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THE FOSSE DATA Ireland Champion of Champions was held in the Green Isle Hotel, Dublin on January 2, hosted by Dublin Dog Show Society.
The judge on the night was Brenda Banbury from the UK, the well-known international judge who, with her husband John, bought her first Pyrenean Mountain Dog in 1962.
Brenda first awarded CCs in Pyreneans in 1975 and is now passed by the Kennel Club and the Fédération Cynlogique Internationale to judge all groups and best in show. In 2005 she judged the working group at Crufts and the following year best in show.
Rita McCarry Beattie, secretary of DDSS, was master of ceremonies for the evening, a task which she performs most professionally, and she and her hard working committee ensured that everything ran smoothly for the event.
A total of 31 dogs had qualified during the previous year, each winning a champion stakes at the all-breed championship shows through 2015. On the night there were just four absentees, thus 27 dogs competed for the title of Champion of Champions 2015.
The event began in late afternoon with Brenda assessing all the exhibits thoroughly and then, after a break, and with the dinner guests now seated, a parade of all the qualifiers took place, each being presented with a memento by Jackie Stubbs on behalf of co-sponsor Happy Dog, and a mug from DDSS presented by vice-chairman Chris Hancock. Each in turn received applause in appreciation from their various supporters.
All dogs then returned together to the ring for a final look by Brenda, who was ably assisted by her stewards, committee members Amanda Sammon and Orlagh Murray. She then selected, in no particular order, her final 12, leaving the others to relax and enjoy the rest of the night.
Having gone over her selection of 12 in front of the audience, Brenda took a last look before whittling them down to six, a difficult task no doubt from the bevy of winners in front of her. She eventually chose the Afghan Hound, Alaskan Malamute, Basset Hound, Newfoundland, Papillon and Toy Poodle, who retired to the grooming annex for a rest while dinner was served and the usual speeches and thanks were observed.
Finally, back into the ring came the six contenders for the title, to be assessed again by Brenda who chose two from the six, the Afghan Hound and the Alaskan Malamute, asking them to go round the ring once more, before crowning the Afghan Hound ‘Kayto’ the 2014 Champion of Champions. Celebrations and dancing then, with the Irish exhibitors and guests letting their hair down as only they can…