Thank you to the committee for the invitation to judge at their show. The weather was good and thankfully, the in/out tents were welcome shelter from the sun rather than the forecasted rain. It was a small but quality entry and thank you to everyone for making the effort on a Friday – it was much appreciated and I hope you all had a good journey home.

As always, I was hoping to find that classic Collie outline and type with that unmistakeable Collie head and sweet expression, the right height to length proportions and for the dogs to be constructed so that they could still carry out the job they were bred to do, with a flowing outline held on the move.

LD (1,1a)

OD (1,0) 1. Hill’s Devern Denman. This 5 years tri instantly appeals for his balance, construction and excellent Collie type. Such an honest, sound dog with a lovely temperament, he has a masculine head, good head planes, correct stop and fill of muzzle with a gentle, kind expression from well placed, almond shaped eyes. Ears are well set but he is so laid back he is a bit lazy with them. He has a super front with excellent length and layback of shoulder and upper arm, good bone, legs and feet. Mature in body and ribbing with lovely flow over the topline to well angulated, well muscled quarters. Tail of good length, well carried and he has an excellent coat and colour. Really shows his worth on the move with strong, smooth, easy action, reaching out in front and driving from the rear. Top quality boy and pleased to award him BD. In the challenge he was up against the refined, quality bitch showing her head off but I preferred his cleanness through the cheeks and strength of underjaw and while I deliberated, for a few moments he suddenly stood up on his toes, arching his neck and using his ears – he looked superb and BOB was his. Hope he soon gets his 3rd CC as he would make a more than worthy Champion.

PGB (1,0) 1. Forbes Natalain Kilkenny at Willowhurst (Imp Rus). Delighted to see this 21 month showily marked golden sable bitch again as she was my BPIB on her show ring debut the last time I judged the breed. She is coming on nicely and still has that lovely outline which so appealed last time. Not a tall bitch, she has a good length of body which I like and good, strong bone. She has a real quality head, a really clean, well blunted wedge with parallel planes, correct stop and a sweet feminine expression from those lovely well placed eyes.  Ears are well set but not used to her benefit today. She still has that lovely arched neck, super front and well angulated rear. She is bodying up well with correct depth of chest, holds a firm topline with slight rise to the loin, is well muscled and in good coat of that gorgeous bright gold shade of sable. On the move she goes with such an easy balanced, rhythmic gait with excellent reach and drive. Today she just wasn’t on top of her showing game though and I’ve since been given to understand that it was her first show without her kennel mate and she didn’t like it. Had she been on top form she would have been well in contention for BB but on the day she had to be satisfied with RBB. Hope to see her again when she’s got her sparkle back!

LB (2,1) 1. Benton’s Oakestelle Venus de Milo. This 3 years b/m is such a showgirl and is handled to best effect which ensures she really catches the eye. A finer package than some but well proportioned, she is feminine with a refined quality and a lovely outline in profile.  No mistaking her sex in head, she has good planes, just enough stop, a sweet eye and expression and although I would like a little more fill, that should come. Her earset and carriage is superb and she looks a picture of alertness and concentration. Super length of neck with slight arch and copybook well laid shoulders and a good return of upper arm. Good depth of chest although can still fill to advantage, she has a lovely flow from nape of neck down over the topline and croup to her well angulated and muscled quarters. Good feet and coat, well marked and a beautiful blue. On the move she is so light on her feet, she glides around the ring, holding her outline as if it is no effort at all and that is truly a mark of good balance and conformation. For me she is not finished yet and I think she is one that needs a litter to bring her to her best. She could not be denied BB and BOS and would not be surprised if she makes up, she has quality. 

OB (1,1)

VB (1,0) 1. Benton’s Alopex Marionette of Oakestelle. It doesn’t seem possible that this 7 years b/m bitch is now a veteran. I gave her a BPIB in 2009 and said then…’looks as if she will be a slow maturer but will probably last well. I will be interested to see the finished article’…and here she was in great form with the benefits of maturity without looking matronly! A neat, feminine bitch she has a lovely clean head with excellent parallel head planes and stop, a kind, enquiring expression and excellent ear set and carriage which she has bequeathed to her daughter (1st LB) but I do prefer her daughter’s eye shape. Head is a lovely wedge in profile with good underjaw which the Alopex line excels in. She has a well laid back shoulder, holds a firm topline with a slight rise over the loin to neat well angulated quarters. Mature in body with good depth of chest. Super coat texture and still a pleasing colour. Still smooth and sound on the move with good reach in front and enough drive behind, Preferred the rear extension and angle of croup on those above her for the top awards but so pleased to be able to judge her again and send her through to the new veteran group as BVIB. On this form I’m sure she will soon have many more such wins.