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South Wales Open Show Dog Of The Year 2006

The Officers and Committee of South Wales Kennel Association have had a difficult year having lost their showground earlier this year to the unforgiving weather. It will be no surprise that after having to find a replacement venue for this prestigious event, the rain was not far behind; although this did not dampen the spirit of the occasion.

South Wales Dog of the YearThe event was organised by Bridget Croucher and a lot of effort and hard work went into making it a success.

One would assume that the qualifiers were all from Wales, but not so. The qualification for this event is to have won BIS or RBIS at an open show in Wales, and some of the qualifiers travelled a considerable distance to compete for the title. There were qualifiers from Birmingham, Somerset, Gloucester and Hampshire which tells of the high regard in which this event is held.

The main sponsor was Pedigree and it was good to see Phil Davies there representing them. Each qualifier was given a commemorative mug decorated with daffodils and the SWKA logo, courtesy of Pedigree and although we don’t always say it, we really do appreciate what they do for the world of show dogs, long may their association with these prestigious events continue.
The judges this year were the well known and eminently respected Mrs Meriel Hathaway and Mr Keith Nathan.

First of all the draw was held to decide in which order the exhibits would compete and the announcements were made by commentator Mr Ken Andrew, ably assisted by the association’s secretary, Mrs Isobel Dyke.

The dogs were assembled by the collecting ring steward Stewart Roberts; each exhibit was brought in one by one to do a lap of honour for the crowd and the qualifiers were awarded their gift as they exited ring; then the main competition began under the watchful eye of ring stewards Richard Morris and Rob McLeod who is also the association treasurer.

It was conducted on a knock out basis and the first half of the dogs in round 1 were judged by Mrs Hathaway who looked so elegant and cheerful in her fuchsia coloured suit.

The second half of the draw was judged by Mr Nathan, who then went on to judge the first half of round 2, and Mrs Hathaway continued with round 2 and began the round 3 selections. This way each judge assessed the others dogs in the subsequent round.

The winner of the top half of the draw was the Saluki, Ch Baghdad Foreign Affair of Lokhandar (Imp) owned by Mrs Ham and Mr Hadfield and he had qualified at the Hound Club Show of Wales.
The second half was topped by Mrs Garratt’s Japanese Shiba Inu, Ch Evilicious Terroisin At Rivaz who had qualified at Pontardulais.

It was a joint selection from both Mrs Hathaway and Mr Nathan as to who should carry the top spot honours and they agreed the winner of the South Wales Open Shows Dog Of The Year 2006 was the Saluki, Ch Baghdad Foreign Affair of Lokhandar (Imp). This dog carried the exhibit number 13, so who said ‘unlucky 13’?

The special rosettes were donated by Mrs Olive Thomas and presented to the handlers, and the lovely crystal Ronfil Bowl was presented to the overall winner.

The dogs took a lap of honour to great applause and the thanks were given to the judges and sponsors, as well as the people from the association who had worked so hard to make the event run so smoothly.

A wonderful buffet was then set out and time to relax and enjoy some food, wine and good company. The Show Manager was Gordon Rual and he had done a terrific job under unprecedented circumstances.

The rain stopped in time for everyone to leave and let’s hope that was the last of the rain to affect SWKA for a long time to come.

Diana Rich