The Southern Golden Retriever Society's Display Team consists of sixteen Golden Retrievers and their handlers performing obedience routines to music. They are supported by a number of reserve dogs and handlers, music assistant and roadies.
For over fifteen years the Team have delighted audiences throughout the South of England at venues large and small, including school fetes, and events in aid of local hospices and animal charities such as Guide Dogs for the Blind. They also perform at larger events around the country.
The Team have performed at the Kennel Club's Discover Dogs since 2003 at Earls Court, London, (now at Excel, London) and from 2004 at the world's largest dog show, Crufts, at the NEC, Birmingham. The Kennel Club also asked the Team to perform at the two day London Pet Show Show at Earls Court (now called The National Pet Show at Excel, London) and they have performed there every year since 2012.
In July 2013 The Golden Retriever Club of Great Britain celebrated their Centenary with a four day event at Cirencester Park on The Bathurst Estate, Gloucestershire, and the Team were honoured to be invited to perform. This wonderful once-in-a-lifetime event was attended by Golden Retriever lovers from around the world.
In September 2013 the Team were invited by the TV Vet Marc Abraham to perform at his charity event Pup Aid. This is a celebrity supported event at Primrose Hill, London, which aims to draw attention to the evils of puppy farming. The Team performed there again in 2014 and also in 2015 when Strictly Come Dancing Star, Pasha Kovalev and his partner Rachel Riley had a go at performing with the Team!
In 2014 the Team were invited by Doc Martin star, Martin Clunes, to perform at Buckham Fair which he runs on his beautiful farm in Dorset in aid of local charities. 22,000 people attended the wonderful one day event. The Team were delighted to be asked to perform again in 2015 and when Martin was on "The One Show" he spoke warmly about us and a clip of the Team at Buckham Fair was shown.
The Display Team have appeared live twice on Blue Peter (all received the coveted Blue Peter badge), helped present a science lesson on Youtube (Pets Teach Science - 386,452 views to date) and have even been used as a means for a proposal of marriage!
The Team were mentioned in 2016 in the Kennel Club five minute on-line video "Celebrating 125 years of Crufts with Peter Purvis". We were described as one of five events which "rapidly established themselves as firm favourites with Crufts fans". The Team is now part of the official history of Crufts.
The dogs in the Team are much loved family pets and include some wonderful rescue dogs who have blossomed and grown in confidence with their new owners. The Team dogs are also involved in other activities such as the PAT dog scheme, obedience, cynophobia classes (overcoming fear of dogs), gundog work and agility.
Team members enjoy showing the public the pleasure of owning well behaved dogs and the dogs love it. Golden Retrievers seem particularly suited to the Team work as they are a very sociable breed. They think they belong to a doggy youth club!
The Team are always ready to welcome new members provided they are fully paid up members of the Society. An ability to walk in time to a beat is required and dogs need to have gained their Kennel Club Good Citizen Gold award or have a good level of obedience.
The Team trains throughout the year on an outdoor hard court at Culverstone, Kent, on Tuesday evenings throughout the Summer and on Saturday afternoons during the Winter - whatever the weather! It's this commitment that makes the Display Team what it is – a group of dedicated men and women who enjoy the challenge of putting on a great display, love their dogs and appreciate the company and social life that being a member of the Team brings.
If you are interested in the activities of the Display Team their performance dates appear on the SGRS website. In addition the Southern Golden Retriever Society Display Team Facebook page has plenty of information and photographs of the
Team in action.