Rita Pike - Scarletti


Profile By
Sue Edwins

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.


The first 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 Craftsman. 



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 show.

“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 Harper. 

“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 was!

“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 breeder/exhibitors.

                       Sh Ch Scarletti Hot Chocolate (Nina)
(Photo: Mike Oakley)

“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 one.



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)

Sh Ch Twoacres Troilus


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