TOP DOG 2012 in the Dog World/Arden Grange table is the Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen bitch who has led the field for the entire year, Ch Soletrader Peek A Boo, the first of her breed to take this award in the UK.
‘Jilly’ was bred by Gavin and Sara Robertson in October 2009, sired by the Dutch import Ch/Dutch Ch Cappuccino v Tum-Tums Vriendjes, whom they campaigned in the UK for a while, and who himself had two Soletrader parents. Her dam is Cappuccino’s dam’s sister, the breed CC record holder Ch Soletrader My Aphrodisiac. Both parents are RBIS winners at UK general championship shows.
Gavin and Sara have both been consistently successful exhibitors since junior handling days in a variety of breeds. Their PBGV Ch Afterglow Woody Woodpecker was a BIS winner as was Sara’s Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier Ch Jesena Chantilly Chick. Both of them have shown Jilly to top wins, though Gavin is her most frequent handler.
Jilly won her first CC as a puppy in 2010 but it was at Crufts the following March that she sprang to wider fame. Though still a junior, she won her second CC and BOB, going on to top the group under Eleanor Bothwell and ending up RBIS, judged by Paolo Dondina.
Further success quickly followed and she took 11 CCs that year, finishing as top hound. Group wins came at Three Counties (Jill Peak), Windsor (Hans Lehtinen) and East of England (Denise Courtney, where she like her parents became a RBIS winner, judge Ron James).
Shortly afterwards she went one better by taking top spot at Paignton (judges Frank Kane and Ken Sinclair), and a few days later she won the Houndshow under Andrew Brace.
City of Birmingham (Martin Sanders and Jack Bispham) produced another RBIS and Marion Spavin gave her the group at Belfast.
The year ended with a trip to the Amsterdam Winner Show where Dr Dondina confirmed his opinion of her by awarding her BIS.
By now co-owned by Sara with Wendy Doherty from Canada, Jilly began 2012 in great style with BIS wins at the first two shows, Boston (Dianna Spavin and Ben Reynolds-Frost) and Manchester (Michael Quinney and Ann Arch). A group 2 at Crufts was followed by BIS at Hound Association of Scoltand (Jean Blandford) and groups at WELKS (Zola Rawson), the National (Marianne Nixon), Scottish Kennel Club (Vivien Phillips, plus RBIS, Robin Newhouse), Three Counties (Mike Caple) and Windsor (Dagmar Kenis-Pordham).
Her next BIS was at East of England (Brenda Banbury and Jeff Luscott) and Frank Kane gave her another group at Leeds. She repeated her Houndshow BIS, judge Jill Peak, and took the group at Paignton (Jeff Horswell), followed by two more BIS at Welsh KC (group and BIS judge Espen Engh) and Scottish KC (Ron James and Anne Macdonald).
Liz Cartledge gave her the group at Darlington and at Belfast she was RBIS (Nick Bryce-Smith and Tom Mather). Her seventh all-breed BIS came at South Wales (Graham Hill and Peter Green) and she won the group at Midland Counties from Ann Ingram, meaning she had taken no fewer than 18 out of the year’s 27 hound groups, and was second or third in six others, not competing at the remaining three shows. She was runner-up in the Eukanuba champion stakes final.
In all she won 15 CCs during the year and ended up as top hound again plus Top Dog all breeds by a considerable margin, her 185 points being the highest since ‘Yogi’ the Vizsla in 2006.