Alice in Wonderland
Pastoral Group - 2001
by Marisa Keophaithool
Judge - Jack B Bispham
Photo by Alan V Walker
Pastoral group winner and last years runner up was the Pembroke Welsh Corgi Blances Ch Penlaith Shooting Star
pictured with judge Mr Jack Bispham, Lord Hardy
and reserve the Bearded Collie Hardys Ch Otterswish Bernadette
breed do you think attracted the most entries in the Pastoral group at Crufts
this year? I know what youre thinking - easy peasy! Rough Collies, as
usual. Wrong - it was Border Collies. Their increased entry, 377 dogs making
429 entries, outnumbered the Roughs, who were down to 350 (making 391 entries).
In fact, only Golden Retrievers, 538 making 614 entries), Labradors (475 making
512 entries) and Cavaliers (429 making 451 entries) had more dogs entered. The
question was, would this bode well for the Border Collie in the group?
The Pastoral group was held for the first time at Crufts in 1999. Terry Thorns winner then, and also Liz Cartledges choice for 2000, was the glamourous brown and white Bearded Collie, Ch Potterdale Prophet. Rudi was entered this year but the Lewiss did not show him. Whoever took on the mantle would have to beat allcomers, from the Lancashire Heeler to the Anatolian Shepherd Dog the smallest to the largest dogs in the group). The Pastoral group was the very last one to be judged, on Bank Holiday Monday evening, it all added to the sense of drama and anticipation...
As well as displaying the cream of British dogs, Crufts this year also opened its doors to overseas entries for the very first time and, as we shall see, one of them made it through to the group. There were also three overseas judges: Mr R Vuorinen from Finland judging Rough Collie bitches, Mr Helge Lie from Norway judging Shetland Sheepdog bitches and Mr Miloslav Redlicki in the Polish Lowland Sheepdog ring. There were no CCs for the Australian Cattle Dogs, Estrela Mountain Dogs, Laekenois, Malinois, Australian Shepherds or Hungarian Kuvasz. Four breeds - the Border Collie, the Bearded Collie, the Rough Collie and the Shetland Sheepdog were all allocated two judges.
The May show didnt seem as busy as in other years, and this echoed the general feeling of one of the judges and stallholders that I spoke to. Whether the attendance figures were up or down, I think most of us were pleased the show had gone ahead - our doggy year just wouldnt feel right without Crufts! I overheard one member of the public on the shuttle bus to the NEC tell her friend that she had left her husband at work because she couldnt do without her yearly Crufts fix.
Judging started in all Pastoral rings at 9am, with the exception of Briards which began at 10am. The first CC was awarded at 9.20am in the Maremma Sheepdog ring and the last breed to be judged were the Malinois, who followed the Tervuerens, Groenendaels and Laekenois into the ring. Eventually, after a long hot final day, the BOBs had all been selected. For those whose judging relatively early (11am for some), it must have seemed like a long wait, but of course, no one was complaining.
By now the general public and most exhibitors were either making their weary way home or had settled by the large video screens in Hall 5 to catch a glimpse of the group judging. The lucky ticket holders were already in their seats in the Main Ring, whilst throughout the NEC, the job of dismantling the numerous trade stands began in earnest. (This is the time for last-minute bargains, if you have the nerve!). Holders of evening tickets on the final night really do get their moneys worth. From 4.45pm to 9pm, there is a parade of International Junior Handlers, group judging, Agility and Flyball finals, the KCJO Stakes final, Mary Rays mesmerising Heelwork to Music routine, a parade of last years best in show and, the moment everyone waits for, the best in show judging.
By 6.15 pm, the BOBs were gathered in the collecting ring, ready for commentator Bernard Hall to introduce them to the packed crowd, so that Pastoral group judge - Jack Bispham - could begin the task of selecting the last finalist to go through to best in show. The eyes of the world were upon him, through the medium of television, and he also had a strict timetable to meet - precisely 45 minutes to make his choice. The pressures of being a judge! As dogs entered the ring, the audience needed no encouragement to show their appreciation; their favourites, of course, received an extra loud cheer!
First into the ring was the Anatolian Shepherd Dog, an impressive animal who commands respect. BOB was Seacop Bogazici (Gazza), owned by Miss Broadhead and sent forward by Mr Reed. Gazza was Top Anatoolian Shepherd Dog twice and he also has a group 3. He didnt compete at Crufts last year because his breeders - Mrs Broadhead - was the judge. His owner handled him well and admitted afterwards; Hes not good indoors, he was hard work today!
Next was the distinctive blue speckle Australian Cattle Dog, Curdeleon Blue the Boy Wunda, owned, bred and shown by Pearl Chetwynd. He was the choice of breed judge Mrs R Cartwright. Pearl told me that she had intended to keep a red dog from the litter but her husband had let another puppy owner choose him when she was at work, which left her with Blue! Needless to say, she has been thrilled with him ever since. . Blue was Crufts BOB 1999 and Res Best Dog 2000.
A new face to the main ring this year was the Australian Shepherd, judged by Mr John James. They were one of three breeds (the other two being Cesky Terriers and Havanese) to be classified for the first time at Crufts, having come off the Imported Breeds Register last year. This striking breed made its influence felt from the start and is already challenging at group level. The honour of taking the very first Crufts BOB went to the dog, the red tri Am Ch Tri-Ivory Mojo Flair, an American Import. Mojo is the first Aussie to win a championship Stakes (Darlington) and a group (Leeds). This was Mojos first time at Crufts and he was proudly watched by co-owner Sheila Polk, from California. Sheila, and her husband Jim, bred Mojo and he is co-owned with the Gatenbys.
The crowd was three deep round the Bearded Collie rings by 4pm. Mr K Young (bitches) finished just ahead of the dog judge, Miss R G Scoot. BOB was the homebred bitch, Mrs Hardys Ch Otterswish Bernadette (Bernie). She has 16 CCs and two group wins (Driffield 99 and South Wales 99), but this was her first CC at Crufts.
Miss Marion McIlhereene had a busy day in the Belgian Shepherd ring with 217 dogs to judge. The largest entry came from the Tervuerens, with 126 dogs. Their BOB was the Dog CC winner, Kevin Baldwin and C Jones Ch Nightstorms Foto Copy. This was Zaks 13th CC (lucky for some!) and his 10th BOB, his best result at Crufts so far. He was also group 4 at Birmingham in 1999. Kevin explained with a twinkle in his eye that he co-owns Zak with his nephew so that he can keep an eye on him! It would be the first time in the big ring for both of them. BOB in Groenendaels was Mr and Mrs Cliffords import Ch Gydo Vt Belgisch at Ebontide, handled by Dyllis Knight. Now aged nine and semi-retired Gydo was returned to his Dutch breeders as an 11-month-old pup because his owners couldnt cope with him. Thanks to the Cliffords, he became a Champion. BOB in Laekenois was the bitch, Zhale Melissa, owned by Mr and Mrs Ralph. Shirley explained: Ruth is my sons dog but he lived in rented accommodation and couldnt keep her, so we took her in. Shes lived with us ever since. The Ralphs have one each of the four varieties. Ruth has six Best Bitches to her credit. Unfortunately the Laekenois did not appear in the group. The Malinois BOB was Mr Davis bitch Sabrefield Raring To Go.
And so on to the largest breed entry of the day - Border Collies. The dogs were overseen by Joe Kirk, whilst Clare Coxall assessed the bitches. Both worked through without a lunch break and, after five hours, Clare finished ahead of Joe. However, they could not agree of their BOB so the referee was called in and it was awarded to the Bitch CC winner, who became a Show Champion on the day, David Parkers Tamarsh Maggie May at Tolarock (Maggie). David says that he loves everything about Border Collies - and who can blame him?!
In Briards, Jean Lanning close the black overseas dog, Beagency Barzac, owned by Mrs J Snelling from France. Matt has entered five shows and taken two CCs and a Reserve CC; he will be returning to France and two-and-a-half weeks time, perhaps with his title? Somehow, it seems appropriate that French dog should go BOB in a French breed on the first occasion that Crufts was open to overseas exhibitors.
Rough Collie dogs were judged by Mrs Hazel Hunt, whilst bitches were judged by Mr R Vuorinen from Finland. It was a long day, but well worth the wait for Mr and Mrs Blakes Ch Phreelancer Phrosty Moon over Corydon. This gorgeous blue merle dog has 22 CCs, is the breed record holder and was Crufts BOB 2000. Frosty was born in Johns kitchen and was the inevitable choice of pup to stay. The BOB was decided very amicably with a sporting shake of the hands by the dog and bitch owners before the judges made a quick assessment and arrived at the same decision - the Dog CC winner for BOB.
The Smooth Collie BOB was Ch Newarp Jesena Moonlight Sonata, owned by Mrs Pat Lister, under judge Mrs Christine Leach (Top Smooth Breeder of the Year). This was Rosies 26th CC and her 4th BOB in four shows. Pat has been in the breed for 30 years, but I dont think we will reveal that her husband didnt recognise the breed at first and wanted to know why she had chosen one!
Next came the Estrela Mountain Dog, Went Court Mopars Golden Boy (Jenson), who was sent forward by Mr M Reed. Jenson is owned by Mr and Mrs J Yeoman and Mrs Sian Hawkins, Sian handles him. Homebred Jenson was BOB last year as well.
The ever popular GSD drew his customary positive response from the ringside crowd. There were 207 GSDs, both dogs and bitches, for Mr J Carter to assess on the day. He found his BOB in Mr Tim Shillings Stranmills Dax Voyager. Dax, who i handled in the ring by Nikki Houston, is named after a Star Trek voyager character. He had had eight firsts at champ shows, but this was his first CC (he also has two Reserve CCs) beating the newly crowned Bitch CC winner for BOB.
I imagine Terry Munro had an enjoyable, if relaxing, day judging Hungarian Kuvasz. From an entry of six (three dogs and three bitches) two bitches turned up to contest Open Bitch and BOB. After waiting for the Hungarian Pulis to finish the winner, after some good natured badinage, was Mrs Brents Ashley Chase for Dreamcatcher. I think Mrs Brent will have to stop calling her a lardarse now!, but both ladies agreed that Kuvasz love to embarrass you. Miss Koryniaki added that her bitch had mounted her in the ring at Crufts last year, but you just have to love them!
Mrs J V Evans judging Hungarian Pulis gave BOB to her Limit Dog winner, Barranoaks the Court Jester. Harry won the Res CC at Birmingham, this was his second CC for Ann Webb. He was also Best Puppy in 1998. Ann had wanted to keep a bitch but there were only three boys in his litter and Harry stayed because he kept hiding so he wouldnt have to leave.
Komondor BOB under Averil Lacey was Mrs Bodles Viharsarok Puszta at Volmos, who was imported at the age of six months. Four-year-old Lulu now has six BOBs, BOB Crufts 2000 and Top Komondor 2000. Mrs Bodle said she is a big softy who sleeps in my bedroom. When I asked her how many Komondors she owned, she replied, One. One is enough!
I hope Norman Ziman enjoyed judging the Lancashire Heelers, they are great characters. Some years back, I worked in a veterinary practice in Ormskirk for a short while, and the Lancashire (Ormskirk) Heeler was popular in that town. Normans BOB was Ch Foxthyme Material Girl (Jess), owned by Colin and Denise Russell. Jess was the first ever Lancashire Heeler Champion and Crufts 1996 and 2000 as well as being Top Lancashire Heeler 1998, 1999 and 2000. Phew! She has won 10 CCs for the Russells, who were formerly in Great Danes.
Breed judge for Maremma Sheepdogs was Mrs Caroline Roes. Her BOB was Mesdames Latimer and Baxters imported dog, Rhododendro Di Selvaspina. Roddy now has three CCs and three BOBs. This was his first time at Crufts and he seemed ill at ease in the big ring, Jack Bispham having a bit of a difficult time going over him. Earlier in the day (9.20am to be precise!) his handler was thrilled to win the CC, throwing her hands up in delight and giving Roddi a special cuddle before he left the ring. This was his first time at Crufts, so perhaps with a little more experience?
Mrs S A Franks made the awards in Norwegian Buhunds. Her BOB was Mrs Cheryl Denham-Hortons homebred dog, Ch Olpenden DZimba. Zimba, who was one of a litter of nine, moved in unison with his handler to take the Dog CC and BOB. Cheryl has been in the breed for 15 years and this was her tenth visit to Crufts.
Mrs Ruth Wilkinson judged Old English Sheepdogs, and she awarded BOB to the Dog CC winner, Ch Zottels You Dont Fool Me, owned and bred by Christina Bailey. Lionel took Res BIS at Manchester champ show and BOB at the recent SKC. Christina admitted, the older I get, the more nervous I get showing at Crufts!. Lionel had previously won a Junior Dog class at Crufts and Christina added that she was pleasantly surprised by his win.
The Polish Lowland Sheepdog judge was baseball-cap wearing breed specialist Mr Miloslav Redlicki. It was interesting to see an undocked dog in the Veteran Bitch winner, Mrs McHales Moy - Hawthornblu Medusa. Her owner said that she didnt expect her eight-year-old bitch to win because she has had a chequered career. Moya has two CCs and three Res CCs.
Mrs Angela Smith had an entry of 104 Pyreneans to judge. Her BOB was Mrs Christine Edwards dog, Ch Shanlimore Midnight Cowboy. Bradley was another to win his first CC at this show. He now has 15 CCs and 20 BOBs. His owner/breeder also won the Res CC with a Bradley daughter that she owns, whilst another of his daughters took the Bitch CC. At home Bradley likes to sleep with six cats on his back!
Mrs Angela Danvers-Smiths homebred dog, Fairville Imperial Ali Khan, took Limit Dog, the Dog CC and BOB under Samoyed judge Mrs E Pont.
Shetland Sheepdogs (dogs) were judged by Mrs Carol Ferguson, whilst the bitches were judged by Mr Helge Lie from Norway. The BOB was the dog, Ch Morestyle Monsoon, bred and owned by Mrs Elaine Wilson. Fergus was Shetland Sheepdog of the Year in 1998 and 1999. He was born on his breeders birthday (an omen if ever there was one) and was also the first to be born. He has been very lightly shown. Two boys were kept from Fergus litter - and both have been made up! Mrs Wilson had a 13 hour shift at work the next day, but said that shed be on a high whatever happened.
The Swedish Vallhund, Ch Drammericans Erik took BOB under Dr Monica Boggia Black (Monica was also the Terrier group judge on Thursday and made the Kerry Blue Terrier the first of the seven BIS finalists). Mr and Mrs Eric Rodwell bred Rik, who won his first CC aged seven months. He now has six CCs. They have been in the breed for 17 years and had a BOB at Crufts three years ago. Rik was originally destined for a pet home in the Orkneys, but the family had an asthmatic child and so Rik stayed with the Rodwells in Kent.
Alison Hughes had a brilliant day in the Cardigan Corgi ring. Judge Mrs Joy Tonkyn awarded both the Dog and Bitch CC, with the bitch taking BOB. Homebred Ch Trenwydd Goodnight Girl (Lucy) beat her brother Sam and now has eight CCs, this being the magical first CC at Crufts. Alison added that shes not easy to handle! Nevertheless, Lucy, a black and white brindle point, is he youngest ever Champion in the breed, being made up at the age of 12 months and three days.
The final dog in the ring was the Pembroke Corgi, Mrs Chris Blances Ch Penliath Shooting Star, who was BOB under Mrs B M Ellis. Alice was the only bitch in her litter and has since gone on the win 29 CCs, BOB Crufts 2000 and group 2, the Bitch CC in 1999, plus four group 1. She was Top Puppy in 1998 and had been BOB under the judge. Mrs Blance also took Best Puppy with another of her Corgis. She also wisely kept Alice out of the heat of the collecting ring until the very last moment, a move which paid off in dramatic fashion forty-five minutes later...
After a very efficient examination of each dog, Mr Bispham pulled out eight dogs for further consideration, shaking the hands of the other exhibitors as they left the ring. Those selected were: the Australian Shepherd Dog, Bearded Collie, Border Collie, German Shepherd Dog, Old English Sheepdog, Shetland Sheepdog and Pembroke Corgi.
By now the audience was dead silent and the atmosphere was tense. After each had moved in a triangle again, the group boards were brought out and the Pembroke Corgi was declared winner of the group, to great cheers and applause. Runner up was the Bearded Collie, group 3 was the Border Collie and group 4 the OES. To great applause, Lord Hardy of Bath presented the trophy to Mrs Blance and Ch Penliath Shooting Star, Chris must have felt like she was with Alice in Wonderland.