Page 144 - ShowSight - April 2020
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                 not enough to make two teams of 101 Dal- matians, there were 196 of them. Frankie (Ch Minarets Best Kept Secret), a four-year- old Miniature Poodle from Ramsgreave, Lancashire, won the Group that was judged by Mr. Paul Harding. Frankie previously won Reserve Best in Show at Crufts in 2017 and is owned by Melanie Harwood and her mother, Carol.
Among the 2,621 dogs that were entered in the Toy Group, we see the Cavalier King Charles on top with 286 specimens. The Chihuahua lost the first place and the popularity of the breed has gone down in Britain by 26%, but that was still good for 216 dogs for the Long Coats and 143 for the Smooths The Pug is still very popular with 281 dogs entered and the Papillon, the BIS winning breed of last year, had 196 dogs in competition. Pablo (Ch Regina Bichon You Rock My World At Pamplona), a two-year- old Bichon Frisé living with his owners in Preston, Lancashire, won the Toy Group that was judged by Mrs. Carolyn Roe.
Friday was reserved for the Gundog Group only, with 4,481 participating dogs. Here we find several top-scoring breeds. Of course, the Labrador puts the crown with 543 dogs, on the heels followed by the Golden Retriever with 519. But also the Cocker Spaniel is still very popular, 370 were shown here this year. The laugh- ing Flat Coated Retriever was represented by 331 of them. There were also 294 Irish Setters, 180 Pointers, 177 Welsh Springer Spaniels and 162 English Springers, 153 Gordon Setters, 150 English Setters, all huge numbers. In fact, the British breeds are, without any doubt, the most popular. Elsie (Ch Gwendariff Coco Nut Cream), an Irish Setter from Huddersfield, bred in Northern Ireland, won the Gundog Group. Aged six, she is owned by Debo- rah Armitage. Her handler and breeder is
Diane Stewart-Ritchie. The Group was judged by Mr. Per Iversen from Norway.
On Saturday we could enjoy the Work- ing and Pastoral Groups. Best scoring breed in the Working Group is the Siberian Hus- ky, although it dropped in popularity in the UK by 37%. But here, at Crufts, we could see even more of them than last year, 184 altogether. Other high scoring breeds here are the Tibetan Mastiff with 184, the New- foundland with 182, the Bernese Mountain Dog with 168, the same as the Rottweiler. Winner of this Group, which was judged by Mr. Christopher Habig from Germany, was Drago (Ch Phoenix Never Dies Du Monde D’Elias), a three-year-old Bullmas- tiff from Belgium, owned by Sylvie Loos- veldt. In the Pastoral Group, it is the Bor- der Collie that leads with 303 dogs, before the Bearded Collie with 256, the Shetland Sheepdog with 228 and the Collie Rough with 219 dogs. Here the winner was Zokni (Ch Bottom Shaker The Greatest Picture), an Old English Sheepdog from Hungary, aged three, and handled by Zsolt Hanó. This Group was judged by Mr. Luis Pinto Teixeira from Portugal.
And that leaves us with two more Groups to go on Sunday before the Finals could take place. The Terrier Group, the most British Group of all, is not the most popular when it comes to numbers. The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is an exception along with the Border Terrier which is, strangely enough, not the most flashy breed in the Group. There were respectively 341 and 256 in competition. All the others are far behind with only a few with a little more than 100. Mr. Tom Johnston judged the Group and chose Pixie, a Kerry Blue Terrier from Swansea, as his BOG. Pixie, (Indian Princess at Perrisblu), aged three, is owned and handled by Phil Davies.
The Hound Group is one of the most varied Groups for non-British. The most bizarre is how the Dachshunds have to compete and be compared with Irish Wolf- hounds, Bloodhounds and Whippets. Out- standing numbers here are found in the Whippets with 388 of them. Another popu- lar breed is the Rhodesian Ridgeback with 226 dogs in the rings, but the Beagles had three more with 229. The Afghan Hound is a classic with 188 as is the Basset Hound with 156. But I’m surprised that the Irish Wolfhound was very strongly represented with no less than 144 in competition. Win- ner in this Group was Maisie (Ch Silvae Trademark), a Wire-Haired Dachshund, owned and shown by Kim McCalmont from Berkeley, Gloucestershire. She was the pick of Mr. Mark Cocozza to win the Group. But a short time later, lining up for the finals, two-year-old Maisie was chosen by top-judge, Anne Macdonald, to follow in the pawprints of Dylan, the winner of last year. That was a real surprise and the first time a Dachshund wins this prestigious show. Res BIS was our Poodle Frankie, win- ner of the Utility Group on Thursday. It was the second time he won the Res BIS cup. It was amazing to see how both dogs kept showing for the photoshoot that takes easily 20 minutes, and Maisie in particular, as she had shown since that morning in the breed ring, later in the Group judging and again for Best In Show, and still she looked as though she could go on showing for hours.
Another Crufts is over and added to the long list since the show was first held in 1891 by Charles Cruft in the Agricultural Hall in Islington. It was very close that this show could have gone on as only a few days later most of Europe was in lockdown, caused by the COVID-19 virus. Let us hope that by next year a vaccine is found and things go on as usual.

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