The final line-up: the Saluki, Ch Baghdad Foreign Affair at Lokhandar,
and the Dobermann, Ch Swnydwr Crimestopper
Welsh Kennel Club Top Dog Competition was held for the twelfth
time at what is now regarded as ‘their’ venue,
the Metropole Hotel, Llandrindod Wells on November 29th
2003 writes Del Richards. Once again the event was sponsored
by Masterfoods and had unique Patsi-Ann sculptures commissioned
for the winners and runners-up.
Also included was the WKC Top Puppy Competition which was added to the event in 1995. Exhibitors were ‘clocked in’ by sub-committee team members Tegwyn Jones and Mervyn Evans, (while ably assisted by a host of WKC Committee members) then given this year’s souvenir gift of a dog towel in what can only be described as WKC green!
The judges were revealed to be the ‘all-breeds’ all-rounder Terry Thorn, (who judged this event at its inaugural stage back in 1991) and Hound specialist Denise Courtney (known to most as ‘the Bournemouth secretary’!).
The draw for the Puppy competition soon scheduled the 36 puppies present into two groups. Then another draw established that Mr Thorn would judge the first group of 18 down to his final before Mrs Courtney dealt similarly with the second group. The outright winner would then be chosen jointly by both judges.
Judging soon got under way under the amusing remarks of commentator, Glyn Griffiths and his PA Ann Hill, and it was apparent that many future stars strutted their stuff in the Puppy competition. Although the qualification for the contest asks for a Best Puppy in Breed win at a championship show or a BPIS at an Open show, many of these youngsters had some pretty impressive wins under their belts. The final four, (a pastoral walkover!) the Bouvier, Newfoundland, Lancashire Heeler and Briard were whittled down to just the Bouvier and Heeler before Mr Thorn gave the nod to the Bouvier, Alison Price’s Marquant Dani. This rising two year old bitch is only lightly shown as she comes from a late maturing line but has proven herself in being unbeaten in Puppy and Junior classes. Sired by a Dutch dog and out of Ch Kanix Camilla, herself a WKC Top Dog winner, Dani is from one of the first Pet Passport matings when this ruling came in.
second group, under Denise Courtney, was equally impressive
and had a varied number of breeds (though, as the luck of
the draw would have it, two pairs were of a same breed match
– the CKCS and the Boxers). The final four, the Griffon,
Norwich, Longhaired Dachshund and Boxer eventually ended
in a Toy and Working Group encounter with the Boxer, Sadie
Evans’ Advidicar Bold as Brass at Rocvilla topping
the second group. Sadie is a relatively new exhibitor and
this was her first time at this contest with ‘Obee’
a dark brindle 13month male bred by the ‘Advidicar’
Williams. ‘Obee’ has many Working Group 1st
wins and was BPIB at Windsor this year so this was an excellent
end to his puppy career.
Both judges then combined forces to decide the overall Top Puppy and declared Alison’s Price’s Bouvier the winner with the Boxer runner-up. Both finalists received a Patsi-Ann sculpture which, this year, was based on the Welsh legend of Princess Pennant Malenga.
According to folklore, the princess was out walking when a hare being hunted by the prince and his hounds took refuge under her skirt. The hounds saw this and stopped pursuing the hare. As a result the prince gave Malenga the valley and all the animals in it as a gift and subsequently a valley near Lake Vyrnwy was named after her.
After a break of an hour or so the ‘serious stuff’ started with the adult dogs taking centre stage. Again the quality was striking with twenty-seven of the thirty-nine exhibits having gained their titles and many of the others on two CCs. The Heeler, Weimaraner and one of the three Boxers entered had also taken part in the puppy competition.
In addition to the usual array of titles held by some of the exhibits it was interesting to see an Australian imported Saluki, a Dutch Champion Hamiltonstovare and a Swedish Champion Havanese as well as PAT dogs and those with working qualifications in their relevant field. It seems that show dogs are becoming more talented by the day!
The entry was split into two groups of 16 and 15 respectively and the first group was drawn to be judged by Denise Courtney. As with the puppies, there was a representative from all seven groups.
Mrs Courtney’s final four consisted of the Saluki, Siberian, Heeler and Dandie Dinmont. The final match between the Saluki and Heeler resulted in the Saluki, Ch Baghdad Foreign Affair at Lokhandar, triumphing under the handling skills of Steve Ham. Jointly owned by Ann Ham and K Hatfield, ‘JJ’s success is tinged with sadness. He was imported from Australia, together with his sister, by Francine Hatfield who wanted to combine his bloodlines with her own.
Once out of quarantine, JJ was used on a bitch and produced his first litter. Francine had meantime become ill and was unable to go to see this litter. Shortly afterwards she sadly died and bequeathed the two imports to Ann Ham.
year was the pinnacle for JJ and he was made up after a
period when it seemed that he would never get past the current
top dog in the breed. The top dog, of course, is Anne MacDonald’s
Ch Mabrooka Jayid who was sired by JJ and was one of the
puppies in that litter that Francine never got to see!
The second group, judged by Terry Thorn, was soon cut to the Newfoundland, Dobermann, Shih Tzu and Pekingese but with the final two being the Dobermann and Shih Tzu – both homebred champions. Final approval went to the four year old Dobermann, Ch Swnydwr Crimestopper owned by the Quigleys and Sue Day. Crimestopper is currently Top Dog in the breed and is also a qualifier for the Pedigree Champion Stakes Final next year. He has a group win plus several other championship group placings following winning 14 of his 21 CCs this year! He was last year’s Reserve Top Dog and is the sire of 2002’s Top Puppy so his owners had good reason to believe that this was a very ‘special’ dog. This young man also has a best friend who is a chicken and who shares food from his bowl. Let’s just hope he never learns to read and discover that the word ‘chicken’ often appears on dog food bags!
Both judges again worked together to decide the overall winner and it was decided to award this honour to JJ, the Saluki.
Very shortly it was time for all present to enjoy the meal and ‘talk dogs’ before WKC Chairman Trevor Evans delivered his speech to thank judges, sponsors, exhibitors and all who helped arrange the event. With only some letting down of hair needed to complete the evening, it was agreed that it had been yet another successful occasion and all hoped to be there again next year.