Camilla “Tells” it all
by Sigurdur Edgar Andersen Stanton
We will start from the roots; Camilla was born 21íst of January 1983 and grew up in Stockholm which is the capital city of Sweden. Her parents are Mr.Jˆrgen Collinge and Mrs.Marie – Louise Tell Collinge.She has one younger sister Sophia Tell Collinge. Like I said Camilla grew up in Stockholm but at age 12 her family decided to move to the country side to have more freedom for the dogs, something most of us dog people can relate too! Camilla has always been around dogs and dog shows since she came into this world. Like her mother says; ì My daughter was pretty much born at a dog showî Going to her first dog show at two weeks of age, who knew that she was going to get such a huge interest in dogs ,handling and conquer the world of dog shows.
During childhood Camilla grew up with usually 3-4 Afghan Hound males in the house, although it is rather funny to mention that one of Camillaís ìchildhood day dreamsî was to get her own dog and it was Border Collies that caught her eye and imagination simply because she thought they were cute fluffy dogs and different to Sight hounds. That never happened as her mother talked her into to having an Dwarf Poodle which was a better size and coat than a very active Border Collie which probably would not have fitted in so well with Afghans, this proved to be a wise decision and made her even more ready for her ìPoodle on- futureî! I will take you to that part later!
Lets talk about ìTellsî, it all started when Camillaís mother Marie-Louise got her first Afghan in 1972, and why the prefix ìTellsî well that is easy to explain; Marie-Louise full name is Marie Louise Tell Collinge. In 1996 ìTellsî was registered to Marie-Louise but it was not just as simple as that !
The prefix was already taken by an Dachshund breeder who had had it for around 40 years but Marie-Louise found out that the prefix had not been active for a while so she made a call to the prefix owner and after explaining everything to him, he replied he ìwould have to thinkî? he returned her call 30 minutes later and said ì You can have itî!
That was the beginning of ìTellsî which makes myself think that if you want something badly you need to be bold enough to ask. In 1996 they acquired their first female CH Elsto Scandinavian Collection as breeding was never an option earlier as they only kept males from years 1972 to 1996.
Itís safe to say that Camillaís career started in junior handling. She participated in her first junior handling competition at age 12, it was never a question for her to start earlier as she enjoyed helping out her parents by the ringside and says herself that it was so good to get that experience before entering the ring herself. Camilla became Swedenís number one junior handler – ranked as number 1 three years in a row in Sweden, thatís a record that has not been broken. Camilla went 3 times to Crufts to represent Sweden in junior handling.
She made it to top 12 the first two years at Crufts showing Standard Poodles but her third and last time did not go like she would have wished as she was loaned an 9 months old Hungarian Vizla that unfortunately was not very co-operative and like Camilla said herself; ì She was more in the air than actually on her feet, really not what you wish for and specially not at Crufts but there was not much I could doî Camilla remembers Crufts as a great place to learn and also all the people she met, Camilla; ì Crufts was an amazing experience and I met so many wonderful people. I remember Jason Lynn on one of the years and he got placed 2nd, Angela Lloyed (USA) another year showing an Whippet as well as Jody Garcini. It really proves that competing at Crufts as a junior handler might just be the stepping stone to a great success in the dog show worldî.
During her time as a junior handler Camilla handled mostly Standard Poodles, Afghan Hounds, Whippets and her own Dwarf Poodle that was actually her own first dog This Dwarf Poodle *Multi CH Sol-Enens Just You Wait For Mr* won a lot and was placed high on Top Dwarf of the year list in Sweden for couple of years. Itís very clear that Poodles mean the world to Camilla like she says; ì They just give you that *feeling* having them in the end of the leadî Looking back Camilla has been involved with Poodles for over twenty years.
Recently I have heard different opinions about junior handling so I asked Camilla what her thoughts were being a ex. junior handler herself; ì Well I guess this can be a little touchy, to be honest I get a little annoyed and confused watching handlers today, with that said I think there are too many stupid rules nowadays. I hope I can say that being a successful junior handler myself but I think we have kinda lost what itís all about? I would like to watch all handlers,juniors or adults to show their dogs in a more ìnatural wayî. We all have different ways of running etc. but when itís more about different ìfiguresî going to reverse way and jumping around the dog whoís looking all confused, thatís not natural and thatís not how we do in a regular ring. So why are we making our junior handlers do it? Handling is about being a compliment to the dog,being in the background and put the dog in the main focus! Junior handling is meant to be a learning stage so why make it more complicated and difficult then theîreal dealî in a real ring? But thatís just my honest opinionî.
Camilla was 16 years old 1997 when she went to the US to work at a Standard Poodle Kennel outside Philadelphia for a few months that eventually turned into one year which made her quit school and she has not been inside a classroom since then and all because of Poodles! But talking to Camilla you feel that it was the correct choice as she knew what she wanted and knew how to get it! She got the chance to groom the show dogs and occasionally take a dog in the ring as well. She won her first group in the US with an Miniature Poodle.
After her stay in the US she started working full time at a well known brand clothing store in the Central of Stockholm. Luckily that store was owned by an Afghan Hound friend so that helped when she needed to go to a dog show or maybe having to change shifts during some weekend. During the 5 years she worked at the clothing store she also worked very hard with the dogs, traveling to many different shows in Europe and with great success! I said to Camilla that I was not going to ask her the typical question ì How many BIS wins have you wonî as I know the BIS wins pass the 100 mark! but what I wanted to know is that what win or wins stay in her memory the strongest and why?. It did not take her long to think of an answer.
ìOur Afghan ìCarlosî won a huge BIS at Swedens biggest show ì Stor (Great) Stockholmî in December 2010, in an an entry of approx 7000 dogs – just one week earlier I won BIS at Finlandís biggest show Helsinki Winner also with over 7000 dogs, this time with one of Charlotteís (Huffish) Standard Poodles ì Diegoî It was simply just too good to be true, to win BIS at Swedenís and Finlandís biggest shows within 2 weeks ! Another win that has stuck in my head was in 2007, we brought a friends Afghan female ì Phoebeî that I had been showing in Sweden to Colorado in USA. I finished her Am. title in just 4 shows and that weekend winning BIS from the classes. She was the first foreign Afghan female to win BIS as a none American Champion and in a very impressive BIS lineup.
Tells Afghans have been really successful over the years and really put their signature on the breed by winning multiple BIS and group placings around the globe. According to Camilla the Afghan Hound should have a great style and a lot of presence in the ring. Camilla; ì An Afghan has to catch your eye, it canít be just ìa dogî running around. You want to see effortless movements and with some sort of a WOW FACTOR, they should own the ground they stand on. Thereís a reason why they are called the *King of the dogs* I asked Camilla which of her dogs stand out most in her memory? ì First one that comes to mind is BIS BISS Multi CH Tells Mrs Arouba ìMichellaî what a stunning bitch she was. From our very first litter, she was the only girl among her three brothers in the litter. She was Swedenís #1 Afghan for two years in a row, her record was pretty impressive. My only wish is that if I had her today I know she would still conquer the Afghan rings all over again. Then of course our black bitch Multi CH Tells Just Call Me Miss ìDanielleî she was loved by pretty much everyone, a hard bitch to fault, very timeless and I loved her time in the spotlight. #1 Afghan in Sweden 2003 and 2004. These two I have mentioned ìMichelleî and ìDanielleî were and are great ambassadors of our breed.î
Talking to Camilla I just couldnít help myself, I needed to know more about Ch. Tells Matrix Reloaded ìMatrixî who has conquered the US and was listed as #1 Afghan Hound in USA for the year 2014. Furthermore I saw him myself as he won BOB at the this years WDS in Helsinki. I was curious to know more so I asked Camilla how it came that ìMatrixî was chosen to go to USA? Camilla replied; ì He was the right dog at the right time. We got to know Chris and Rachel Manelopoulos through ìLex¥sî breeder Charlotte Sandell, they have been close friends for years because of the Poodles. At the World dog show in Austria 2012 Chris was their showing a young Standard Poodle and the owner Missy Galloway was there too. I had my young Afghan ìBrianî who won Jr WW title and went on to win 2nd in the junior Sighthound group. Both Chris and Missy loved ìBrianî when they watched him in the group. For the next weeks I was talking back and forth with Chris about the possibility of sending him an Afghan to show in the US. Time went by and we switched from one dog to another and then ìMatrixî came along and he just always felt right!î
We know behind all successful people there are mentors involved at some time or another. I asked Camilla about who her mentors were; ì Other from my parents I have never really had a mentor in Afghans. ìLexî breeder, Charlotte Sandell ( Huffish Kennel) has been a huge support in Poodles in the last few years. A person I respect highly and I value our friendship dearly. You have to learn from the best if you want to succeed and sheís up there on the top! Donít think I have ever met anyone so hard working and so determined on what she thinks is correct and wants. I can see a lot of ìLottaîin myself to the point that if I do something – Iíll make sure that I will give it 110% to achieve my goalî.
Talking to Camilla, I canít help it but to feel inspired as she is so dedicated and talks with such a interest and I can see her passion through her eyes. She explained to me what it is that keeps her going ; ìIíve always said Iím doing it to beat myself, I strive to be better than yesterday, not in the ways of winning more but in the ways of presentation because we deal with high maintenance coated dogs, so I challenge myself first of all ! Nothing satisfies me more than to look back at our dogs going to a show knowing how many hours we have spent on grooming and keeping them into top physical & mental condition. Thatís what drives us to work harder and be betterî. I will always be thankful to my parents who started to take me so early to the shows and have always supported me in what ever I have wanted to do and now living in Australia with my boyfriend Brett who gives me all his support and without that I would not manage to go to dog shows nearly every weekend, so I am very lucky !
Camillaís success has given her many exiting opportunities over the years but behind all those who are very successful there comes the downside of jealousy. I asked Camilla how she coped with the ìbackside of our sportî? her response surprised me as she did not respond in a negative way, which tells me how positive a person she is. Camilla; ì I find the best support comes from people that you actually compete against and the people complaining are the ones that you donít really compete with. I think the backstabbing and the lies are the worse but to be honest that usually comes from the people you donít even know. They are the ones who seem to know it all, even things I did not know about myself, that says it all I think. Focus on yourself and donít waste energy on negative people, they are not worth your time and furthermore If everyone would spend more time on their dogs instead of trying to bring each other down, the dog world would be a lot better. Unfortunately the big ribbon is something that can bring the worst out of people, thatís how it is, nothing new!
As some of you might know Camilla now lives in Australia but what you might not know is how she ended up ìin the land down underî?? It was love that took Camilla overseas and this is how it happened in Camillaís own words;
ìMy first meeting with Brett was in February 2010 at the Westminster Dog Show. Brett was judging at the hound specialties earlier that weekend and so he had ìPress Passî tickets, which gave him really nice seats to watch the groups and later BIS. I was their at the time as an assistant to a Professional handler and Brett came up to me when I was at the set up just prior to BIS judging. He introduced himself and we spoke about Afghans and later he offered me to watch BIS judging with him. Sounds crazy now but after that night we did not did not keep in contact at all. We met again in Norway 2011 at the Afghan Hound Specialty were he was judging. I showed my ìCarlosî Which he awarded BIS. It sounds strange saying it but at that time it was like showing under any other judge. But now when I think back it truly was the most important show I could have attended and which really changed my life, after the show Brett and I talked while my father was packing the car. We kept in contact through Facebook and developed a really nice friendship. Later that year I traveled to Australia to meet Brett and the rest is just history! We have such a strong connection and the same ambitions in life, dogs and of course love. Heís my everything and I truly bealive everything happens for a reason and we were simply meant to be together. Moving to the other side of the world is of course very expensive and a little scary for me but it was the best solution for us at that time. The worst part about moving was waiting for my dogs blood work to be processed and when I finally moved in September 2012 the dogs didnít arrive until late December. The dogs were in quarantine for 30 days but we were able to visit and groom them 2-3 times per week. Once they were out we were ready to begin our new life togetherî!
We live in the south of Australia in Melbourne in a area called Diggers Rest, approx 20-25 min drive from the city center. We live in the countryside which is perfect for the dogs when you have kennels and so important in Australia as they have very strict regulations about keeping dogs, also it is only a 10 min drive to the big INT airport. We are very lucky to be able to share the house belonging to Brett¥s parents, we have our own side of the house and we basically only share the kitchen. This has been the best solution for everyone, since we have been to so many shows in past two years and have not been home more than just few days each week. Without the great support from Brett parents who look after the other dogs when we are on the road we would not have been able to do the amount of shows which we did the past year. His parents are just wonderful, I love them dearly! They are the key people for the past 2 years, itís all about teamworkî
I was interested to know what is Brettís background in dogs and it turned out to be very similar to Camillaís. it is so similar to my background as Brettís parents have had Afghan Hounds since the 1970ís. So Brett has been involved with dog shows since a very early age, whelping puppies and later with on the breeding program just like myself. Their biggest winner was famous Gr CH Kjavu Air Jordan who won a total of 92 BIS awards and was Australiaís #1 dog All Breeds 1999 and 2000. When Brett was 18 he won his first BISS with his Afghan bitch Gr CH Kjavu A Bit of ìIttyî. By the time when Brett was 21 years old he had already co-bred and handled multi Afghan Champions, multi BISS and multi all breed BIS winners in Australia. He also became Australians youngest hound group judge being only 21 years of age. Ps. Brett has a hidden talent which is his musical ability, not many know that he has been playing drums for almost 15 years now and he is actually very good at itî
I have not visited Australia myself so I wonder what you think are the biggest differences between shows there and in Sweden?
ì First of all Australia has way too many shows! The competition in the BIS ring is of very high quality even at the average shows that are around 800 – 1000 dogs in the area where we live but of course in lesser densely populated areas the numbers are smaller. One thing is I have definitely learned more about the other breeds as you tend see more of them around the show. Most shows only have 7 judges and so plenty of opportunity to see all the breeds while in Sweden with larger shows and many more rings as judges can only judge a maximum of 80 dogs per day due to writing critiques I tended to just be around the Afghan and the Poodle rings and not seeing much of the other dogs in the breed rings.î
With 85 Best In Shows on his record, #1 All Breeds in Australia 2013 and 2014 AUS Supreme CH Huffish Dynamite Street ìLexî has shown the world what he is made of.
ìLexî was Camillaís first Standard Poodle and together they have conquered the show rings of Australia. Their last tribute together was at the Eukanuba World Challenge in Amsterdam were ìLexî won his way up to top 12! Tell me about your ìLexî how come did he end up with you? ì I have been involved with Poodles since I was 11 years old and I also helped out other people with their Poodles, mostly showing Standards and Toys. My relationship started with Charlotte (Huffish breeder) started around 7 years ago, when she asked me to help her out with her dogs. I have always known I did a good job with the Poodles so I thought ì Why not get my own?î at that time she had a black litter of 4+4, I told her I was interested in a male for a co-ownership and she told me I could pick any of the dogs – well at 8 weeks one of the boys got names ìLexî and he has been with me 27/7 ever since.î
Of all his wins which of them stand up for you? ìOf course winning at Australiaís biggest show for 2013 the Royal Melbourne Show comes to my mind first. But one of the most meaningful wins for us was winning BIS under world re known judge Mr.Geoff Corrish ( 2013 Crufts BIS Judge ) from UK. To win under a judge of such a prestige and to have so many wonderful comments from him, makes it even more memorable win for us.î
What sides of ìLexî do you love the most and how much does all his success mean to you? ìWhen you get to meet Lex at home and get to see the real ìhimî you just have to love that dog! He is the sweetest but also the funniest dog ever. We laugh at him so many times each day. He loves his balls and doing his tricks on command. He opens doors well maybe because I thought him and yes he is very spoilt but not in a bad way. He has never been a kennel dog or even slept in a crate, he is always around us. See writing all this I donít think about his amazing wins, this dog means so much more to me then any ribbon he has won. I believe in that you make the dog successful by treating it right, make sure they are healthy, happy and loving their life.î
How would you compare Standard Poodles and Afghans ? ì Two very different breeds indeed. I love Afghans, they are a very independent breed. Most people who know them compare them with cats, they know what they want and itís their way or no way, which is half way true. They are extremely smart to the point they open doors and gates, in my parents house you will find the double side locks on each gate. Our Poodle would never do that, they are just different kind of smart. Iím laughing at Lex though he would fetch a tennis about 25 times, while throwing a ball for an Afghan they would literally look at you thinking ì You can go at get that ball yourselfî they have no interest in ìPoodle thingsî. Lex is pretty much never on a lead, Afghans are tougher to have loose, mainly because they are a Sighthound, a hunting breed and the further they are away from you the more fun it is for them to be chased by you, they are obedient when it suits them.! Showing wise both breeds give me so much satisfaction in the ring, they both should elegant looking with that *WOW FACTOR*. I have no idea what I would do in the ring with a short coated breed.î
With a new year coming up, do you have any special plans for 2015 that you would like to share with us? ìYes, we will have some big changes! After 2 absolutely fantastic years in Australia we decided it would be nice to go to Sweden for 2015.î
What really pushed that decision was that Lex would represent Australia at the Eukanuba World Challenge this past December in Amsterdam. We thought being so close to Sweden it would be only natural for us to want to visit my family. After a long 2 years of showing Lex nearly every weekend it will be nice to take a little break and slow down with him. We are actually home in Sweden at this point in our little house with a lot of land on the country side, not far away from my parents home and the Afghans in Roslagen north east of Stockholm and near the coast to the Baltic sea.
Whatís more exiting for 2015 is our new visitor from Australia, the famous Hungarian Puli ìCharlotteî AUS & US Ch. Cordmakers Topsy Turvy. She had a little stop in America for almost 2 years and was shown by Professional handler Linda Pitts- Sheís the most winning Puli bitch in the history of the breed, so far in her amazing career she has won 66 All Breeds BISís, Group 2nd at Westminster 2014, #1 Herding Dog in North America 2013. Earlier in her career she was Australiaís #1 Dog All Breeds & winning BIS at Adelaide, Perth & Hobart Royals. We are forever grateful to her breeder Sue Hubner for giving us this opportunity to show such a top winning dog in Europe in a breed that is so different to Afghans & Poodles. We love a challenge and Iím sure we will have a lot of fun with this stunning girl. I have also missed showing the Afghans as well as Iíve been so busy with Lex¥s career so this will be a fun year for us.î
I have been really looking forward to finally getting the chance to meet Camilla & Brett and at My Dog in Gothenburg which is one of Swedenís biggest shows which was held during the 3írd to 6íth of January I got my chance to meet and talk to both of them.
I was fascinated to watch how Camilla works, really concentrating like the true professional she is. She never looses her focus and to watch her in the ring is simply inspiring as she truly gets everything out of the dogs she shows and does it with such an performance but it is always the dog that you notice.
I was very excited to see Camillaís new team member the Puli female ìAUS & US Ch. Cordmakers Topsy Turvy ì Charlotteî. When I first saw her on the grooming table she took my breath away with her beautiful expression and substance but it was her amazing coat condition with beautiful even cords that really ìblew me awayî but to see her in the ring and on the move made it easy for me to understand just why she has won so much. Camilla showed ìCharlotteî to BOB and Group 1 on her debut in Sweden. During the weekend Camilla also showed their Afghan ìAUS CH, US CH, FI CH, SE Ch, JWW-09 SE V-11 Tells Chills Ní Thrills îCarlosî who ended up as best male and BOS under judge Frank Sabella (USA).îCarlos¥sî daughter the junior female Kjavu Tells It All ended up as 2índ best female with CAC both days, beautifully shown by Brett.
I must say it has been extremely interesting for me to work on this article and get the chance to know and share Camillaís ìCinderella story where she did get her Prince Charmingî. I want to send my thanks to the editor of the Best In Show magazine Jovana for ¥liking my idea to do this article and for giving me an extended deadline. to my ìfatherî Paul Stanton for giving useful hints and checking the grammar and to all the photographers for allowing me to use their photos for free and last but not least to Camilla who was willing to work on this article with me despite her tight schedule and unselfishly for answering my many questions.
Thank you for reading this article which I hope you found interesting and I would like to wish you all a successful 2015.