It’s likely that most people who are sentimental about their breeds feel that the gathering of the clan, so to speak, each year at their National Specialty is a unique and special time, which is no doubt true. Many probably also feel that their parent club show itself is so well done and the entry is of such quality that just being there is a rare opportunity to be treasured. That is exactly how I see Poodle Club of America, and the many visitors who come from other breeds – and indeed from all over the world – each year bear out my feelings about PCA.
Poodle Club of America is a National Specialty that stays in the same location each year, and that continuity allows the many members who contribute to its success to improve on the show each and every year. One thing that makes PCA so unique is that, since the show moved indoors back in 1995, the club has “brought the outdoors in” to the two venues where PCA has been held. The entire show arena, now in the spacious Wicomico Center in Salisbury, Md., is covered in lush beautiful green grass, and each year one of our very talented members brings in trees, shrubbery and/or a plethora of flowers and other flora to drape the rings and tables in the manner our breed deserves.
This year Brad Odagiri, our member from Hawaii, was in charge of the floral arrangements and ring design, and his choices perfectly suited the 2013 “Poodles in Paradise” theme. The rings and tables were adorned with huge arrangements of anthuriums, mostly in a mixture of shades of red combined with green foliage, although at least one huge collection was a dramatic solid green. I think it was a risk to choose such an unusual plant, but it paid off, as it was truly gorgeous.
But it’s the dogs itself that I want to write about! This year there was class after class of Poodles from which I could easily have selected more than one to take home with me. Even the most seasoned veterans of the breed, one in particular who judges all over the country each weekend, commented that the entry in all three varieties this year was of unusually high quality.
Let’s start with Toy Poodles. Although Toshi Omura’s Japanese Smash Toys have dominated the variety at PCA for nearly a decade, winning not just Best of Variety every year but often also taking home Winners in at least one sex as well as other class wins, that is not a real indication of what is happening in Toys in the United States. Several kennels are regularly producing dogs that could win both Winners and Best of Variety at PCA, and although I commend Toshi for his amazing talent and greatly admire the Smash dogs, there have been Toys from Sharbelle, Baliwick, Foxmore, Dassin, Apex, Makays and Lorwin and others that are of equal quality. Several kennels that are traditionally more involved in Miniatures – Clarion and Kiyara among them – are also producing beautiful, typey Toys these days, and it is a pleasure to see them in the ring.
Indeed, Winners Dog and Best of Winners this year under judge Doris Cozart, who bred primarily black Toys under the Cotian prefix, was a black from the 12-18 Months class, Baliwick Behold and Believe. Ianthe Bloomquist has bred under the Baliwick prefix since well before I became involved in Poodles back in the mid-1980s, and the kennel has seen quite a resurgence over the past decade or so. This young dog is co-owned by Mark Waldrop and handled by Chelsay Paul-Grubb.
I must say that selecting Winners Dog from among the class winners, selected from 29 males in Toys, could not have been easy. Truthfully any one of four or five dogs could easily have been the victor. Reserve Winners Dog was a gorgeous puppy from the 9-12 Puppy class, Debrock’s N Midori’s Billable Assets. Bred by Mark and Christine Waldrop, and owned by Kim Cowie and Mark Waldrop, this young dog, like the Winners Dog, was of exquisite type, in-size and gorgeous on the go-around.
Winners Bitch, from 58 total bitches, came from the Open class and, like the three above, was also black. (Don’t think for a moment that Mrs. Cozart had an unfair prejudice for blacks, as many whites also placed well in the classes, and the blacks that won were so deserving.) Smash JP GB is, as her name suggests, from a British dam, from the Vanitonia line, out of a Japanese Smash sire. She is bred and owned by Toshi Omura and was handled by Toshi’s assistant, Yasu. Reserve WB, from 9-12 Puppy, could just as easily have been the winner. Baliwick Bit of Class is bred and owned by Mrs. Bloomquist, co-bred by Barbara Conley (who also has bred Toys for decades) and handled by Kirk Herrmann.
The Best of Variety class of 36 specials was truly a sight to behold. The eventual winner is one that was also BOV here last year. GCh. Smash JP Sakura is a name you often see in Fancy That, as she is the current Number 3 Toy, has won many Group and Best in Show awards and was also among the country’s top Toys in 2012. Handled by Kaz Hosaka, she is owned by Ron Scott and Debbie Burke, and bred by Toshi.
Best of Opposite Sex went to another black, this one from Texas. Kadie Bonds bred, owns and handled GCh. Makays Cowboy Tough. He is co-bred by Donna Schuchart and Diane McCann, and co-owned by Tawna Bobst and Mickey Kern, who have both been involved in Toys for many years. Kadie has done a terrific job of breeding in-size Toys of lovely type, and this win was well-deserved.
Select Dog is bred and owned by a duo we more often associate with Standards. Kay Palade Peiser and Ginny Dorris bred GCh. Kaylen’s Oh Really, a black in puppy trim that is first generation Kaylen-bred. Obviously this youngster has done quite well, as he finished and earned this award in puppy trim! Select Bitch has been shown very, very selectively and won her first all-breed Best in Show (as reported in Fancy That) just a few weeks ago. Ch. Sharbelle Silhouette is owner-handled by Janet Lange Moses, co-owned by Jimmy Moses, and bred by Ray and Sharon Stevens.
Judging Miniature Poodles was a gentleman who will not be as well-known in the all-breed arena as among Poodle fanciers. Scott Wolfe returned to the Poodle world about five years ago after an absence of a decade. During the height of his success, Scott breeder/owner-handled the black Miniature, Ch. Pin Oak Notorious, to Best of Variety at both PCA and the regional, in 1990. He is an exceptional dog man, and we are fortunate that he’s come back to the fold.
In dogs, Scott’s ultimate winner, and eventual Best of Winners, came from the Bred-by-Exhibitor class. Clarion Camelot Convergence is bred, owned and handled by Katherine Kennedy-Vigil, co-bred by Katherine’s mother, Ann, and Mary Ellen Fishler, and co-owned by Deann Winslager and Ann. A look at the rest of the winners this year reveals that Ann and Katherine’s Clarion kennel name is stamped on a large majority of those that were rewarded, and Clarion has done well at PCA for the past number of years. Mary Ellen Fishler’s Camelot prefix, once world-famous for white Toys, is now often seen on winners in black and white in the Miniature ring.
Reserve WD, Bonny Datema’s Tulip Gardens Double Trouble, was also from BBE and was in puppy trim. Bonny is an integral part of the Dassin-Ale Kai-On Fifth team headed by Joseph Vergnetti, Wendell Sammet and Karen LeFrak, and this little black dog goes back to, among others, Dassin Miniature breeding.
Winners Bitch also came from Bred-by. Michael Parks is a young man I knew in Texas for many years when he worked for both Betty Brown and Brenda Elmer as an assistant. He’s now breeding and showing his own dogs, obviously with great success. His black puppy bitch, Mipar Rebellious, is from homebred sire and dam, and he tells me that the pedigree goes back to Ch. Parade Kiss and Tell and Harry Sommer’s Winrock pedigrees, which will be familiar to the most hard-core admirers of black Minis, especially in the South, as Harry bred and showed his dogs in Louisiana and Texas during his most active years. Harry’s most successful dogs were based on Ch. Penchant Paladin and Danique, which went back to Surrey and others. It is interesting to note that in the 1990s Harry very successfully used Ch. Pin Oak Notoriety, bred by Scott Wolfe.
Reserve WB was the Open Bitch, handled by Kaz Hosaka for breeder/owners Ann Kennedy and Katherine Kennedy-Vigil. The blue Clarion Arcadia in continental trim, co-bred by Rick Beauchamp, is of a similar pedigree to Winners Dog.
Best of Variety in Minis from 31 entered was white, but based on her beautiful face, correct type and lovely use around the ring should have surprised no one as the winner. Leslie Simis handled GCh. Durandel Bella Donna to the win. Although she is bred and owned by Rene Wanger, this multiple Group winner is of Leslie’s Durandel breeding combined with a bit of Avalon, which is Brian Cordova’s now inactive kennel.
Best of Opposite went to last year’s Winners Dog, Ch. Karadale Clarion Born This Way (again Clarion!). Bred and owned by Katherine Vigil, he is co-bred by J. Haggett, M. Watson, S. Dulski and P. Rellihan, owned by Karin Berlind and Ann Kennedy, and handled by Dan Giles. Dan handled the BOV winner in 2009, 2010 and 2012, Best of Breed in 2009, Ch. Campostela The Perfect Storm, and I believe was a favorite to win again this year with the new dog. Dan and Karin Berlind have successfully combined their Miniature Poodle lines with Clarion over the past few years.
Both Selects in Minis happen to have been black. The dog was GCh. Jaboas Second to None, bred, owned and handled by Bobbi Thomas. Select Bitch, from Canada, was Ch. Bellefleet’s Living in the Fast Lane, sired by a Clarion dog, bred by Sally Jordan, owned by William Lee and Alysia Reichertz, and handled by Chrystal Murray.
Last, but in no way least, Standard Poodle judging is always exciting. Jim Reynolds of Canada did the honors in the most popular variety and drew 85 dogs, 152 bitches and 52 specials.
Winners Dog and BOW from Open was a dog bred in England by Michael Gadsby and Jason Lynn, who co-own him with John and Sandra Stone. Afterglow Maverick Sabre was, I believe, top Utility dog in the U.K. last year. He was handled by Allison Foley to this win. Allison also handled his sire ‘Dino,’ Ch. Del Zarzoso Salvame From Afterglow, to Group First at AKC/Eukanuba last year. Dino was Number 1 Utility dog and Number 3 all breeds in England in 2011 and is now a multiple BIS winner in the U.S., currently being campaigned by Amy Rutherford.
Reserve WD from 9-to-12 was Dawin Reigate Fire Away, bred in Canada by Linda Campbell, who owns him with Suzanne Loblaw. This young black dog is handled by Jenna Lostale. His dam, Ch. Dawin Spitfire, was America’s Number 1 Non-Sporting dog in 2010, handled by Sarah Reidl-Perchick for Linda.
Winners Bitch came from a huge 9-12 Puppy class. Gala Brighton Lakeridge Reflections of Me is bred by Allison Cowie, Alan Waterman and D.E. Algelo, owned by L’Dyne Brennan and Debra Ferguson-Jones, and handled by Kaz Hosaka. The black puppy is a daughter of the English dog Ch. Magin Driving Me Crazy out of last year’s PCA Best of Breed winner, Ch. Alaman’s It’s All About Me. Wow! What a legacy this bitch is leaving.
Reserve WB came from the Open class, and is bred and owned in Peru. Ricmart Live Now Pay Later is owned by Ilaria Biondi De Ciabatti and handled by Konstandinos Pavlopoulos. This white bitch has been a top winner in South America.
This year’s Best of Variety winner, who went on to a thrilling Best of Breed win, was the black dog Ch. Aleph American Idol, BOS last year and Reserve Winners Dog and Best Bred-by-Exhibitor at PCA 2009 under Donald Sturz. ‘Simon’ is now handled by Charlotte Sandell of Sweden, and is owned by Betty Brown, who bred him, and Paula Morgan. He was co-bred by Jacquelyn Cohen. Simon has had a really terrific career. He was Reserve BIS at the 2012 World Dog Show and has literally won Best in Show and specialty awards around the world with Lotta. It was terrific to watch them win Best in Show at PCA this year under Jack MacGillivray, who himself bred beautiful black Standard and Toy Poodles for many years.
Standard BOS was also BOS to Best of Breed. Handled by Kaz Hosaka, GCh. Brighton Mikamoto is bred by Cindy Rochow and owned by Robert Smith III. She is a daughter of the 2007 Number 1 Non-Sporting dog in the U.S., Ch. Brighton Minimoto, who was handled by Chris Manelopoulos to so many big wins, including two Group wins at Westminster.
Select Dog has had his share of success, both at PCA and in the all-breed rings. GCh. Jaset’s Satisfaction was Number 1 Non-Sporting dog last year and Best of Breed at PCA 2011. He is handled by Ann Rairigh for owners Michele Molnar and Jamie Danburg, and breeders Sandra Tompkins and Chris Bailey. Select Bitch is another daughter of Ch. Dawin Spitfire; Ch. Dawin Hearts on Fire is also handled by Sarah Reidl-Perchick for breeder/owner Linda Campbell, and she is currently the Number 6 Non-Sporting dog in the U.S.
Anyone who has a sliver of interest in Poodles, and certainly anyone who ever wants to judge them, simply must attend PCA at least once, if not again and again. And I think anyone who is a show chairman for a National Specialty would learn a great deal from coming to this show, which is so well-run under the guidance of Show Chairman Barbara Furbush and PCA President Dennis McCoy, not to mention the cast of volunteers without whom a show of this magnitude would not be possible. PCA truly is “the Greatest Poodle Show on Earth.”