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Affie tops Four Toy Breed Challenge

Toni TeaSdale and her famous Affenpinscher, Ch Tonsarne I Claudius won the top honours at the recent Four Toy Breeds Super Challenge, held at the Pine Lodge, Bromsgrove.

Once again, the challenge, hosted by the King Charles Spaniel Club, was a grand occasion. There were quizzes, a balloon competition, two super raffles, a fabulous cabaret and disco and other goings-on to keep all entertained. The Success of the event was, in the main due to Ron Stewart’s sterling organisational skills. The three breeds invited to join the King Charles were Affenpinschers, Papillons and Pugs.

As with all events of this nature, there would be no event if there were no sponsors. The main sponsor was Royal Canin, providing bags of dog food for every exhibit. Attired in dinner jackets for the event, Antony Bongiovanni and Gary Gray were on hand to give the prizes. The programme gave a full list of sponsors, including Harrods. If all this wasn’t enough, each exhibitor received a key ring featuring their breed.

Following the format of the last event, held two years ago, the challenge draw was held first. This honour fell to Jack and Linda Sidaway, who attended the last event and liked it so much that they made this one a definite date in their diary. The draw was divided into puppies and adults, though rather a long, yet straightforward process, some became somewhat confused as to how to fill in their draw cards. But, that done, it was on to unmasking the three judges. Ron, as compare for the introductions, read out a brief CV of the ‘name’, giving us all time to guess who was behind the closed door. Once revelled the ‘name’ come out into the open and was greeted to a round of applause and ‘ah, yes I thought it was from the audience. And what names they proved to be David Smith, Liz Stannard and Albert Wight!

With formalities over, the stage was set for the challenge proper, along with Howard Ogden taking on the role as commentator for the evening. The first pairing entered the ring and David Smith lead the way in the judging, Liz and Albert followed, the afternoon fell into the steady pattern of knock out judging. To keep everyone amused Ron had devised a small competition for the audience to hand in at the end of the day, with a suitable prize on offer - know your numbers ie 1666 = TGFOL, The Great Fire of London, I’m guessing!

Reading through the list of exhibitors it was apparent that the event had drawn some of the breeds’ top winners and up-and-coming youngsters, the afternoon was going to be one of hot competition, and indeed it proved to be so. It was interesting to see that the number of Affenpinschers far outshone the other breeds, including the hosts. Before the semi-final there was a mini competition for all those who were knocked out in the first round. Again, this was done on a knock out format but of six dogs, which came down to the Ros Brakes’ Affenpinscher, Ch Caralean Pipes and Drums and Kate Stewart’s KCS, Ch Marchog Marilla. With the winner being the Affenpinscher, the breed did rather well!

Now back to the main event. The first semi-final, between Claudius and Di Fry and Tracy Jackson’s KCS, Ch Amantra Character, was won by Claudius; and the second semi-final, Saffer and Swinge’s Pug, Ragemma lord Franklin at Balthazar and Mrs McEvnoy’s Affenpinscher, Balata Rite Bobby Dazzler, won by the Pug. Thus the final was between the Affenpinscher and the Pug. All three judges decided their final winner. And with a unanimous decision it was the Affenpinscher breed record holder, Ch Tonsarne I Claudius.

There was more, The Best Puppy in Challenge, won by Sue Stanbury’s Papillon, Inixia Wily Willum, in Sue’s absence shown by Emily Baker (KC).

The event wasn’t over, a quick change into evening wear and it was down to dinner and the evening’s entertainment. Were we in for a treat! After a sumptuous meal Sion Lloyd, Rita Lloyd’s son, gave us an astounding private concert of musical delights. Then it was the exhibitors turn to take to the floor, with Howard given the envious assignment of judging the funnies. Once again the music was provided by a member of the Lloyd family, this time cousin Jamie Morgan, he really had us on our toes. What a mover Albert Wight is!

At the tables were balloons, not as odd as it may seem, we were given the task of turning said balloons into award winning dogs! From the new ‘breeds’ developed on the night Barry Welham’s was judged BIS, I’m not sure what breed it was but it was jolly good. From the dance floor Penny McDonald won best mover, best brace Mia Sakins ... I’ll leave that to your imagination. Not a repeat from the last challenge, but still in the family, best presented was Di Fry’s daughter Marianne Esposito. A new award, the Calista Flockhart prize for best frock, won by the debonair Gary Turner, in possibly one of his own creations. The afternoon quiz was won on the tie-breaker of who could eat a tube of Smarties the fastest, top smartie for this was Mia, again.

There were two raffles one with a mixture of top class items, the other rather special. Cleaver artist Deirdre Ashsown had donated four signed pictures, one of each breed especially down for the event - Toni Teasdale, who seemed to do rather well at the event, won the Affenpinscher one!

The champions parade was well supported, in fact we were treated to a breed record holder, all in all the collective number of CCs on show was over a hundred.

There was so much more going on that suffice to say that the evening was once again a resounding success. Will there be a next challenge, yes of course, this is one event that should be on every toy enthusiasts’ calendar.

Rose Massey