, but I’m always with him for any adventure!

#8 – RCH Stronghold K9's Fox CDX TDGCH CGN RAE2 AM RMX2 DMX TD-ROM

Call Name: Fox
Belgian Shepherd Dog (Malinois)
Owner: Danielle Vulpes 
Handler: Danielle Vulpes
Breeder: Crystal Super
Date of Birth: November 21, 2017
Place of Birth: Ohio, United States of America
Danielle Vulpes:
“To Fox,
This year has not gone according to plan or how anyone could have predicted, but we have been nothing if not persistent. We’ve had everything one could imagine thrown at us, but we still show up each day, put our heads down and put in the work. And that shows more about our team and our character than anything will.
Most teams would have crumbled in defeat after experiencing what we have. However, when we were down, you stepped into an impossible situation and picked us back up. 
Through all the tough moments, when it felt like nothing could go our way, our team’s fight and determination never wavered. Our incredible belief in one another is what makes this team irreplaceable. When we step into the ring together, we rise and fall as one. We push each other to be our best and we expect nothing less. Yes, we may get on each other's nerves at times but, at the end of the day, we love each other.
Being a part of this team has been an experience I will cherish for the rest of my life, and there is no other dog I would want to compete with more than you.
So, thank you, thank you for being not just my teammate, but my best friend. 

#9 – Malka's Lap of Luxury RMX SDO CGN VN RAE2

Call Name: Lux
Australian Shepherd
Owners: Julia Khoury & Grant Langdon
Handler: Julia Khoury
Breeders: Kaitlin Fraser & Tasha Vaughan
Date of Birth: February 28th, 2019
Place of Birth: Nova Scotia, Canada
Julia Khoury: Lux truly shows off the versatility of the Aussie.

I'm so proud of how hard she worked in 2022 as a 3-year-old, achieving #9 while also competing in Scent Detection, rat sports, Frisbee, and placing 3rd in Speedstakes at the UKI Canadian Open National Agility Championships in the 16"S height division.

(Photo credit: Epic Tails Photography)

#10 – RCH Ter Waele Our Marvel AS HT HTd CAX RAE2 RMX RATCH

Call Name: Marvel
Owner: Stephanie Inkster
Handler: Stephanie Inkster
Breeder: CWE Zandbergen
Date of Birth: June 23, 2014
Place of Birth: The Netherlands
Stephanie Inkster: Wow, what an honor to be in the top 10! I started out the year simply wanting to try to get a Master title. I had no intention of traveling around the prairies for most of the summer, but that's what happened.

My friend Angela had decided to work towards Top Dog points with her dog Nassau (who got the #2 spot!), so I figured we should join her on several road trips. Some weekends were super-hot, some were not so great performance wise, but they were all worth the effort. There is nothing more satisfying than stepping in the ring with your best friend who truly enjoys being there with you.

Marvel really does love Rally. Sometimes she is a bit too exuberant, especially with her bouncy backup or offering a behaviour that I didn't ask for and sometimes I would mess up and give a wrong cue, but no matter what, we tried our best and had fun doing it.

I often have people comment on how happy she is and that her tail never stops wagging. I wish I could take credit for teaching her that, but she just does it all on her own. She loves to work, and she just loves to be with me. This is after all why we have dogs; they make us whole.

Advice to fellow competitors: take a deep breath, have fun, enjoy your time with your dog as it's never long enough and don't be too hard on them or yourself!

(Photo credit: Deanna Lynn)
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