It seems to me that there were more shows than usual this past weekend with really decent entry numbers, which these days, for me, means over 1,000 dogs. The West Coast was the site for the weekend’s largest shows, with more than 1,600 both days in Northern California and upwards of 1,500 in Vancouver, Wash. Two Southern California shows had just over 1,000 dogs. Around the rest of the country, Ohio had about 1,300 dogs both days and both Massachusetts and Georgia, just over 1,000. It’s nice to see that the entry was spread around this weekend, rather than a few shows with big entries and then lots of tiny ones.

My interest was captured by the two Buckhorn Valley KC shows in Greeley, Colo., which had entries of more than 1,200 dogs each day. Several of the winners in the Centennial State are dogs I haven’t previously written about.

Best in Show on Saturday under Texan Judy Newton was English Setter GCh. Stardom Country Squire Livin’ in the Limelight. I believe this was just the second all-breed Best for ‘Levi,’ who is bred by Renee Metz and Terrier Treland, owned by Shaun and Donna Jordan and Debra Jauron, and handled by Shaun.

Levi has a gold-plated pedigree. His paternal grandsire, Ch. Stagedoor Rock It Man, known to his friends as ‘Rock,’ was the Number 1 English Setter and Number 6 Sporting dog in 2006, handled by Jorge Olivera. In addition to his many BIS awards, Rock won the National Specialties in 2006 and 2007. Rock’s breeder, Joan Savage, was AKC’s Breeder of the Year in 2008.

On his sire’s side, Levi also traces back to the beautiful Ch. Set’r Ridge’s Wyndswept in Gold, who as a young bitch was Best in Futurity at the National, and was later handled by Kellie Fitzgerald to Number 1 Sporting dog and Number 6 among all breeds in 2002, owned by Bill and Tina Truesdale. ‘Bria’ won 76 Group Firsts, 15 BIS and 19 Specialty BIS, including the 2002 National. After her show career, Bria was owned by Elliott Weiss and Debra Mack.

Another multiple BIS and National Specialty winner, in 2005, on that side of Levi’s pedigree is Ch. Esthete’s Splendor in the Grass, called ‘William,’ bred, owned and handled by Jill Warren. William’s sire was the great ‘Hadji,’ Dual Ch. Set’r Ridge’s Solid Gold CDX MH, who was breeder/owner-handled by Melissa Newman to eight all-breed BIS and the 1993 National Specialty, but more importantly sired 135 American champions, including 16 Best in Show winners. Hadji earned his field championship when he was 9 years old.

Ch. Set’r Ridge’s Wyndswept in Gold was the Number 1 Sporting dog and Number 6 among all breeds in 2002, owned by Dr. and Mrs. William Truesdale and handled by Kellie Fitzgerald.

Amazingly, that’s not all. Behind Levi’s dam we find that his great grandmother is the adorable orange belton bitch Ch. Lampliter Attah-tud O’Trabeiz, who was handled by Carlos Puig to many Best in Shows and two National Specialty wins, in 1996 and 1997. She was a Hadji daughter.

Yep, that’s quite a pedigree.

DC Set’r Ridge’s Solid Gold CDX MH, bred, owned and handled by Melissa Newman, is the all-time top English Setter sire, with 135 champions.

Reserve Best in Show on Saturday went to Wire Fox Terrier GCh. Random Ruse, owner-handled by Kristen Reed. Bred by Bill McFadden, he has been shown very limitedly by his owner and Gustavo Molinari. His sire, Ch. Snowtaires Standing Ovation, also known as ‘Ty,’ was the 2008 American Fox Terrier Club Best of Breed winner at Montgomery County. Ty’s dam, Eng. Am. Ch. Elray’s Snowtaire Iceni Payback, was the top CC-winning Wire in the U.K. in 2004, with multiple all-breed and specialty BIS wins in Great Britain, and she was Reserve BIS at Crufts in 2006. Ruse’s dam, Ch. Tamedale Harmony, was imported from New Zealand and, handled by Bill, won back-to-back Best of Winners on the Montgomery County weekend in 2004 before retiring to the whelping box.

Two dogs that are the all-time top winners in the history of their breeds took home blue ribbons from the show on Saturday.

Winning the Hound Group on Saturday was the Whippet bitch who was the 2010 and 2011 Number 1 Hound, Ch. Starline’s Chanel. I’m not sure that much more can be written about Chanel than has already appeared in print. She is the top-winning Whippet in the breed’s history, handled during the majority of her career by Lori Wilson. She won Hound Groups at Westminster, AKC/Eukanuba and Morris & Essex. Her sire, Ch. Sunbeam Rembrandt of Endeavor, traces back to several significant dogs, including the top winners and top producers Ch. Delacreme de la Renta and Ch. Sportingfield’s Jazz Fest, as well as the breed’s all-time top sire, Ch. Starline’s Reign On. Chanel’s maternal grandsire, Ch. Chelsea Made You Look of Sage, who was also shown by Lori, won 19 all-breed BIS and was the sire of 70 champions.

Lori and Carey Lawrence’s Starline kennel, as the home of both the all-time top-winning Whippet and the breed’s all-time top sire, is clearly a peerless contributor to the breed. As I’ve written so often before, the kennel from which Saturday’s Working Group winner came is likewise among the most accomplished in its breed. ‘Tanner,’ GCh. Szumeria’s Wildwood Silver Six Pence, is, of course, the top-winning Kuvasz of all time. Lynn Brady and Connie Townsend’s Szumeria has won the breed at 11 of the 17 Kuvasz Club of America National Specialties, not to mention the Winners, sweepstakes, Stud Dog and Brood Bitch rosettes they’ve taken home. They are the 2012 AKC Breeder of the Year representatives for the Working Group, and have truly set the bar high for their breed.

Pomeranian GCh. TNT’s Inferno Flame’n Karisma was Saturday’s Toy Group winner. ‘Pyro’ is owned by Marion Kay Gleason, Mendy Keech and his breeder, Theresa Tafoya, and handled by Mendy. He is by Ch. TNT’s Dynamite Detonation, who finished his championship before he was 9 months old with back-to-back 5-point majors and a Best of Breed from the classes over specials. Pyro also finished with a BOB win from the classes.

Chinese Shar-Pei GCh. Vaje’s Jethrine Bodine was the Non-Sporting Group winner. She is owned by her breeders, Jeff and Vicki Mauk, with Todd and Sabrina Paddock, and handled by Clint Livingston. Clint also handled the only Shar-Pei ever to win the Group at Westminster, GCh. Vaje’s Miss Jayne Hathaway, who was also Number 1 Shar-Pei in 2010 and 2011, and Number 7 and 8, respectively, in the Non-Sporting Group. Jethrine Bodine is from a repeat breeding of Jayne, and is currently Number 8 in the Group. Now that’s sister power!

Winning the Herding Group was Bouvier des Flandres GCh. Rocheuses Me and My Shadow of Cornus. Bred by Doug Johnson, who, with wife Michaelanne, was the 2006 AKC Breeder of the Year, and Karen Brown, ‘Casper’ is not just winning, he’s producing too. Through the second quarter of 2012, according to the American Bouvier des Flandres Club, he was the top sire of AKC conformation champions, with five for the first half of the year. The Johnsons are well-known for their Bugaboo Old English Sheepdogs, but they’re equally successful with the Rocheuses Bouviers. Indeed, in 2010 they were among seven kennels recognized as charter members of the parent club’s Breeder Honor Roll. Casper is handled by their daughter-in-law, Heather, and is owned by Frank and Corrine Dreyfus and Michaelanne.

Oh, yes, and speaking of Bugaboo Old English, on Sunday Judy Newton’s husband, Garry, judged Best in Show and selected as his winner OES Ch. Bugaboo’s Picture Perfect, bred and owned by Colton and Heather Johnson. His sire, Am. Can. Ch. Bugaboo’s Big Shot, was the 2010 Canadian National winner, handled by Jennifer McClintock, and was a multiple Best in Show winner. That same year, Picture Perfect’s dam, Ch. Bugaboo’s Georgie Girl, was the Number 1 OES in the U.S. and Number 2 Herding dog with 18 all-breed Best in Shows and 35 Group Firsts. For numbers nerds, that means that more than 50 percent of the time that she won the Group, she went on to win Best in Show, an almost unheard of ratio. (The year before she was Number 2 OES with seven BIS and 38 Group Firsts.)

Old English Sheepdog Ch. Bugaboo’s Georgie Girl was a multiple BIS winner and Number 2 Herding dog in 2010, and is the dam of a BIS daughter.

Repeating Group wins on Sunday were the Kuvasz, Tanner, who was also Reserve BIS, as well as English Setter Levi and Whippet Chanel.

The Wire was second to Scottie GCh. Chyscott’s Making an Entrance, bred and owned by Larae Shafer, Whitney Shafer and Kristen Simmons. Larae and her daughters, Krissy and Whitney, have been involved in Scotties for years. Both daughters have been successful in both the breed and Junior Showmanship rings, and Whitney has handled this Scottie bitch to multiple Group wins.

Winning the Toy Group was Pekingese GCh. Dunkirk Imagine That, bred and owned by Tim Reese and Randy Winters. He is by Ch. Dunkirk Trademark, also known as ‘Mark,’ out of Ch. Dunkirk By Invitation Only. Tim and Randy are another duo who’ve been doing this successfully for many moons. Mark is a grandson of Ch. Jo-Li Wind in the Willows, handled by David Fitzpatrick to multiple BIS wins for breeder/owner Joe Joly. His sire was the 1985 Number 1 Toy, Ed Jenner’s Am. Can. Ch. St. Aubrey Bees Wing of Elsdon, bred by the incomparable Nigel Aubrey Jones and Bill Taylor, and handled by Luc Boileau.

Tibetan Terrier GCh. Ka-Ta Midnight Khan was the Group Six winner. Bred and owned by Susanne Hedden and handled by Troy Cashman, he is sired by David Murray’s Ch. Players Prodigy, who was co-owned by Louis Krokover and was Number 1 TT and Number 3 Non-Sporting dog in 2006 and Number 7 in the Group in 2007, with a Group Fourth at the Garden in 2008.

I’ve always found the backgrounds of current show dogs one of the most interesting aspects of the sport. After all, the purpose of dog shows is, at least in theory, the evaluation of breeding stock, so knowing what’s behind today’s winners can tell us a great deal about whether judges of the past selected worthy breeding animals. Still, it never ceases to amaze me to find that the majority of our current winners are descended from yesterday’s stars. It’s very gratifying to know that our world – that is, our bloodlines and breeding programs – are progressing as they should be.

Billy Wheeler has the scoop from the rest of the weekend’s shows on Dog Show Poop. I’ll be back on Monday with more on next weekend’s winners.