I completely understand, as Bo Bengtson said in his Crufts report yesterday, not being “into” the activities and presentations that happen in the big ring before the Groups are judged, but I have to say again that I sincerely love that fact that the British put, in my view, as much emphasis on the fun things people do with their dogs as on how closely the dogs conform to their breed standards. I’m not typically someone who says things are better elsewhere than they are in the United States; I’m fully aware that we’re the luckiest people on the planet to live where we do (except, perhaps, those who spend their lives on Caribbean islands in shorts, T-shirts and sandals – on the days they wear shoes).
But I do admire what seems like such a pure love for dogs that you see from those participating in all aspects of Crufts. In Friends for Life, Scrufts, heelwork to music, agility, flyball and all the rest, these are ordinary people having a terrific time with their dogs, their companions, for all the world to see. We’ll tell you more about some of that later. My very favorite part of all of this is that the very reliable live streaming on the Crufts website means, remarkably, that you can sit in your house here in the U.S. and watch all of these things, and Group judging too, right on your computer!
And that, again, is what we really want to know about, the Group judging. The two Groups on Friday were, for me, as exciting and as filled with beautiful dogs as the two on Thursday.
The Utility Group
The judge for day two’s Utility Group was Frank Kane, who is so well thought of as a judge around the world and who judged Best in Show last year at Crufts, where he awarded the ultimate prize to a dog from this Group, the Lhasa Apso Eng. Ch. Zentarr Elizabeth, bred, owned and handled by Margaret Anderson.
But he had a whole new set of dogs to examine this year, 24 winners from many of the breeds from the AKC Non-Sporting Group, but a few others as well: the Akita, Canaan Dog, Japanese Akita Inu, German Spitz Klein, German Spitz Mittel, Japanese Spitz, the Toy Poodle, the Miniature Schnauzer, the Standard Schnauzer (called simply “Schnauzer” in England) and the Shih Tzu are all in the Utility Group with what we think of as the usual Non-Sporting breeds.
After examining and moving all of the winners, Mr. Kane made a cut of nine. First in his cut was the Akita, Eng. Ch. Dykebar Revenge is Sweet at Stecal. Owned by mother and daughter Carol and Faye Bevis of the U.K. and handled by Faye, ‘Maddie’ was bred by William and Nicole Ritchie, and was the country’s top Akita last year. She is of English, Swedish and American breeding.
The striking cream Chow Chow ‘Nynne,’ Dk. Nor. Se. Fin. Klb. Int. Ch. Pei Fang Eyecatcher, was bred by Marianne and Brynjar Holmli of Norway and is owned and handled by Mette Maj of Denmark. She is from a long line of multi-titled Chows that have earned championships all over Europe and Scandinavia, and she was Chow Chow of the year in Denmark in 2012.
The Dalmatian, Eng. Ch. Offordale Chevalier JW, is owned and handled by Jenny Alexander of the U.K. Last year ‘Mr. Darcy’ was Reserve Show Dog of the Year in the Pets As Therapy competition, a charity that “provides therapeutic visits to hospitals, hospices, nursing and care homes, special needs schools and a variety of other venues.” Throughout the year, PAT stakes classes are held at KC General Championship shows and the winner of each stakes competes at Crufts for the title of PAT Show Dog of the Year.
The French Bulldog BOB winner is just 13 months old. Renaur New War Bonnet Glenlee won the CC and Best of Breed from the Limit class. He is owned by Gordon, Ellen and Brian Drummond, and handled by Gordon, and was bred in Latvia by Mila Ferbuko. ‘Chief’ won his first CC when he was just a puppy, and was the 2012 Reserve winner in the always highly anticipated Purina Pro Plan/Dog WorldPup of the Year final. This competition has been held for more than 40 years, and many Pup of the Year winners have gone on to become Top Dogs and Crufts Best in Show winners.
The German Spitz Klein is the smaller of the two German Spitz varieties, and Friday’s breed winner was another relative youngster, just 15 months old. Longsdale’s Willie Win is bred and owned by Gary Pearce and Dale Francis, and handled by Gary. ‘Willie’ was another puppy star, as he was the Our Dogs Top Puppy 2012 and won two CCs last year. It’s pretty rare for puppies to win CCs in the U.K., as they typically have to beat champions to do it!
Japanese Shiba Inu (just Shiba Inu, of course, in the U.S.) Eng. Ch. Vormund Norma Jean is bred by Liz Dunhill and is owned and handled by 13-year-old Michaella Dunhill-Hall. Michaella also handled ‘Norma’ to the breed win at Crufts last year, and they made the cut in the Group. They’ve had quite a successful career together already and will no doubt do much more.
Keeshond Neradmik Late Night Love is owner-handled by Victor Gatt of Malta. She was bred in the U.K. by Jean Sharpe-Bale, who has been breeding Keeshonden under the Neradmik prefix since 1975, has bred more than 28 English champions and has been top breeder in the U.K. numerous times.
Standard Poodle Dk. Se. Fi. Int. Ch. Abica’s Miles Ahead was the Top Dog of all breeds in Denmark in 2012. He’s got an international pedigree and an international team supporting him. His pedigree includes such American top winners as Am. Ch. Lake Cove That’s My Boy, a two-time Top Dog of all breeds here, andAm. Ch. Ale Kai Mikimoto On Fifth, a multiple Westminster Group winner and Number 1 Non-Sporting dog. ‘Miles’ was bred in Denmark by Marianne Nielsen, is owned by Kirsten Nielsen of Sweden and Kathy Arnold of the U.S., who bred and owned his sire, Am. Ch. Prestige I’ll Do Anything, and is owned and handled by Mikael Nilsson of Sweden.
And last but not least in the cut was Tibetan Terrier Eng. Ch. Kybo Pandarama, whose name fits her to a “t.” Black-and-white and just 18 months old, ‘Gabby’ is bred, owned and handled by David Roberts of the U.K., and is also owned by Mrs. J. Price and Miss F. Whitehead. Gabby’s brother won the dog CC on Friday, so it was a great day for Kybo Tibetan Terriers.
Frank Kane carefully assessed his Group winners, and his choice for first was Gabby, the Tibetan Terrier, making it a great day all the way around for British dogs and breeders. Second went to another British dog, Shiba Inu Norma and her 13-year-old owner-handler. Third was the Danish Standard Poodle, while fourth went to another local fellow, Dalmatian Mr. Darcy.
Just a couple of dogs are in the Toy Group in the U.K. that aren’t in ours, the most obvious one being the Bichon Frise. The Lowchen is also in this Group, as are the as-yet-unrecognized-in-the-U.S. Bolognese and Coton de Tulear. The British English Toy Terrier (Black and Tan) is somewhat akin to the American Toy Manchester Terrier, although I am fully aware that fanciers of both breeds might rebuke me for saying so. There are 23 breeds in the U.K. Toy Group.
Eleven breeds in this Group had entries over 100 on Friday. There were 381 Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, 273 Papillons, 272 Pugs (a high profile breed), 233 Long Coat Chihuahuas, 189 Chinese Cresteds, 175 Pomeranians, 132 Japanese Chins, 131 Smooth Coat Chihuahuas, 130 Bichons, 126 King Charles Spaniels (our English Toy Spaniel) and 123 Yorkies.
Another judge well thought of throughout the world was assigned this Group. Liz Cartledge has been a very successful breeder of Pembroke Welsh Corgis under the Ryslip prefix, but like so many of our best all-rounders has had experience with many breeds, including the Norfolks she bred with her late husband, Joe. She’s judged numerous Groups at Crufts as well as Best in Show.
I think we could see that she was quite pleased with her Toy breed winners, and she made a cut of eight: the Bichon, Crested, IG, King Charles Spaniel (or “Charlie,” as they’re called on their home turf), Papillon, Pom, Pug and Yorkie.
Bichon Frise Eng. Ir. Ch. Ashmair Double Act is Irish-bred, owned and handled by Ashling Connolly of Dublin. ‘Beau’ is a multiple Group and BIS winner in Ireland and represented his country at the Eukanuba World Challenge in Florida in 2012.
Chinese Crested Eng. Ch. Debrita Diaz is bred and owned in England by Tina and Dawn Dixon, and is handled by Dawn. ‘Mia’ was the top-winning puppy of all breeds in 2011 and the Number 1 Crested in the U.K. in 2012, having won 24 CCs in her career. She is just 2 years old, and is of all English breeding for quite a few generations.
Also making Mrs. Cartledge’s cut, Italian Greyhound Eng. Ch. Dalinset Sarastro was also Number 1 in his breed last year. Dalinset was the top IG kennel in the U.K. in both 2008 and 2009. ‘Enzo’ won the Reserve CC at Crufts last year and then moved up to win the breed this year. He’s won 20 CCs and is bred and owned by Russell, David and Linda Hodges, and handled by Russell.
Charlie Eng. Ch. Maibee Theo is owned by William Moffat and Joyce Robins and handled by Tanya Ireland. His breeder, Shealagh Waters, who passed away in 2011, was well thought of for her Maibee Cavaliers and Charlies. Theo was also bred by Joyce Banks.
U.K.-Papillon Eng. Ch. Am. GCh. Lafford Fly Me Too Farleysbane JW was the top Pap in England in 2010, then came to America with Sharon Newcomb to earn his title and be shown here. He was Best of Breed and Group Fourth at Crufts last year, handled by Sharon, and also BOB at Westminster 2012. ‘Dave’ was bred by Carol Lees and is owned by Sharon and her daughter, Elyse Vandermolen.
Another Irish contender, Pom Ir. Ch. Belliver Unexpected Target is owned by James Newman and Eleanor Terry and handled by Sean Carroll, who bred him with Mr. Newman. ‘Fergal’ is just 18 months old, and with this win he takes home his very first CC. What a way to do it!
Bob and Kim Topliss own Pug Kymclara Takota Joe and daughter Clare handles him. The Topliss family bred Staffordshire Bull Terriers with success beginning in the 1990s and have been breeding Pugs for about five years. ‘Joe’ is not yet 2 years old and has already won several CCs.
Yorkie Ch. Royal Precious JP’s F4 Juliana is said to have so many champion titles that the Crufts announcers couldn’t get to them all, among them Portuguese, Japanese, English and International titles. ‘Julie’ was in fact the first Yorkie from Japan to earn a U.K. champion title, and she is owned by her breeder, Yoshiko Obana, and handled by Sergio Amien.
In the end, it was the Charlie first, the only one of his breed to ever have won a Group at Crufts. Second went to the IG, third to the enthusiastic little Pom and fourth to the dynamic Yorkie bitch. The crowd seemed delighted with the winners.
Be sure to read Bo Bengtson’s report on Friday’s judging, direct from Birmingham. We’ll be back tomorrow with more from Crufts day three.