The judge’s report
Pup of the Year final 2007
I must begin by expressing my appreciation to Purina and Dog World for extending the invitation to me to judge the 2007 POTY Final.
This competition is firmly established as one the THE showcase events in the British dog show calendar and of course there are heats at some 31 Ch shows throughout the year. I know it is the ambition of many even just to qualify – and to all those who competed here and especially those who did not make the first cut - I believe you can take enormous credit for the achievement of having a dog or bitch which has proven itself good enough to win a deserved place in the final against outstandingly strong opposition.
This event has previously been won by a number of quality dogs which have gone on to feature well in the ensuing all breed Ch show competitions and all but a few gained their British title.
I can honestly say that the 2007 finalists provided me with some truly outstanding examples of the best of British dogdom and I feel really lucky to have had such an array of quality to judge. Young animals worthy of upholding the jealously guarded British tradition of still being able to produce some of the finest stock in the world. And whilst our clever British breeders continue to show the talent to keep producing dogs of this calibre we will never be short of eager buyers from all parts of the world.
My thanks must go the Heat Judges who clearly did an outstanding job to send forward this impressive line up which I feel sure the very knowledgeable ringside audience enjoyed seeing as much as I enjoyed judging.
One of the major changes of recent times has been the increasing influence of imported stock and whilst I’m not going to pretend everything imported is good, the clever, dedicated & unprejudiced breeders and exhibitors have, in many cases. wisely used these lines to good effect and to the overall benefit of the British gene pool. As examples, the winner of the competition is by an American imported Ch and the runner up is by a Swedish Ch.
All the dogs and bitches I short listed are, I feel, class examples of their breed and I would expect to see them prominently feature in their breed and hopefully Group rings in the coming months and perhaps years. They truly were a joy to judge and even to make the short list was an outstanding achievement.
Regrettably the Samoyed was found to be favouring a leg prior to judging and her owner wisely withdrew her which must have been a huge disappoint to her connections.
My initial short list was to be 10 but my first mental tally gave me 13!! – the Min. Smooth Dachshund, the Pyrenean Mountain Dog and the Briard being the three who were just eclipsed and no more. And I must just mention the real baby of the day, the quite lovely English Setter Mariglen Francesca Fenston. This one has a fabulous headpiece, the most soul searching and kindliest of expressions and that non stop tail action showing how much she was enjoying herself.
I said in my post luncheon speech that any of the final 10 could have laid a legitimate claim to the title POTY 2007 and it was wonderful to hear so many people later agreeing that that line up of 10 was truly exciting. Oozing quality and just a joy to see.
They included the delicious but naughty Norfolk Ch. Belleville Sweetheart, the superbly boned intensely thoughtful looking Clumber Vanitonia U Bet I Am, the upstanding Akita Redwitch Kerching, another super young Pekingese from the Easdon & Martin kennel Yakee You Do Something for Me, a delicious Welsh Terrier with a stunning headpiece Judy Averis’ Saredon Diamonds R Forever, and the ultra smart extrovert Australian terrier co-owned by Sue McCourt & Sheila Eardley, Silhill Tufty with Sherex.
The Norfolk is already crowned but I fell certain that each of the above will also have a hugely successful year and will all become titleholders. But such was the competition that they had to leave just four to battle it out for the top spot.
Finally I opted for the charms and sheer look of quality of the beagle Serena Parker & Graham Steven’s Ch. Serenaker Deil in Disguise. I awarded him the RCC at WKC and as I expected he has filled out and come on since then. He just spells a top quality beagle, a great advertisement for the breed and his front assembly and action are quite awesome. He was immaculately presented, he never put a foot wrong whether stacked or on the move and I felt he was a very worthy winner of this coveted title.
He was chased home by three other gorgeous youngsters, the already titled Chow owned by Rodney Oldham, Ch. Towmena in The Frame has already made a big name for himself and he is a delight to go over. A top quality dog, not quite back in full coat but looking every inch a Champion male with many more successes to follow. There was also a quite gorgeous beardie bitch Potterdale Star of Peebles, owned by Michael Johnston and bred of course by Mike & Janet Lewis. This lovely bitch was immaculately prepared, her shape is stunning and her action is precisely what I would hope to see in this breed, smooth, effortless and totally balanced. I liked her heaps. And finally the runner up a truly scrumptious English Springer Rosannoch Berkano handled by owner/breeder Edith Rose. This one gave me goose bumps, totally bewitching , gorgeous head and an expression to gladden any heart, so well constructed, her front is stunning and her side action, (when she decided not to do her Come Dancing routine) was quite outstanding and a joy to see. It had the rhythm and precision of a steam locomotive piston and was just as smooth.
From what I have seen, the British pedigree show scene is in a very healthy state the future may not be orange but it is decidedly rosy and very , very exciting.
Finally thank you Purina for a most memorable trip, the attention to detail, excellent PR and to misquote a High Society line, you gave us a swell-egant, elegant party which was enjoyed by all.