Paul Grimwood, the Managing Director of Nestle Purina Petcare and Claire Parry-Baggott, the Brand Manager for Purina Proplan, presented the crystal trophy to the Purina Proplan and Dog World Pup of the Year competition winner Zena Thorn-Andrews’ homebred Miniature Wirehaired Dachshund, Drakesleat Otto Bahn
Crowning a remarkable year in which her Drakesleat kennel made up its 100th Champion, last year’s judge, Zena Thorn Andrews took the top award at the Purina Proplan and Dog World Pup of the Year competition with her homebred Miniature Wirehaired Dachshund, Drakesleat Otto Bahn. Affectionately known as "Banner" at home, he was chosen out of the 29 finalist present by top judge Dr Monica Boggia-Black.
The sun was shining on a mild January day in Central London as the guests and competitors arrived for the 34th Purina Pro Plan and Dog World Pup of the Year Final. It was held on Thursday 6th January 2005 in the spectacular surroundings of the Porter Tun Room at the Whitbread Brewery, which has hosted the competition since 1983. Each of the competing puppies had qualified at heats held at all the General Championship shows plus Scottish Breeds and the national Championship show for each of the groups throughout the year.
The total number of entries for the year was almost 10,000 so to obtain a place in the Finals constituted a considerable achievement in itself. The judge for this prestigious event was Dr Monica Boggia-Black who can truly claim to have been bred into the world of dogs being the third generation of a family of dog breeders. She started showing at an early age and has made up champions in several breeds including Whippets, Bedlington Terriers and Fox Terriers under the family’s Boughton affix. She awards CCs in more than thirty breeds across all groups and has judged every group except the Gundog group, at championship show level both in Britain and overseas.
TV personality Shauna Lowry pictured with the Purina Proplan and Dog World 2004 Pup of the Year competition winner Zena Thorn-Andrews’ homebred Miniature Wirehaired Dachshund, Drakesleat Otto Bahn.
The welcome address was given by Joanna Nelstrop the Head of Events for Purina Proplan and this year’s event opened by last year’s Pup of the Year winner, Martyn and Margarita Ford’s Irish Water Spaniel, Cuboglach Woodland Brown, better known as "Woods," who completed a lap of honour around the ring. He was then followed by a lap of honour from the 2004 Crufts Best in Show winner, Mrs Lynn Yacoby-Wright’s Whippet Ch Cobyco Call The Tune, (or Dee Dee as she is known at home). Joanna informed us that both Martyn and Lynn are Pro Plan Gold Club members.
Bernard Hall was the commentator for the event and gave a quick resume of the format of the competition and the event was soon underway with all this year’s finalists doing an individual lap around the impressive carpeted ring which was bounded by white picket fencing, before leaving the ring.
The first three dogs were then brought into the ring and there were only ever three dogs in the ring at any one time whilst Dr Boggia-Black was judging. Unfortunately, two qualifiers could not be present; the Lowchen, Aquilonia Touch of Blue for Cilleine, owned by Denise Barney, was in season and the Labrador, Llanstinan Buzby Bowstones could not be present because the owner, Ann Britton was recovering from a fall. The Shar Pei, Mr P Balmer’s Kolnago American Beauty for Pullupaa replaced Mary Deats’ Schipperke, Aradet Nemo.
Bernard Hall kept us entertained with information on each of the contestants. The Australian Terrier, Ch Millvalley Styled in Red for Silhill, owned by Sue McCourt was the first of the its breed to qualify for this event.
Liz McKnight and Jerry Robertson must have been proud to have two Greyhound puppies, Azrams Rhys Jones and Azrams Ocean Dreams from the same litter, amongst the qualifiers. Burt Easdon and Phillip Martin, no strangers by any means to these finals, managed also to qualify two Pekingese puppies but not from the same litter. They were Shantallah Daylite Robber For Yakee and Yakee Lady Catherine.
We learnt that the Scottish Terrier, Lomondview Gipsy Queen managed to lock her breeder and owner, Carol Annan, in the kennel. Fortunately it had a stable door on it and Carol managed to escape by climbing over the door in a much undignified manner! Bernard also informed us that the Miniature Schnauzer, Braywick Monterrey Jack at Doncleve, owned by Norma Brook and Christine Ellingworth was definitely teetotal as the mere smell of alcohol causes him to chase around and he ends up by standing on his head. (Similar behaviour has been known to have been observed in exhibitors but I suspect after a little more than a sniff of alcohol!)
Dr Boggia-Black moved all the dogs individually and after all had been thoroughly examined, every finalist returned to the ring and from these she shortlisted ten dogs. These were the Elkhound, Greyhound (Azrams Rhys Jones), American Cocker Spaniel, Samoyed, Miniature Wirehaired Dachshund, Pembroke Welsh Corgi, Beagle, Pekingese (Yakee Lady Catherine), Miniature Poodle and Shar Pei. These all moved again and the room fell silent as from this impressive line-up Dr Boggia-Black pulled out the final five. These were the Pembroke Welsh Corgi, Salvenik Star Made, owned and bred by Teresa Maddox, Bert Easdon and Philip Martin’s homebred Pekingese Yakee Lady Catherine, Roger Bayliss’ Miniature Poodle Kertellas It’s A Secret, Billy Cannell and Rosemary Wilcock’s American Cocker Spaniel, Afterglow Douglas Fashion handled by breeder Michael Gadsby and Zena Thorn Andrews’ homebred Miniature Wirehaired Dachshund, Drakesleat Otto Bahn. A final last look and the winner, the Miniature Wirehaired Dachshund, Drakesleat Otto Bahn owned, bred and handled by Zena Thorn Andrews, was declared, to much applause. He qualified for the Pup of the Year Finals under Ann Horan at East of England Championship Show. Second place was then awarded to the American Cocker Spaniel, Afterglow Douglas Fashion.
Paul Grimwood, the Managing Director of Nestle Purina Petcare and Claire Parry-Baggott, the Brand Manager for Purina Proplan, presented crystal trophies to the winner and runner-up before the winner did a very proud lap of honour around the ring.
The judging over, it was time to repair to the bar whilst the judging ring area was transformed into a huge dining room to feed and water the guests and competitors. The lunch as usual was of the highest quality and much appreciated by all. The first after-lunch speaker was Paul Grimwood, the Managing Director of Nestle Purina Petcare who informed us that the company was committed to supporting the breeder fraternity and thanked the Show Secretaries for hosting the heats of the competition.
He also thanked the Proplan Gold Club members and very kindly extended an invitation to all present to partake in a cup of coffee or glass of champagne on the Purina Proplan stand at this year’s Crufts. He was followed by Mike Townsend, a member of the Kennel Club General Committee and Chairman of the Kennel Club Charitable Trust who spoke on behalf of the guests thanking the hosts and sponsors. He then explained a little of the various activities and objectives of the KC Charitable Trust giving examples of current research projects, support dog programmes and work with rescue charities.
Kerry Williamson, the Managing Director of Dog World then took to the floor and began by saying that this event was an opportunity to get dressed up and enjoy the judging of the puppies in a glamorous setting. She thanked the sponsors, then thanked the judge Dr Monica Boggia-Black for doing such a good job; Anne Bliss for her usual sterling work as Chief Steward; Bernard Hall for giving the commentary and Mike Townsend for his kind comments.
Then followed the awarding of the trophies by Simon Parsons, Associate Editor of Dog World. First to be presented was the Catherine Sutton Memorial Trophy for the overall winner, given in memory of the woman who thought up the competition. Bernard Hall then informed us that Zena’s winning dog was the grandson of Drakesleat Simon Parsnips who was named in Simon’s honour!
The Ch Dialynne Gamble Memorial Trophy, given by Marion Spavin and family, was awarded to the runner-up, the American Cocker Spaniel, Afterglow Douglas Fashion. The Rossut Jasmine Memorial trophy was presented to Martyn and Margarita Ford, the breeders of last year’s winner.
The final presentation was that of the Tom Horner Award of Excellence, given each year to someone for outstanding achievement in the world of dogs. Kerry Williamson informed us that this year the choice was obvious and unanimous by all the judges and in some way almost prophetic.
In 2004, a kennel achieved its 100th Champion and the breeder in question was none other than Zena Thorn Andrews who was not only this year’s Finals winner but last year’s judge as well. Her Drakesleat kennels has produced an incredible 79 Miniature Wirehaired Dachshund Champions, 20 Irish Wolfhound Champions, one Greyhound and one Field Spaniel Champion. These and other Drakesleat CC winners won 600 CCs between them, the first of these being won in 1970 by an Irish Wolfhound. Drakesleat dogs have won a total of 42 Groups; what a wonderful achievement.
The event was closed by Joanna Nelstrop but not before she thanked everyone from the Purina and Dog World teams for their work throughout the year and presented gifts to Dr Monica Boggia-Black, Anne Bliss, Bernard Hall and Mike Townsend. There was a wonderful, warm atmosphere at the end of this lovely day as guests, handlers and dogs began to slowly disperse and make their way out of the Porter Tun Room into the hustle and bustle of central London.
It was not only a great pleasure but a great honour to be given the opportunity of judging the Pup of the Year final and I must first thank the sponsors Purina and Pam Blay and her team at Dog World.
The venue, the historic Porter Tun brewery lends itself perfectly to this event and given that the organisation was excellent without even the smallest detail being left to chance, you have a day to remember.
There were some lovely young dogs to go over and it was not easy to come up with a short list.
The winner was the Miniature Wire Dachshund - Zena Thorn-Andrews’ Drakesleat Otto Bahn, this lovely youngster stood out with his superb outline which he kept perfectly standing and moving.
He was superbly constructed and moved correctly from every angle, was totally unfazed by the occasion and throughout all the photo sessions afterwards. He had of course the added advantage of an excellent handler who gave him her complete attention throughout the judging.
The runner-up Afterglow Douglas Fashion owned by Billy Cannell and Rosemary Wilcock also had the advantage of a superb handler, his breeder Mike Gadsby. This was a very mature youngster in excellent coat and condition with a lovely body and topline, just flowed over the green carpet - looked a picture.
The day was brought to an enjoyable end with a splendid lunch and some extremely interesting and enlightening speeches by Paul Grimwood, Managing Director of Purina, and Mike Townsend, representing the Kennel Club.
Afterwards the awards were presented, the most important of which was the award of excellence, won this year by Zena Thorn Andrews who had made up and bred over 100 champions in a variety of breeds large and small, it is a record it will be almost impossible to equal.
My final thank you must be for the delightful crystal glasses given to me for judging which will always be a reminder of a most enjoyable and rewarding day.
Monica Boggia Black