Sunday, March 17, 2012, the last day of the Kentuckiana Cluster and the second Louisville Kennel Club show, found quite a few dogs placing in the Groups that had not placed the first three days, proving that at one of the largest clusters in the country there are so many quality dogs shown that the judges can go one of many different ways in selecting their Group placements.

Judge Pat Laurans’ choice for Best in Show was German Wirehaired Pointer GCh. Mt. View’s Ripsnorter Silver Charm, handled by Phil Booth. Photos by Krista Droop.

The first Group to be judged was the Working Group, overseen by Vince Grosso. His first place, Standard Schnauzer GCh. Blackhawk Finnegan’s Wake, became the only dog to place in the Group all four days, handled by Jody Paquette. Second went to the top-winning Kuvasz of all time, GCh. Szumeria’s Wildwood Silver Six Pence, who was the country’s Number 2 Working dog the past two years, handled by Diana Wilson for owners Mercedes Vila and Claudia Muir and breeder/owners Lynn Brady and Connie Townsend.

Third in the Group went to another earning her first placement for the cluster. Giant Schnauzer GCh. Lowdown Remys Girl V Ardenhout, handled by Gabriel Rangel, is owned by Mickey and Linda Low, and bred by Lisa Hawes and Janine Starink. She is the Number 2 Giant currently, bested in the rankings only by the bitch that earned two Group placements on this circuit, GCh. Kenro’s Witching Hour. The two bitches split the four BOB wins.

Standard Schnauzer GCh. Blackhawk Finnegan’s Wake, handled by Jody Paquette was awarded Group First under judge Vince Grosso.

The Doberman bitch GCh. Protocol’s Veni Vidi Vici, who had two Group firsts and a second the first three days, was Best of Opposite under Bradford Dunn on Sunday to GCh. Carry-On Merchant Man of Ravenswood, bred and owned by Lynda Hefferman and Betty Clark, handled by Lynda. ‘Sioux’ was fourth in the Group. He is sired by the Arg. Braz. Can. Urg. Ch. Navajo De Black Shadow, who goes back to a bit of Betty Clark and Jim Briley’s Ravenswood and Aquarius breeding, respectively, as well as Am. Int. Mex. Arg. Brz. Ch. Nello’s Lex Luthor.

Lex Luthor, bred in Argentina by Eliberto Lugueros and owned by Norberto Diaz, is one of the breed’s most recognized names in contemporary times. I saw him the one and only time I went to the Doberman National, back in 1997, when he was Best of Winners. A spectacular, if extreme dog, he was widely used and sired champions all over the world, including many in the U.S. One of his best known American sons was Ch. Marienburg’s Repo Man, winner of 55 all-breed BIS, the 2002 National and Number 1 Working dog in 2002, handled by Moe Miyagawa for Mary Rodgers, and Roy and Jo-Ann Kusumoto. Another was Ch. Ravenswood Southern Cross, Betty and Don Clark’s 2000 Westminster Group and multiple BIS winner, handled by Diego Garcia. Diego has said that winning that Group at the Garden with ‘Rio’ is largely what led to his moving here to pursue a handling career.

The Hound Group winner under judge Jim Briley was Ibizan Hound GCh. Harehill’s Ace In The Hole.

Next up was the Hound Group, judged by Jim Briley. Ibizan Hound GCh. Harehill’s Ace In The Hole earned her first placement for the weekend, and first at that, handled by Linda Mattson for owners Kiki and David Gindler, and Wendy Anderson, who bred ‘Jackie’ with Kurt Anderson. This bitch was the Number 1 Ibizan in the U.S. 2009 through 2012. Her aunt ‘Zipper,’ Ch. Harehill’s Love On The Run, held the position the three years before that, and Zipper’s dam was the top-winning Ibizan Hound of all time in the U.S., Ch. Luxor’s Playmate of the Year, a dog that most who saw her will never forget. ‘Bunny’ won back-to-back Hound Groups at Westminster and was the Number 1 Hound and Number 3 among all breeds in 2003. Jackie won the breed in Louisville the first two days of the circuit, which earned her more breed points than can usually be found in several months’ time, since more than 30 Ibizans were entered every day.

Another new face took home the red ribbon from the Hound Group. Scottish Deerhound GCh. Lehigh Ennis Carmichael was the 2012 National Specialty winner, handled by his owner, Grant Winchell. ‘JC’ is bred and owned by Paula Pascoe and co-bred by Pam Smithson, and he is also a Best in Show winner. His sire, Ch. Jaraluv Michael, is the top-winning Deerhound male of all time, who also sired Ch. Jaraluv Ouija, the top-winning female Deerhound of all time, handled by Taffe and Bill McFadden. ‘Ouija,’ you may remember, was the Number 2 Hound and Number 9 among all breeds, handled almost exclusively by Taffe, the same year that she also handled the Giant bitch, GCh. Galilee’s Pure of Spirit, to Number 1 among all breeds. What even greater heights might Ouija have reached if circumstances had been just a little different? We’ll never know. What I do know is that Paula Pascoe, who is married to Grant Winchell, is in my humble opinion among the country’s best kept secrets as a breeder. She has bred, owned and handled several of her Lehigh Deerhounds to all-breed Best in Shows, and her dogs are frequently among the winners at the National Specialty each year. She’s truly a “master breeder” in a breed in which success does not come easily.

Only three Hounds had three Group placements in Louisville. The Basset, ‘Tiger,’ placed the first three days, and Otterhound ‘Dui’ earned his third placement on Sunday, with a third. Longhaired Dachshund ‘Cheese,’ GCh. Hundeleben Queen’s Armada SL, had her second placement for the weekend, handled by her breeder/owner, Carlos Puig, when she was fourth.

Armando Angelbello’s Miniature Pinscher GCh. Marlex Classic Red Glare was judge Edd Bivin’s winner in the Toy Group.

Three of the dogs that placed in Edd Bivin’s Toy Group got ribbons every day. The winner, Min Pin ‘Classie, with her owner Armando Angelbello, won her third Group for the weekend after also being BIS on Saturday. Pom ‘Chase’ and Maltese ‘Hank’ also earned their third placements for the cluster, Chase, second and Hank, fourth. In third was Pug ‘J.J.,’ GCh. Hill Country’s Tag I’m It. The Pug competition was tough in Kentucky, with the breed’s current Number 1 – J.J. – and Number 2, ‘Rufus,’ GCh. Caper’s Sirius Endeavor, in the ring. The two dogs were separated by only about 500 points at the end of February. Rufus won two breeds in Louisville with one placement, and J.J., one breed and one placement, but he was not entered at all on Saturday. Barry Clothier handles J.J. for owner Carolyn Koch, and Kristy and Kevin Ratliff bred him.

German Wirehaired Pointer GCh. Mt. View’s Ripsnorter Silver Charm was the Sporting Group winner under judge Karen Wilson.

So far the Sporting Group is the only one in which all four dogs placed had earned at least one placement earlier in the weekend. Karen Wilson’s winner, German Wirehaired Pointer GCh. Mt. View’s Ripsnorter Silver Charm, was also her Group winner at Westminster last month. ‘Oakley’ is handled by Phil Booth for owner Victor Malzoni. Second place ‘Trevor,’ the English Setter handled by Eileen Hackett, also earned his third placement, as did the Toller, ‘Flash,’ in third. Parti-colored Cocker GCh. Conquest’s This Is It earned a red ribbon on day two and fourth on the final day, handled by Linda Pitts.

Wow! In the first four Groups alone, six of the 16 placements were new dogs. That’s38 percent.

Judge Peggy Lloyd chose Russell Terrier GCh. Goldsand’s Columbus as her Terrier Group winner.

In the Terrier Group, judge Peggy Lloyd chose as her winner Saturday’s BIS winner, Russell Terrier GCh. Goldsand’s Columbus. ‘Sky,’ the Wire bitch, was second, and a new player, Smooth Fox Terrier GCh. J’Cobe Broxden Danea, was third. This was the first Best of Breed win of the circuit for ‘Nea,’ who is currently the Number 2 Smooth, handled by her breeder/owner, Amy Booth. She is also bred and owned by William Dalling and Phil Booth, owned by Victor Malzoni and co-bred by Stacy Turner. Nea is a repeat breeding of GCh. J’Cobe Kemosabe Vigilante Justice, Number 1 of all breeds in 2010 and the top-winning Smooth Fox Terrier of all time. ‘Dodger’ was also Top Dog of all breeds in Brazil in 2011.

Fourth in the Group was Westie GCh. Deerhaven Hez Justin Kredible at Orion. ‘Justin’ is handled by Rebecca Cross for owners Debra Bouderra, Ida Keushgenian, Daniel and Pat Zendel, and breeder/owners Jane and George Kays. He’s currently the Number 1 Westie in America.

Herding Group first under judge Walter Sommerfelt went to Colton Johnson’s Old English Sheepdog Ch. Bugaboo’s Picture Perfect, the day’s Reserve Best in Show winner.

Walter Sommerfelt judged the Herding Group, and Old English ‘Swagger’ had a repeated Group win. German Shepherd GCh. Wolf Creek Galaxy of Merivern, handled by Scott Yergin for owners Edward Farrell and Pat Walker, who bred him with Mary Ann Imhoff. ‘Galaxy’ won 18 Groups and a Best in Show last year. Through February of this year, he’d already won eight Groups and a Best and is Number 1 in the breed, so he’s starting off the year with a bang.

Number 5 in the Herding Group so far this year, GCh. Coventry Allure at Wyndstar was third in the Group, handled by Jenny Wornall-Rangel, for her second placement of the weekend. Fourth went to Pyrenean Shepherd GCh. La Brise Sun Bear, bred and owned by Patricia Princehouse, co-owned by Kathryn Lanam and handled by Nina Fetter. Sun Bear is one of only three dogs of this breed that I found that have won multiple Group Firsts. GCh. Germinale de la Brise won five over a period of several years, GCh. Terra-Blue Ariege, two. Sun Bear won 13 Group Firsts last year.

Carlos Puig’s Boston Terrier GCh. Gunther’s Gussied Up Edna was the Non-Sporting Group winner under judge Gary Doerge.

The last Group for the weekend was judged by Gary Doerge, who made ‘Edna,’ the Carlos Puig-handled Boston, a three-time Group winner for the cluster. Standard Poodle GCh. Jaset’s Satisfaction earned his second rosette for the four days, handled by Ann Rairigh, and Shar-Pei ‘Tinsel,’ GCh. Shine’s Deck The Halls, became the only Non-Sporting dog to place all four days when she was third. Fourth was another new face; Xoloitzcuintli Ch. Bayshore Stonehaven Espiritu Isabella de Ivoss, owned by Diane Voss, is bred by Traci Johnson, Lynda Hylton, Frank Baylis and Jeffrey Margeson, and handled by Erin Roberts. She is currently Number 2 in the breed to her sire, GCh. Bayshore Georgio Armani, one of only two multiple BIS winners in this breed in the U.S. He won five Bests in 2011 and 2012. The other is a repeat of Armani, Ch. Bayshore’s Mole, who won back-to-back BIS in 2011. However, ‘Isabella’ is not yet a year old! She turns 1 in 10 days time, so she has a great deal of time to match her sire’s record.

It was a great lineup for the Wire Pointer to go Best in Show, since Karen Wilson had given him the Group at the Garden, and Pat Laurans, who bred them and thinks Oakley is a terrific example of the breed, was scheduled to do the honors on Sunday afternoon. And indeed Oakley did earn what I calculate to be his 89th Best in Show, so if he’s going for 100, as we all presume he is, he’s getting there, slowly but surely. Swagger, the Old English, was Reserve Best in Show.

At the end of the day, 39 percent – or 11 of 28 – of the dogs that placed in the Groups on Sunday had not had a placement earlier in the week. How great is that?

What a terrific Louisville! Be sure to check out Billy Wheeler’s Dog Show Poop and he can tell you what happened all around the country this weekend, as well as exactly how many BIS Oakley has and a whole lot more.