BRITISH dogdom should be rightly proud of its provision for the younger end of our sport. No other country has invested in and developed over decades a junior club that has anything coming even close to the range and depth provided by our Young Kennel Club. It encompasses all aspects of working and competing with dogs and no place is this more evident than at Crufts, our most famous dog show. The YKC ring is run by our senior juniors and provides a full showcase of everything that the YKC now offers to its members. The finals seen here reflect the opportunity is being given throughout the year to our juniors in both training and competition.
Launched at Crufts is the YKC’s latest development – the Rufus Club, which is open from newborns to six-year-olds and aims to provide a good introduction for young members of the family to world of dogs. It hopes to encourage children from an early age to play safely with their dogs and find out about all the activities they can do together. This now widens the age range of the YKC further so that it really does serve youth from start to finish – birth to 24 years!
This year’s team of judges had their work cut out for them but I’m sure their experience was an enjoyable one. Taking on obedience was Robert Harlow and agility Stuart Harmes. The heelwork to music was judged by Kath Hardman, Richard Curtis and Michelle Dodson. The handling finals were the job of Leila Tarabad with grooming seeing Javier Blanco and Amy English take centre stage. The stakes were the task of no less than the YKC chairman herself, Valerie Foss.
The first final to be decided was toy and utility handling at 8.30am on the first day of the show which had ten qualifiers, and coming out on top was Ffion Thomas handling Clentview Patsy. a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. The starters obedience final had drawn a large entry of 19 qualifiers making the win so much sweeter for April Bush with her crossbreed Kezzy Midnight Spark, who had no faults at all having completed a perfect round.
Next came the Agility Dog of the Year semi-final with 29 qualifiers in the various size and age groupings. Under 12 small saw a good win for Sarah Wolverson with Ashpen’s Santa’s Secret with the over 12 going to Jake Reid with Black Jack Ace Of Clubs.
The medium and under 12 was a win unopposed for Hester Cowley with Fliptop Dextaq. The competition in the over 12 was fierce but in the end it was a win with time to spare for Chloe Machon with Cloudtenn Fuel For Life.
Onto the large section and in under 12 Hazel Sarti with Shorty Rhubarb Crumble came in first and for the over 12s Sophie Balchin with Darleyfalls Pick Me took the class by a whisker over Megan Young, both qualifying for the later final which took place in the main arena.
The winner was Chloe Machon with Fuel For Life who had also produced the fastest time in the semis as well, with runner-up, bettering her class performance, going to Megan Young with Dreaganta Shadow.
The ring stayed with agility as next in was the senior jumping with 14 qualifiers and the competition was fast and furious and an excellent and exciting watch for the crowd of spectators. It was a good win for Neil Ellis with Cheekychester The Jester.
Next in came the handling 12-16 years, drawing 18 entries, which was won by Brydee Mae Mills with her Bulldog Ch Somyway Lordswood Cocker. The gremlins got in the works with the elementary obedience scoring which meant a slight delay in the results and with only half a point between first and third it was nail biting but by a whisker it was Katie Heather with Akamai Indulgence.
The 17-24 years handling is always a strong class and with toy and utility fielding 21 handlers the judge had her work cut out. The winner was Kirsty Miller with Papillon Jap Ch Smileline Cover Girl Immortal Gene.
The presentations of the Rebecca Pointer awards for the obedience annual points trophy saw Jessica Allen with her Golden Retriever Tectona Grand Sunrise rewarded for her hard work and consistency. This was followed by the John MacDougall Award which was rather special this year as it went to Tom Stannage, who had won his place at National Camp but threw himself into the swing of things to win the nomination for this award, which was presented to him by YKC vice-chairman Pat Dufty.
The busy first day’s programme drew to a close with the judging of the two stakes finals. Val Foss’ choice for the toys, Italian Greyhound Artemis Kaaliya handled by Helen Rishworth and for the utility Miniature Schnauzer Penbro Tamodean Only Girl handled by Beccie Woods.
If you needed waking up on the Friday the YKC ring was buzzing from the start with Team Agility with 13 teams qualifying giving 68 dogs to run. Coming out on top were the Midlands Border Collie Club with runners up Godmanchester DTC. Junior jumping came next, so no let up on the excitement but a super win for Shannon Rae Springford with Floruanna Looks Like Fun.
A calmer atmosphere for the graduate obedience with 20 qualifiers and a strong field, but a whole point clear to win was Sinead Mowatt with Its Jaros D’voted Dancer, a Working Sheepdog.
The first of day two’s handling finals saw a good win for Daisy-Mae Hunt with GSP Kavacanne Toff At The Top, from an entry of 12. Then it was back to obedience for the more difficult intermediate but still fielding good numbers with seven qualified. It was a win with a good margin for Eleanor Cary with Working Sheepdog Currahee Dog Star.
The 12-16 handling final saw 18 contenders put through their paces with Leila’s nod going to Page Allen handling Pointer Kanix Daniel for the first place.
There were only three qualifiers for advanced obedience but you have to bear in mind that to be working dogs at this, the highest level takes some doing and is a real challenge to juniors, an excellent win for Danielle Jones with Vanistica Kitto For Jenny at Moshanta, a Groenendael winning by a large margin.
The 17-24 years handling followed with 16 entries making it a real feather in the cap for Kyle Adams handling Aspyre Flyin With Luv to Tomlow, a Pointer. Finally, again it was time for the stakes with Val’s choice for gundog going to Amelia Siddle’s Pointer Wilchrimane Ice Maiden.
If you thought the start to Friday was loud you should have been around first thing on Saturday. Yes, Flyball and everybody heard it loud and clear! Seven teams qualified, travelling from all over the British Isles to compete. It doesn’t get any faster than this or noisier. Taking the title the Warrington Whizzkids: Owen Garratt with A Ray of Sammy Sunshine, Daisy Harrop with Bryning Indian Summer, Jessica Barker with Canen Redmischief and Jolley Duke, Hannah Barratt with Timo Patch, Rachel Lewis with Wanna Bea and boxloader Alexandra Strong. Runner-up were the Coventry Hoolies.
The six-11 years handling seemed very quiet and sedate by comparison but with an entry of 15 Robyn Arnall can be very proud of herself to have come out on top with Sheltie Myriehewe Gordon Bennett.
Twenty-two qualifiers for the small agility with a to the line finish between first and second but just a flash faster was Tizzy Dizzy for Abby Blythe. The senior agility is always hard fought and this year was no exception with 11 qualifiers all wanting this title to be theirs but, with a couple of seconds to spare, it was Elizabeth Langwade with Quiang An Eileana Cheo who took home the prize.
Back to handling and the 12-16 years saw 13 qualifiers giving their best. Winning through was Abbie Stoutt with Siberian Husky Esquimaux Prince Of Fallon.
The next presentation was a special one, the Cinnamon Trust Award which went to Jenny Whelan from Sussex who has walked Mitzi, a Westie, every weekend for the last five years. This had meant that Mitzi and her 92-year-old owner Peggy have been able to stay together. A lovely way to recognise a 15-year-old’s commitment to making a difference where she can. What I find even more praiseworthy is that Jenny is one of around 600 young volunteers who regularly give up their time to helping elderly people with their pets.
One of the newest of the YKC finals is the heelwork to music and the heelwork section had nine qualifiers over the five age and ability classes. Under 12 elementary was won by Lauren Cruse with Ready Steady Zebbi, a Working Sheepdog. Over 12 by Laura Vickers with Kenmillone Bright Diamond, a Labrador. Under 12 primary was won by Arwen Linfield-Haplik with Manderians Hawk, a Border Collie and the over 12 by Lucy Hankey with her Border Collie Bordertown Shades of Blue. The open class went to Chloe Brutto with Border Collie Laetare Made In Heaven.
The 17-24 years handling had 17 qualifiers with Hollie Kavanagh adding another feather to her many feathered cap handling Chocktaws Chip to Doberway, her Dobermann.
Then it was back to HTM with the currently more popular freestyle classes drawing an entry of 18. Under 12 elementary was won by Lucy Frampton with Knowlehill I Luv Lucy, a Goldie, with strong over 12s class going to Fern McDonnell with Wire Fox Terrier Lola Bubbles. The under 12 primary was also well filled and so a good second win for Lauren Cruse with R S Zebbi. The over 12 went to Rose Jenkins with Cavalier Avancier Sam and the open to Ashleigh Butler with a crossbreed, Aspen Pudsey Bear.
This left just the two sets of stakes to be decided by Val Foss. The pastoral went to Hungarian Puli, Catsun Conclusion handled by Rebecca Williams and the working to Bouvier des Flandres, Abbiville Avitus handled by Haley Jones.
The last day sees the ring transformed for the morning with the grooming competition fielding 33 qualifiers distributed through the six age and type classes. The under 12 groom through saw a good win for Bobbi Shepherd grooming a German Spitz with the over 12s going to Hannah Pearson who made a lovely job of her Sheltie and the over 18s going to Callum Ferguson who groomed a German Shepherd Dog. In the clip/trim/strip classes the under 12s went to Sian Beddoe who presented a Lhasa Apso. Over 12s was a win for Jodie Forbers who stripped a Border Terrier and the over 18s went to Charlie Crowley presenting a Standard Poodle. The overall winner was Charlie with the Standard and runner up Sian with the Lhasa.
Next came the six-11 years handling and a win for Min Witheyman with Soft-coated Wheaten Terrier Steefsgrace Dutch Kiss by Dascol from an entry of ten. Following this came the Dogstable which we first saw in the YKC Silver Jubilee year. The under 12s was won by Lauren Cruse – didn’t she have a good Crufts this time with Working Sheepdog, Father’s Day Marley. Emily High with her Pap, Herumen Mountain Imp, won the over 12s and Amy Sadler with Border Collie Dorian Snow Bear the over 18s.
The Shaun McAlpine Award is made each year at Crufts to recognise YKC members who have excelled through their involvement in dogs. There were ten nominations but this year the overall winner went to the youngest section winner Kian Rhys Pellow, who is only 11 years old. Kian, is a Pets As Therapy volunteer. With his Boxer, Howard and his mother, he visits the children’s ward at his local hospital and the local residential care home to help lift peoples’ spirits. When his younger brother was diagnosed with leukaemia Kian selflessly volunteered as a bone marrow donor and saved his brother’s life and when his grandmother needed a kidney transplant Kian took over the care of her dogs, taking them to training classes and cheering his Gran up telling her about their progress. Taking the award for the 12-16 years was Lucy Hankey and for the 17-24 years Charlotte Page.
Next into the ring came the 12-16 years handling with 23 entrants filling the ring the winner was Luke Johnston handling Saluki Jojenjo Mirzam of Fernlark. The 17-24 years handling saw 17 of these most experienced handlers giving their best and the winner was Ella Armstrong with her Whippet Becscott Golden Wonder.
This led into an afternoon of agility with the medium agility title to be decided from 14 qualifiers. It was close between first and second but just those few tenths of a second faster was Gemma Haycock with Simply Red Roobs. Next came the large agility. Five qualifiers here, and a win for Tayla Butler with Al Bear Tino.
The culmination of the YKC Show Handler of the Year was next on the agenda with the winners from all days returning to compete for this most prestigious title within the junior handling. Leila had all her winners there and it was her choice for the title with the nod going to Ella Armstrong and the runner-up spot to Robyn Arnall.
So to the stakes with just two groups left to be decided. The terriers saw the Smooth, Chipstead Hermes going through handled by Fleur Marston and emulating the main show, the Borzoi, Ch Stubbylee Jazz Diva handled by Andrew Dawson for the hounds. Chairman Valerie Foss then had the pleasure of judging her seven group winners in the main arena deciding her overall winner as the Pointer, W Ice Maiden with Amelia, who also has the honour of painting the BIS winner, what a show for her! Runner-up went to the Borzoi with Andrew.