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Last year was destined to be Danny’s year!

Best in show at Crufts 2003 Messrs Easdon & Martin’s Pekingese
Ch Yakee A Dangerous Liaison

OUR DOGS Editor William Moores talks to Bert Easdon the joint owner and handler of last year’s best in show winner, who with his partner Philip Martin, has had a remarkable record in the show ring

WM: How has your Crufts BIS win changed your life since last February?
BE: It has not changed my life much; I still have to groom, feed and clean out the dogs as I always have. The only good/bad thing is that I am recognised in the street as the owner of the famous dogs and lots of people know me, but I don’t know them!

WM: How many dogs and how many different breeds do you own?
BE: As I said in my post-Crufts interviews I don’t have a family of dogs. I am not a farmer and don’t think more is better, saying this there are more arguments in this household about the number of dogs than anything else. Philip does not like parting with any of the Pekingese and would keep them all if he could. I have five or six different breeds and would like to add more but unfortunately I am not allowed. I have a particular affection for the brachycephalic breeds.

WM: As a handler you have always had a great rapport with 'Danny,' do you believe this is important in the show ring?
BE: You must have a great rapport with all of your charges or they will not perform for you. You must always remember that all dogs have different personalities and you cannot treat them all the same.

WM: Will you show again at Crufts this year?
BE: Yes, as it is my favourite show and my lucky one.

WM: How many miles do you drive to shows each year?
BE: Probably in excess of 40,000 miles, this can be a nightmare when it comes to selling your car!

WM: Do you enjoy Crufts and what are the best and worst features of the event?
BE: Yes, very much so. I like everything about the show except the huge number of spectators which can make it difficult to get around. This can be even more frustrating if you are interested in more than one breed.

WM: What do you think about the quality of Pekes in the UK compared to those abroad?
BE: I think that overall the quality of the Pekes in the UK is higher than anywhere else in the world.

WM: Did you retire Danny from the show ring ?
BE: Danny was retired after he won Best in show, however I feel that I am too young to retire and have a good many shows left in me!

WM: What made you choose 'Danny' from his littermates, and has he any successful siblings?
BE: Danny has always stood out from his siblings and it was obvious to me from an early age that he was going to be a star. He has a brother from a repeat mating who is also a champion.

WM: What prompted you to show 'Danny' for the first time, and what was the result?
BE: Ever since I was a child I had wanted to show dogs and I first started with Boston Terriers, King Charles Spaniels and Shih Tzu. I then progressed onto Pekes and I’m glad that I have been able to both own and breed champion show dogs.

WM: Of all Danny's successes, which has been your favourite and why?
BE: Definitely the Crufts BIS because it’s the highest accolade one can achieve when showing dogs.

WM: Has he any progeny in the show ring today?
BE: He has a champion son and two daughters with RCCs and a best in show and a son in the USA.

WM: Is 'Danny' the Alpha Male at home?
BE: Yes, he took the place of Ch St Sanja Grand Finale at Yakee. Unfortunately when he reached about a year old he took an incredible dislike to Barry and to stop any fighting I reluctantly gave the dog to a pet home.

WM: Is 'Danny' recognised as a celebrity outside the show ring?
BE:Yes, he is a very famous dog and it can be strange when people from outside the world of dogs ask after him. He has taken part in celebrity dog walks, opened factories and new stores and he has also been on the shopping channel QVC, so I would wholeheartedly consider him to be a little celebrity, although I may be a little biased...!