First of all to thank the Crufts committee for inviting me to judge at this the most prestigious dog show in the world. I deemed it indeed an honour, & to my hard working steward Kim Lathaen for doing such a sterling job, & of course you, the exhibitors, for giving me such a brilliant entry, & for the sporting way in which you accepted my decisions, I would just like to say that presentation was excellent, but, please remember that teeth also need attention & that the Standard does indeed call for a fitted coat, & not for a huge heavy coat. Mid limit, Limit & Open were a joy to behold, & some dogs who I really liked had to be left out, & such an honour to have 16 champions in open, I apologise for not being able to place you all, such quality indeed!

I was very pleased with my line-up, every dog moved soundly with perfect tail carriage.

To see my DCC & BOB shortlisted in the very strong pastoral group was both justifying & gratifying.

Veteran (12,3a) A lovely class to start the day. These golden oldies can certainly put a lot of the youngsters to shame.

1 Edwards’ Elshajo Armani Moon, tri presented in tip top order, with such ring presence that he more or less demanded the class, this dog has now matured, & looking the best I have ever seen him, & is ready to take on the best to challenge for his third & crowning CC which I think he richly deserves, his jet black coat gleamed, has good proportions & his head is lovely to handle, with a nice dark almond eye, neat ears, he was sympathetically handled today to get the best out of him & he moved purposely carrying a lovely topline with good tail carriage; 2 Randall’s Ch Ladnar Kingfisher, this lovely blue lad needs no introduction from me, has had a fabulous career, & still retains his obvious quality, he was put down immaculately, as you would expect from this kennel, not a hair out of place, & moved out accordingly, I have awarded him a RCC in the past, unlucky to come up against Armani Moon today; 3 Wray’s Takhisis High Voltage, another well known blue gentleman who was really enjoying his day out, & again not a hair out of place, did all that was asked of him & more, & still can put a lot of the younger ones to shame on movement. 

Minor Puppy(2)

Two very immature babies, who I felt needed a lot more time, & both handlers & dogs could do with a bit of ringcraft training, both tris, & both well presented & enjoying their day out, which, is what it is all about.

1 Towler’s Sassari Smoke ‘N’ Mirrors; 2 Bartram’s Ambartr Keep The Faith. 

Puppy (6)

1 Randall’s Ladnar Moondust, a very nicely put together tri, full of quality, put down in good order, head is nicely balanced with a good stop, nice dark eye & neat ears which combined gave him a sweet expression, good neck, shoulders, with a good body, neat short hocks, moved soundly fore & aft, & carried his tail correctly. BPD; 2 Fox & McGowan’s Alanita Acker Bilk for Westoak, heavily coated sable (if anything, a bit too much), good head properties, with a sweet expression coming from two nicely placed dark eyes, with a correct stop & neat ears, good body, with ample bone, just needs to tighten in movement; 3 Licini’s Keyline Nelchael, another tri, whose coat gleamed, with a lovely head, eye & neat ears, giving him a sweet expression, good body shape, & a neck, with ample bone, neat tight feet, moved out well but just needs to tighten a bit on the rear. 

Junior (16,5)

1 McNally’s Copamage Supremacy, this boy was an easy winner of this class, & in good company, beautifully groomed (an art in presentation) & in tip top condition, he is of a lovely make & shape, with a good body, deep chest, has a neck, with good quarters, ample bone, neat feet, head was lovely to handle, with a correctly placed dark almond shaped eye, giving him a sweet but masculine expression, watching him move around the big ring was a joy, he kept a lovely topline & carried his tail correctly. Thank you for bringing him. His day will come; 2 Patterson’s Wilmaranna Forever In Blue, a most lovely coloured blue boy of quality, with not a hair out of place, enjoying his day out, good conformation, with a nice neck, head of good proportion, with a nicely placed & shaped dark eyes, good stop & nicely rounded in foreface, would just like a bit tighter ear carriage to complete the picture, he has ample bone, short hocks, which enabled him to cover the ground with ease; 3 Kenny’s Lanlin Benji at Leesaund, sable, who unfortunately thought that he would have a change of wardrobe, but on reflection, hid nothing, he has quite a refined head with a lovely eye, neat ears & is nicely filled in foreface with a good underjaw, with a sweet expression, just felt today that he did not want to cooperate with his handler.

Yearling (12,2)

1 Gladwell’s Jotars Blue Moon, my notes say what a stunning blue! I would not want to change anything about him, & could not be denied this class, showed such showmanship, & obviously adores his handler, nicely constructed all over, with elegance & balance. A lovely blue colour, which gleamed, & his whites were whiter than white, head is beautifully balanced, nice rounded foreface, good underjaw, with a nicely placed stop, two dark eyes, & neat ears, good quarters, ample bone & with his neat feet & short hocks covered the ground with ease while keeping a level topline with good tail carriage, unfortunately, in the challenge, he had had enough & threw it all away, I predict a very bright future for this young man; 2 Edwards’ Moonpromises Ever After, stunning young classically marked tri, who today, behaved impeccably, & was unlucky to come up against Blue Moon, a son of the veteran winner he has inherited a lot of his attributes, he is maturing along the right lines, & was presented in sparkling condition, his jet black coat & his whites gleamed, with not a hair out of place, good conformation, with a nice neck, length of body, with good angulation, neat feet, head handled well, with a lovely balance, & refinement with an inquisitive expression, today, he moved soundly carrying his tail correctly, one who will bother the best given time; 3 McEntee’s Rubacuoridella Buca Delle Fate at Gerian, heavily coated upstanding sable, who for me, carried far too much coat, good make & shape, with a head that handled well, giving the desired expression, could be a bit more positive on the move. 

Graduate (16,2)

1 J Blue Moon; 2 Shipp’s Tremaro Catch A Star, quality sable of lovely make & shape, presented in a good hard condition, as usual, from this kennel was groomed to perfection, head is beautifully balanced with the sweetest of expressions, possesses a nicely arched neck leading on to good shoulders with a good length of back, nicely let down at the rear with short hocks, another who moved soundly while keeping his topline & tail carriage. I would like a tad more of him, having said that, he is nicely balanced all over; 3 Spendelow’s Uffspring Unmistakable, upstanding sable of quality, who had forgotten to put on his clothes! Therefore he hid nothing, lovely conformation & body, & good quarters, head was lovely to handle, of good length & nicely filled in foreface with the sweetest of expressions, another who was sound on the move. 

Post Graduate (17,3)

1 Cooney’s Jopium Stole My Heart at Lingwell, & he did, have admired him for a while from the ringside, & was pleased to see him here today, & he did not disappoint, he is lovely to go over, I would not want to change anything about him, sable, presented in pristine condition, perfectly balanced all over, with a lovely refined head, nicely placed & shaped dark eyes, good stop & underjaw, with a nicely filled in foreface, & his neat ears sitting right on top, where they should be, (a lot of heavy low set ears are creeping in to the breed), good front assembly & rearquarters, & with his lovely arched neck & length of back. As I expected he moved soundly covering the ground with such ease, one, who, will trouble the best soon; 2 McEntee’s Imperial Des Beldones at Gerian, upstanding sable of different type to 1, but of equal quality, beautifully put down, head handles well, with the sweetest of expressions without being too feminine, good body shape & angulations, nicely let down at the rear, neat feet, ample bone, another who could move effortlessly; 3 Ross’ Tremaro Star Touch at Samshernik, litter brother to second in Grad, but so different, he is a lovely size with everything in the right place, & I have done him well before, but today he came & had forgotten one thing, like quite a few others, he had left his clothes at home! Now, he just needs to mature & will trouble the best.

These next classes were full of quality, I was spoiled for choice, & some that I really liked had to go cardless, I had some hard decisions to make.

Mid Limit  (12)

1 Telford’s Glenbowdene Shades Of Gold, I gave this lad the RCC last time I judged & was pleased to see him again, not a glamour boy, & has to be handled to be appreciated, he is just coming back into a nice good coat which was groomed to perfection, he possesses a beautifully balanced clean head with the sweetest of expressions, coming from his two lovely dark eyes & neat ears, has a good reach of neck, leading on to good shoulders, with a decent length of back, nice turn of stifle & a good front assembly, ample bone, neat feet, & moved soundly covering the ground with such ease, just needs that little bit more length to complete the picture; 2 Grindley’s Lanrue Christopher Wren, another quality sable who was unlucky to meet 1, an art in presentation, every hair gleamed, & he was also in good hard condition, not a big boy, but beautifully balanced all over, head handles well, refined, with that regal look of dignity, & such a sound mover, covering the ground with ease & keeping a lovely topline with good tail carriage; 3 Sibbald’s Telforth Tony, another lovely sable, who was carrying a wealth of coat which was groomed to perfection, of a lovely make & shape, with a nicely balanced head, & again, one who could move, I would like a bit more of him for a male. 

Limit (13)

1 Kelly’s Clowns Come On Over to Ballahanna, here , I found my star of the day, dark shaded sable who never put a foot wrong, I was completely mesmerised by his fluent movement, & I’m sure that he could go on all day (after all we are a herding breed) he was exactly what I was looking for, nothing exaggerated in this dog, fits the Standard perfectly, exceeds quality, his head is a joy, nicely refined & rounded in foreface with a perceptible stop, good underjaw, with two lovely dark eyes & with his neat ears sitting right on top gave the sweetest & melting expression, a reach of neck which led on to correctly placed shoulders, & a length of back, with good proportions, & ample bone, neat feet, his dark shaded fitted coat was gleaming, I had no hesitation in awarding him the class which was well & truly deserved & later in the challenge I had no hesitation in awarding him the CC, & with the complete agreement of my co-judge Mr Francis, BOB, it was so gratifying & I was thrilled to see Frank Kane shortlist him in a very strong pastoral group, where he put up a sterling performance, well done, congratulations, I understand that this was his second CC & BOB, good luck for the third, hope it won’t be too long, as he deserves his entry to the upper house & to wear his crown; 2 Jackson’s Sassari Mister Solitaire, beautifully coloured blue, who, again was presented in pristine coat & condition, put down to the nines, sometimes he doesn’t always get his act together, but today, he was in top form, & had to be to beat all the champions in the open class to be rewarded with the RCC. A quality blue of different type to the winner but could just not be denied, again a lovely sound mover who covered the ground easily, nicely balanced all over with a lovely head on him for a blue, unlucky to meet the winner today, two lovely ambassadors of the breed; 3 Pryor’s Aqualita Dr No, another lovely dark shaded sable who never put a foot wrong, so elegant on the move & again nicely balanced, just unlucky to meet the first two, in a lovely class full of quality dogs. 

Open (27)

Well, what do I say, this indeed was a class to behold, 16 champions plus the rest was also full of quality. May I thank you all for your lovely entry, I’m sorry that I could not place you all, I haven’t seen such a lovely class in a long time.

1 Collins’ Ch Tribule Zachary, headed this quality class, a favourite of mine, I awarded him a RCC when he was just into junior, & am so pleased to see that he has made it into the upper house, he looks every inch a ch & was put down in superb order, a brilliant ambassador for the breed, & today he did not put a foot wrong; 2 Hawkins & Foy’s Ch Beldones Black Illusion, quality tri from this famous & consistent kennel. Again the presentation of this dog was second to none, his jet black coat & sparkling whites were gleaming, his head handled well, with the sweetest of expressions that is so hard to achieve on a tri, in good body & with good angulations, another with neat feet, ample bone, he moved with purpose & drive, covering the ground with such ease. Easy to see why he is wearing his crown, a lovely boy; 3 Grainger & Nagrecha’s Ch Samhaven Just In Time, thought at one stage that he was going to be my winner, but unfortunately the change of handler rather upset him, & he lost the momentum, he is the sire of my CC winner, & I see that he has inherited a lot of his attributes from him. A very worthy ch who is also a good producer & ambassador for the breed with quality written all over him. 

Good Citizen (12)

1 Melish’s Demelewis Catchmydrift, a blue of lovely make & shape, carrying a wealth of good harsh coat, put down to the nines, & in good hard condition, head handled well, & has that ‘look at me’ look, he moved soundly & well deserved this class; 2 Page’s Lynmead Amalie Let Me Go, sable of a good make & shape, & coped well with a change of handler when moving, head handled well, with a sweet expression, I would just like a bit more of him all over; 3 Ingledene All About Love of Shadowpark, sable of different type, & presented in good order, in good body with good angulations, has a refined head with quite a sweet expression & moved soundly.

Eleanor Kitchen