Rita Pike - Scarletti
|Rita Pike (Scarletti) is highly
respected as a breeder and international judge, having owned Irish Setters for
almost 40 years and having been part of the show scene for almost as
long. Her distinguished career has seen her accorded that most
prestigious of accolades – judging the breed at Crufts.
dog in Rita’s life however was a border collie.
“We lived in the East End of
London and she used to take us to school every morning” recalls
Rita.“One day whilst out shopping I saw a beautiful dog on a street
corner and stopped to speak to the owner. “I learned it was an Irish
Setter and after that I couldn’t wait to own one – but we were still
living in London at the time and decided to wait until we had moved
to somewhere more suitable. When the time was right, Rita purchased
her first Irish Setter as a pet. “It wasn’t easy to find an Irish
Setter in those days but May Davis, the mother of Peter Davis (Castleoak)
knew someone who had a litter,” says Rita. “We named her Amber.
Sadly she died of leukaemia at 18 months old. Then May put me in
touch with Mr and Mrs Neave, who had a litter, and that’s how
Scarlett (Margretwoods Conductress) came into our lives. “Scarlett,
from whom comes the affix Scarletti, was the litter sister to the
illustrious Margretwoods Caretaker of Scotswood and Sh.Sh.
Margretwoods Conductress (Scarletti)
Sh Ch Scarletti Cockney Rebel (Harley)
(Photo: Mike Oakley)
Sh Ch Scarletti Cockney Rebel (Harley)
Photo taken on the day he gained his 3rd CC
“I had no intention then of
showing her. I had a young baby who kept me busy. “One day I was
out with Scarlett and a young girl walked up to us and asked if she
could take a look at the dog. “She said she was lovely, and
suggested I go along to ringcraft classes run by Wickford & Basildon
Canine Society. “The girl, Janet House (now Yarrow), owned a
Margretwoods bitch, but these days shows Brittany Spaniels very
successfully. “I went along to the classes where I was made very
welcome and when Scarlett was about a year old we went to our first
“We got a VHC but the judge was
so kind and told me that if Scarlett had behaved she had the
potential to win her class.
“I took her advice on board
and, of course, once we had won a first, I was hooked. “Scarlett
did really well for me, and went on to get a Reserve CC from John
“I had no intention of breeding
from her until I saw a lovely young dog called Cornevon Stargem and
thought he would make a wonderful husband for Scarlett.
“I discussed this with May and she advised me to follow my heart, so
I did. We got a litter at the second attempt, and what a litter it
“It included two show
champions, Sh Ch Scarletti Cockney Rebel (Harley) and Sh Ch
Scarletti Hot Chocolate (Nina) who incidentally won her fist CC at
sixteen months old), plus Scarletti Tangerine Dream, a reserve CC
winner. “We were showing with the big guns now, with highly
successful breeders. I was lucky to show alongside these famous
Sh Ch Scarletti Hot Chocolate (Nina)
“Sh Ch Scarletti Cockney Rebel
sired a number of important dogs that have had a considerable
influence on the breed. They included Sh Ch Bardonhill Supergrass,
Sh Ch Suteresett Hot Rumour and Bardonhill Crafty Cockney by
Scarletti (two reserve CCs, one of them at Crufts Dog Show).”
Sh Ch Scarletti Hot Chocolate’s
only litter to Sh Ch Zorosean Agvamarina produced Scarletti Silver
Sprint and Scarletti Silver Olympus.
The ‘Pink’ litter was produced
by mating Bardonhill Crafty Cockney to Scarletti Silver Sprint.
This litter included Scarletti Lily the Pink, Scarletti Pink Panther
(who sired Sh Ch Suteresett Coconut Capers) and Scarletti Tickled
Pink at Staxyll (2 CCs).
Later Rita bred the lovely Sh
Ch Scarletti Hill Street Blues (Alexis) by Sh Ch Royal Archer ex
Scarletti Lily the Pink.
Sh Ch Scarletti Hill Street
Blues, when mated to Deneil When the Goin’ Gets Tuf, produced
Scarletti Smooth Criminal, sire of today’s multi CC winner Sh Ch
Thendara Don Corleone.
Scarletti the Equalizer, litter
brother to Alexis, was the sire of Latneys Peasblossom, (2CCs, 1 res
CC) and the litter brother and sister Margretwoods Dream Cum True (1
CC at Crufts) and Margretwoods Dream Machine (1 CC).
Sh Ch Scarletti
Hill Street Blues
Bardonhill Crafty Cockney By Scarletti
Scarletti Lily the Pink
There have been several other CC and JW winners.
“Scarletti The Girl is Mine, Alexis’ daughter, won a RCC before she
had thyroid problems,” added Rita.
“My youngest setters are Scarletti Katie Scarlett and Scarletti The
O’Hara from Scarletti Billie Jean and Margretwoods Changes into
Scarletti – lightly shown these days.”
Rita is very proud of the
lovely dogs she has bred, and has fond memories of every
But she has some reservations
about the route showing dogs seems to be taking these days .“When I started showing dogs
there was better sportsmanship and a lot of camaraderie” she
recalls. “I had great respect for the
more knowledgeable people in the breed and learned so much from
them. I watched their handling and preparation of the dogs and
always stayed until the end. “Some exhibitors are only
interested in the dog they are showing and are not always very kind
to the winning animals. Maybe it’s because it seems one type is
generally being put up, being influenced by some kennel. It is very
frustrating – there has always been great rivalry between certain
breeders and maybe some homework is needed before entering a show.”
Sh Ch Scarletti Cockney Rebel (Harley) (L)
Sh Ch Scarletti Hot Chocolate (Nina) (R)
(Litter Brother &
Sister 11 Years Old)
Which dog has impressed Rita
most over the years?
“Without a doubt it was Sh Ch
Twoacres Troilus,” she says.“He had such a beautiful dark
chestnut coat. He was not a big dog, but he was so balanced, with
the most gorgeous head, with lots of work in it, and a dark eye –
and he moved with such panache. A real showman! “His son Sh Ch Cornevon Stargem
had the same qualities. Such dogs don’t come along that often.”
Sh Ch Cornevon Stargem
Does Rita have a message for
today’s exhibitors and aspiring breeders and judges?
“Study your type and pedigrees,
do not be kennel-blind (we all think we have the best) – it all
helps. Show an interest in other people’s stock. Start as you mean
to go on and always remember that you may be the judges of the
future and will be responsible for our lovely breed.”
Rita's husband Harry & their Grandson Jenson
with Scarletti Smooth Criminal
Sire of Sh Ch Thendara Don Corleone
Many thanks to Rita Pike &
to Sue Edwins for compiling this
profile - Nov 2006 - Layout & Web Design by Colin N Waddell