25th Anniversary Breed Championship Show
Best in show Mr D & Mrs M Tswei’s bitch Choroschie Drusja's Vooodoo Girl
The Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier Club of Great Britain had a weekend of double celebrations in September writes Gail Storie
The reason for the first part of the double was the 50th anniversary of the founding of the club. It had been hoped that the weekend would attract a number of overseas exhibits, however disappointingly but perhaps not unexpectedly given the fact that despite what the BBC says there are places in the UK which are further than 72 miles from the coast and therefore ports;
also given that the three ‘local’ airports do not accept Pet Passport dogs; only 2 entered, 1 from Ireland and 1 from Sweden. There were a few more overseas spectators including some from Australia.
The celebratory weekend began with a barbecue at the Quality Hotel, Warwick, on Friday 2nd September, and the following day it was over to Stoneleigh for the City of Birmingham Championship Show.
Judge Margaret House (Glendowan) Club President and Committee member gave CC’s in the breed for the 13th time, her first being at the LKA in 1983. BOB and her 2nd CC went to Ben Hanney’s Snowmeadow Erinella), and a 20th CC for Chris and Gary Patterson’s Ch Amberstar Paperback Writer (Ire & GB Ch Snowmeadow Feebee Friday). At only his 2nd championship show Daniel Tswei homebred Ellora the Evangelist (Ballinvounig Chances Are x Choroschie Drusja’s Voodoo Girl) who won the reserve dog CC and Best Puppy.
In the evening a celebration dinner was held back at the Quality Hotel and this was well attended with IKC President Sean Delmar giving the toast. As usual he charmed everyone!
The first breed championship show was held on the 11th October 1981 at Baginton Village Hall, Baginton, Warwickshire, a venue the club has long since outgrown. It was also the first time I saw the breed in the flesh so to speak.
At that time there was a 2 year waiting list for a puppy, something which I think undoubtedly resulted in very few re-homings. However, as is always the case there were some breeders who sold their pups without going through the club and I was fortunate to get one of these, collecting him on 22 November the same year. The first Wheaten I met at the show knocked me to the ground, I was hooked! Their exuberance so resembled that of my beloved late Boxer, I currently have 3 at home.
The show was judged by the eminent terrier specialist Mr Tom Horner, who coincidently was the judge who made up my first champion in 1990. The judge for this show is usually voted on by the regular show goers and announced at the AGM. To date we have had 9 breed specialists as judges (2 in 2000, one of each sex). The first of the breed specialists to judge the show was the American born but at the time UK resident Mrs Jean Muller of the Piperslanding Wheatens in 1985.
Two more ‘overseas’ judges have officiated at the show, British born International Terrier specialist Mr Colin Smith who resides in Finland in 1987 and German breed specialist Mrs Margaret Moller-Seiber of the famous Wheaten-Rebels in 2001.
The first Wheaten to win Best in Show is also the oldest one to do so to date, it was Eileen Boak (Bacanti) Ch Finchwood Fancy Free of Bacanti (Ch Finchwood Wellington x Ch Finchwood Irish Mist). She was bred by the late Mrs E Burgess and was 8 years old at the time. Ch Piperslanding Oh Johnny (Ch Clonhill Caesar x Finchwood Silver Lining of Piperslanding) owned and bred by Jean and Bob Muller was BOS. Looking at photos of him then he would not look out of place in today’s breed ring. It was interesting to read Mr Horner’s critique of the show and in particular his opening remarks. He mentioned that one exhibit was obviously over trimmed but felt that several could have been better presented to look more tidy. Coat colour was also mentioned.
The most successful dog at this show is the CC record holder Sandy Tanners Ire & GB Ch Stevelyn Blue Suede Shoes of Kariskiye (Ch Andover in Carhoots with Plumhollow x Ch Clondaw Jill from up the Hill at Stevelyn), winning 4 CC’s in 1993, 94, 96 & 98, 3 BIS in 1993, 96 & 98 and 1 RCC in 1995. Next comes Chris and Gary Patterson’s Ch Amberstar Paperback Writer (Ire & GB Ch Snowmeadow Blue Baroo x Ch Glendowan Starlite Express) with 2 CC’s and 2 BIS in 2003 and 04.
Then there is the youngest CC and BIS winner Brian Chadwick’s Hoehill Clonakilty Cluff (Plumhollow Crackerjack x Maddalo Golden Elegance) who also won 2 CC’s and 2 BIS in 1982 and 84. Sylvia and Peter Tuckers Ch Seamar Sparkling Star of Pindarique (Celtic Celwyn de la Richesse x Dawnwinds Downright Delight) was the first and do date, only non Irish of GB bred dog to win a CC at this show. He won in 1987 and 1988, the latter where he became a champion, one of 4 dogs to do so at this show (2 of each sex). Finally the Galloway’s Ch Montgomery Smackwater Jack (Ch Dungarvan Buchan O’ Farrellx Braemullin Northern Belle) was BIS in 1997, BPIS in 1992 and won 2 RCC in 1996 and 98.
No bitch has won more than 1 CC at this show, and only 1, the Williams Eridanus Lottie (Plumhollow Razzmatazz x Ch Eridanus Lady in Red) has won more than 1 RCC. She won 2 the years being 1995 and 97. 3 males have won 2 RCC’s at the show the aforementioned Ch Montgomery Smackwater Jack, Dave Croxfords Ch Stapledene Deputy Dawg (Bacanti Best Intention x Fifehead Charlotte) in 1984 and 85, and Bev Hanna’s Frontline Crusader (Starcadia Tailspin x Kilcleagh Goldcrest in the Frontline) in 2000 and 01.
Only 1 Wheaten bred in Ireland/overseas has won a CC to date, this being Anita Omitogun and Linda Mattis Kilcleagh Goldcrest in the Frontline (Claybrook Mystic Man x Kilcleagh Deirdre) in 1997. 3 Irish bred bitches have won a RCC at this show the first one being the subsequently first Irish bred British Champion (made by Tom Horner in 1990) my Ch Kilceagh the Pippin JW (Ire Ch Roisins Morgan Hadiya x Juno at Carraighmhor). She is also the first Irish/overseas dog to win Best Veteran in Show. This was in 1994 under breed specialist Margaret House.
To date undocked Wheatens have not had much success at this show, only 1 has won a CC, this being Marjory Taylor's Ch Glendowan Starlite Express of Amberstar (Ch Brosings PS I’m a Traveller to Glendowan x Glendowan Aspects O’Love) in 2000, she also became a champion on th day.
Another has won a RCC, Lyn and Ian Carter’s homebred Chloeanco Winter Jasmine (Willsbridge Caber Capers x Bacanti Bundoran Chloe) in 2002.
I have already mentioned the oldest BCC and BIS winner, the youngest BCC winner is Eileen Boaks homebred Bacanti By Golly Miss Molly (Ch Caidantes Dream Come True at Calvenace x Bacanti Bring on Becky) in 2003 at just over 2 years old. The oldest DCC and BIS winner was Steve Howe’s homebred Ch Stevelyn Tutti Fruitti) in 2001 aged 7.
Four dogs gained their titles at the show, Ch Seamar Sparkling Star of Pindarique, Chris and Barbara Penney’s Ch Stevelyn Blue Christmas (Ch Seamar Sparkling Star of Pindarique x Ch Clondaw Jill from up the Hill at Stevelyn) in 1990, John Allen’s Ch Stevelyn Big Boss Man (Ch Brosings PS I’m a Traveller to Glendowan x Ch Stevelyn Tutti Fruitti) in 1999 and Ch Glendowan Starlite Express of Amberstar.
In 1992 an over 10 years old veteran class was scheduled for the first time. It proved to be a very emotional day for me as my 11 year old first Wheaten Calum - Maddalo Come Again (Ch Clonhill Caesar x Maddalo Ela Mana Mou) won. Just after the 1984 championship show he collapsed and was diagnosed as having Leukaemia. Oral chemotherapy, candles, Holy Water and prayers pulled him through. He had to have weekly blood tests for months and got so used to them that he held up his paw for the vet. He was on medication for the rest of his life.
The most successful breeder/owner at the show to date has been Steve Howe with his Stevelyns/Sunnidayze. Dogs owned or bred by him have been BIS 10 times, have won 13 CC’s and 4 RCC’s.
The 25th Anniversary Show
The 25th Anniversary Show was held in the ground of the Quality Hotel and it turned out to be the hottest September day on record.
All exhibitors who had entered the first show had been invited and those who did attend wore a silver ribbon. The cover of the catalogue featured the first BIS winner which was a most fitting tribute.
The judge for the day was all rounder Mrs Zena Thorn-Andrews who was giving CC’s in the breed for the 8th time, the first being at Bournemouth in 1989. She had drawn a huge entry of 149 with an additional 30 plus being entered NFC.
Even with such limited overseas entry one could not help but wonder if there would be an overseas flavour to the major awards.
Daniel Tswei had a wonderful day making breed history with his 5 year old German import Choroschie Drusja’s Voodoo Girl (Erainn Madara Flann Foster x Wheaten Rebels Larissa) winning her first CC and then going BIS, the first time an overseas bred dog has achieved this at a breed championship show.
Dog CC, his 3rd and what a day to win it, and RBIS went to Debbie Evans 7 year old Ire Ch Kellynack Chynora avec Hobel (Ire Ch Timbey Topeka O’Kellynack x Corrlough Xanthe). It was a 2nd reserve bitch CC for Maria Rigby’s homebred Bargehouse Blossom Dearie (Am & GB Ch Bonney Sunswept Sage x Abiqua Wild Phoenix for Bargehouse) who was most expertly and stylishly handled by the days junior handling judge Miss Aurora Lovison from Italy. Aurora was Italian Junior Handling Champion for 4 consecutive years between 2001-2004 and the European Junior Handling Champion in 2002. Daniel Tsweu completed a most memorable day for himself and his delightful daughters being awarded reserve dog CC for the 2nd show running, and then taking BPIS with his homebred Ellora the Evangelist. Best Veteran in Show went to Maureen and John Whiteheads 9 year old Finchwood special style (Ch Berkely Brockbuster x Whitevale Which Witch).
For the first time, with the exception of the Special Beginners class, special classes were scheduled. The judge for these was the wife of the IKC President, Mrs Cathy Delmar (Shillelagh) who is herself a very experienced and respected judge.
The Special Beginners Class in memory of Betty Burgess (Finch wood) who did so much to establish the breed in the UK was won by Nicola Owen and Darrly Hatfields Loofahsa Dizzee Rascal (Ch Starcadia Razzle Dazzle x Ch Frontline Crusader to Kinaelan x Brockholme Feirin to Kinaelan). The winner of the bitch class and overall best heritage exhibit was Margaret Houses homebred Glendowan Shanntia). The winner of the champions class was Sue and Stan Munns homebred Ire & GB Ch Snowmeadow Feebee Friday (Glendowan I’m a Rambler x Ire & GB Ch Snowmeadow Daisy Dazzler).
In addition to the club championship show two open shows are held annually. To date only 2 dogs have been BIS at all three. The first dog was Ch Plumhollow Seamus O’Flynn of Aminite (Linksdale Peak - a Boo x Plumhollow Kiss Me Kate) bred by Mrs Jo Hanton and owned by Mrs Jan Crampton who is now a successful breeder and exhibitor of Tibetan Terriers. The second was Ch Montgomery Smackwater Jack JW (Ch Dungarvan Buchan O’Farrell x Braemullin Northern Belle) who was bred and owned by Jack and Carla Galloway and handled by John Storie. He was actually BIS at the open show south on 3 consecutive years.
So 25 years on has the breed come full circle again, with less extreme trimming than has been seen? It has to be noted that the very first BIS winner at the breed championship show wouldn’t look that out of place in the show ring 25 years on. Sadly not with regard to colour. Her stunning and correct colour which was the norm 25 years ago is in such a minority these days that she would like quite out of place, such a pity. Rather ironic as the late Tom Horner commented on the lack of depth in colour in the breed at the first championship show. What would he think now?
Twenty-five years ago I fell in love with these bouncy shaggy golden dogs who just happened to be pedigree. Long may they continue to thrive as such.