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(Updated 3/6/01)


Working crowd cry out for 'Crazy'!

Working Group - 2001

by Stuart Band

Judge - Margaret Everton

Photo by Alan V Walker
The working group winner the Siberian Husky Rimini’s Int. Ch. Cry Out (I) handled by Mia Ejerstad
judge Mrs Margaret Everton, Mr Ted Chandler of the AHT who presented the trophies
and reserve the Bouvier des Flandres Wilberg’s Ch Kanix Zulu.

The fourth and final day of the rescheduled Crufts saw an entry of 2765 dogs in the 20 breeds which make up the Working Group. This was the first truly international Crufts and there was great excitement as to how many non-resident dogs would be awarded Best of Breed by the panel of judges.

Rottweilers had the largest entry of the day with 319 dogs. Boxers had the second highest number of entries amounting to 318 dogs! There was a substitute judge for one of the sexes owing to the death of one of the original judges. Gert Nielsen had the honour of taking over the entry and was celebrating his 69th birthday on the day. What a wonderful and memorable way to spend one's birthday! The smallest entry in this group was that of the Greenland Dog (known to most of us as the Eskimo Dog) which was 16.

The atmosphere in Halls 4 and 5 over the previous three days of the show had been quite oppressive on occasions and the final day proved to be no exception. There were many complaints emanating from both trade stand holders and competitors at the poor air quality in each of the halls. Some of the giant breeds in particular found it very uncomfortable. To make matters worse the NEC staff in attendance had opened up many of the large doors around the perimeter of the halls offering a tantalising view of the cool oasis outside but everyone who approached with the request of popping out with their dogs received the same polite refusal.

During the day there were several outstanding displays in the various rings in addition to the attraction of over 160 breeds in the Discover Dogs section. It is a credit to most breed clubs that they were able to man the breed booths on the day that the Working group was taking place. Judging of all breeds commenced 9am in order to accommodate the large number of exhibits which were to be assessed. The Working group was the first to be called and, shortly before the Best of Breeds assembled in the collecting ring, I chatted briefly to the Best In Show judge, Ann Arch, who was enjoying an ice cream having only just dismantled the Hungarian Puli Club breed booth in the Discover Dogs section. How many times can you say that you have heard of the Crufts Best In Show judge 'working' a couple of hours prior to his or her moment of fame? It proves categorically that Ann is indeed 'one of us', a real dog person, still active at all levels in dogs, working for breed clubs, showing dogs as well as judging them and still fitting in all her Kennel Club activities.

There were a few spaces in the tiered seating around the Main Ring due to the reduced number of overseas visitors to the show but it did not detract from that unique atmosphere which prevails during all group competition at Crufts. The Working group judge was Mrs. Margaret Everton. She has a very impressive 'pedigree' in dogs having been awarding Challenge Certificates since 1975. She is renowned for the Great Danes she bred and has been associated with Birmingham National, Birmingham City & Midland Counties Championship Shows over the years. She is currently a member of the General Committee of the Kennel Club as well as a member of the Judges Sub-Committee. The commentary during judging was provided once again by Bernard Hall. There were no absentees from the group although one or two handlers only just made it to the collecting ring as the first group of the day was introduced to the audience.

The Alaskan Malamute, Patterson's home-bred Anuvak Manitoba, led the group into the Main Ring as befitting a sled dog. 'Spike' who is always handled by Davina Hughes, has now had three BOBs and he was Reserve BOB at Crufts in 2000 and was also placed Group 2 at LKA last December. The first of the 'foreign' BOBs was the Bernese Mountain Dog, Sennettas Sixten who is a resident of Denmark. Bred by his owners, the Ramsings, 'Sixten' who is five years old now has six C.C.s to his credit, having been made up in a very short space of time. Handled by his co-owner Lesbet he has 12 CACIB's and has been World Champion on two occasions in Helsinki and more recently last year in Milan. The legendary Bouvier Des Flandres, Wilberg & Lambert's home-bred Ch. Kanix Zulu has had a phenomenal career to date. He now has 29 C.C.s of which 24 have ben with BOB. He has won 19 groups and numerous BIS. His co-owner Kari Wilberg, resident in the U.K. for almost 20 years and formerly of Norway, says that his most memorable win is his first Best In Show at Three Counties several years ago. 'Zulu' is a perfect gentleman at home and is great fun to live with. What more could you want asks Kari?

The Boxer, Shouler's home-bred Ch. Makeney's Magical Moment JW, is handled by his co-owner Carol. He has four C.C.s of which three have been with BOB. He is their 1st show dog from their very first litter. The breed was judged by both Mrs. Angela Kennett and Mr. Gert Nielsen but it was the 'birthday boy's' dog which went through to the group. Alan & Mave Rostron's Bullmastiff, Ch. Brookmead Marcus of Graecia, has five C.C.s all with BOB. 'Sam' is handled by Alan and was their chosen pick of litter out of a dog who was BOB at Crufts in 1996 and he has not been shown much although he was 'made up' at Three Counties last year. Dobermanns had a judge for each sex and I spoke to the bitch judge, Mrs Ann Bradley, as she made her way to the adjacent dog ring to co-judge BOB. The decision which was received to thunderous applause and cheering went to Dave Anderson & Jean Frost's home-bred dog, Chancepixies Monopolist. Handled by Dave, 'Jet' now has five C.C.s with two Best of Breed. He won the Group at S.K.C. which was his first BOB. He is the first home-bred Chancepixies champion that Dave & Jean have kept and he made history by winning the very first Joint Dobermann Club Championship Show. The German Pinscher BOB, Nelson's home-bred Davlynn Red Campion, was the first of the 'rare breeds' to be judged in the Group. 'Amber' has been shown only very occasionally of late due to her owner's work commitments but her most memorable win to date was her first BOB at Blackpool when she was just out of the puppy class. In Giant Schnauzers Maggs Ch. Foxwood Incognito, was taking his 15th C.C., 14 of which have been BOB. 'Jake' has not been shown much during the past year as a result of a back injury suffered by co-owner and handler Keith. There was certainly no sign of the injury here with the superb handling.

The second of the 'visiting' BOBs was the Great Dane, Borghilde & Steinar Moen's home-bred Int. Ch. Hotpoints Welcome Mr. Blue. 'Bluie' had travelled from his native Norway to compete at Crufts alongside 264 others to be awarded BOB. In addition to his numerous CACIB's this five year old blue male was also European Youth Winner in 1997 and a World Winner in 1998. Steinar watched with obvious pride as his wife, Borghilde, made her first appearance in the Main Ring at Crufts. The Greenland Dog, Scott & Hickmott's Ajornapoq of Independence Over Winterdance was taking his second BOB at Crufts although he unfortunately missed the group at Crufts last year. 'Badge' is the current Top Harness Breed dog and is rapidly following in his sire's footsteps as the imported Artik at Seacourt took BOB at Crufts for three consecutive years. The third 'European' visitor to take BOB was the Hovawart, Monique Op De Beeck's six year old male, Int. Ch. Ballooners Bosse. 'Ballooners' came from Belgium and in addition to his international champion title he is also a French champion as well as a Belgian champion. The Leonberger, Celia Peters' home-bred rossnick Sinful Skinful, was awarded his very first BOB at the show. 'Dipsy' hopes to follow in his famous grandsire's footsteps and also his sire, Lux. Ch. Sir Union Defender of Pilgrim's Ring at Rossnick, who is the only resident champion veteran in the breed in the U.K. and who coincidentally won the Veteran class! The Mastiff, Cox & Frost's Faerdorn Why Do It, was awarded his very first CC at the show. 'Angel' has been a remarkable ambassador for the breed at Discover Dogs over the past seven years and he was entered in Special Veteran, thus making his win even more special at the grand old age of eight! The Neapolitan Mastiff, the Walker-Brooks' Grimoire Firecracker of Janineo, is no stranger to the big ring at Crufts having won BOB here last year. 'Levi' has now been awarded BOB 14 times and has been placed Group 4 at both East of England and also at S.K.C. He certainly 'made his mark' in the big ring on this occasion choosing to 'spend a penny' (or more accurately a couple of quid) whilst moving around the ring for Mrs. Everton!

The Newfoundland, Drury's imported Ch. Cayuga George Ferrari (Imp) now has amassed a total of 26 C.C.s with 24 BOBs. 'George' has had several notable wins, amongst them is BIS at the Northern Newfoundland Club Championship Show, Pro Dog of the Year and Top Dog All Competitions during 1999 & 2000 in addition to numerous group placings. Today he was the choice of world- famous multi-breed judge Mrs. Pamela Cross Stern who will herself be judging BIS at Crufts shortly. Pat Jones' home-bred Portuguese Water Dog, Cartmel Sea Admiral, was taking his 12th BOB at the show. 'Jake' has also the distinction of winning BIS at two club shows. He was handled today by American professional handler, Steve Dostie, who shows Portuguese Water dogs 'over the pond'. Taking time off from promoting her latest imported breed the Rusian Black Terrier, Violet Slade was the co-judge of the breed with the highest entry of the day, the Rottweiler. BOB was Hill's home-bred bitch, Ch. Jufftner Bubbling Hot JW. 'Glenda' now has nine C.C.s with six BOB's and this was the best so far! Her dam, Krenell Krazy Kapers at Jufftner, was the breed’s Top Brood Bitch in 2000.

No stranger to the big ring, the St. Bernard, Tan & Ann-Marie Nagrecha's homebred Snoshire Ritchies Rich with Chandlimore was awarded his 34th C.C. 'Ritchie' has been BOB on no fewer than 33 occasions. Handled as always by Tan he has had numerous group placings and his most memorable win was at East of England in 1999 when he was awarded the Dog CC & BOB in addition to the Nagrechas taking the Bitch CC, the reserve Bitch CC & Best Puppy In Breed! This is the second time he has been BOB at Crufts. The final 'foreigner' of the day was the Siberian Husky BOB, Signore Capanni Rimini's two year old bitch, Int. Ch. Cry Out. 'Crazy' was being handled by Mia Ejerstad, a Swede now resident in Italy, who was overjoyed to have been handling her 3rd BOB at Crufts as she had been successful in Scottish Terriers and Canaan Dogs on previous days. It certainly made the journey from Italy worthwhile. Three Best of Breeds in three different groups is quite a feat in itself and ensures that Signore Capanni Rimini will go down in history on his triple success at the first International Crufts. The final BOB was the Tibetan Mastiff, Gardiner's home-bred Heronsview Downtown Boy. The breed was judged by Mrs. Sue Garner who has herself campaigned rare breeds and she gave 'Kaos' his 24th BOB at both championship & open shows. 'Kaos' is the highest placed Tibetan Mastiff having been awarded Reserve Best In Show at Dorking CA Open Show from an entry of over 1200 dogs.

Mrs. Everton cast her expert eye over the assembled Best of Breeds before indicating the dogs she wished to shortlist for further consideration. She pulled out the Bernese Mountain Dog, Ramsing's Sennetas Sixten, and then moved on to the Bouvier Des Flandres, Wilberg & Lambert's Ch. Kanix Zulu. Next she pointed to the Giant Schnauzer, Maggs' Ch. Foxwood Incognito, before moving on to the Great Dane, Moen's Int. Ch. Hotpoints Welcome Mr. Blue. Then came the Newfoundland, Drury's Ch. Cayuga George Ferrari (Imp), followed by the Nagrechas’ Ch. Shoshire Ritchies Rich with Chandlimore and finally the Siberian Husky, Capanni Rimini's Int. Ch. Cry Out. Those not selected left the ring to thunderous applause from an appreciative audience. Mrs. Everton then moved each of her shortlisted dogs once again. The crowd did not need any encouragement from Bernard Hall to show their support for their particular favourite. The Bouvier received a huge amount of applause and it was known to many ringsiders that the judge had given Ch. Kanix Zulu high honours in the past and that he is a particular favourite of hers. The Great Dane, Int. Ch. Hotpoints Welcome Mr. Blue had many supporters as he moved majestically around the ring. The greatest applause and shouting was reserved for the Siberian Husky, Int. Ch Cry Out who powered around the ring.

Mrs Everton allowed each handler to settle their dog and studied them for one last time whilst the award boards were put into position by the efficient group stewards who, like the best waiters, were highly professional yet totally unobtrusive... congratulations to Dr. Ruth Barbour for her organisation of 'the team'. A momentary hush fell upon the crowd as Mrs Everton walked across towards her choice for Group 1 placing, the Siberian Husky, Int. Ch. Cry Out. The roof almost came off with the resulting cheer! It would be an understatement to say that the crowd approved! Into Group 2 Mrs. Everton indicated the Bouvier Des Flandres, Ch. Kanix Zulu. Her selection for Group 3 was the Great Dane, Int. Ch. Hotpoints Welcome Mr. Blue and for Group 4 the Newfoundland, Ch. Cayuga George Ferrari (Imp).

The first Working group of the now truly International Crufts was now over. The winners were ushered off to the area reserved for photographers whilst preparations were made for the next event in the Main Ring. I was fortunate to speak to Mia Ejerstad who had piloted her charge to the coveted Group 1 placing once the flashlights had ceased and she began to recover from the bright lights. She was overjoyed to have won the group and, modestly said that it was all down to the dog... she was merely the handler!