Best in Show Crufts 2012
by Frank Kane
My thanks go to Crufts Chairman Gerald King and his Crufts committee, Vanessa McAlpine and her team from the Kennel Club for an unforgettable experience and for their kindness and hospitality, to myself and my family.
It was gratifying to see the halls of the NEC very busy on all days, and an almost full to capacity arena on the final night.
Testament to the continuing public affection for pedigree dogs - despite the attempts of the anti pedigree brigade. As a showcase for all that is best in the World of dogs - Crufts is unsurpassed. There can be no greater privilege in the dog world than the honour of judging Best in Show at Crufts. The staging of the groups and Best in Show is spectacular and a wonderful stage for dogs and judges. When I walked out into the packed arena on Sunday evening it was awe inspiring moment – and I’m sure the handlers of the dogs would feel the same. Great credit to the seven group winners who all performed well, showed happily and did pedigree dogs proud! From Thursdays Toy Group, the 15 month old Pomeranian, Belliver Unexpected Dream, has a captivating temperament and is a great showman.
He has an excellent headpiece with good leg length and compact body and is light buoyant on the move. In terms of coat and maturity of body he is not yet finished but his future looks assured. From Friday’s Gundog group, the Irish Water Spaniel, Sh Ch Am Ch Whistletop’s Elements of Magic was presented to perfection and in a lovely shape. He has come on a lot since I judged him almost a year ago and is now much firmer in body and topline. When he got into his stride he was very impressive. He has the charismatic temperament of the breed which is sometimes difficult to contain – however he pressed hard on the night.
From Saturday’s Pastoral Group, the Old English Sheepdog, Ch Bottom Shaker My Secret, made a lovely picture with a superbly presented coat of good texture, a lot of substance and bone and compact body. His clever handler gives him a loose lead to let him show the correct head coverage on the move. Sunday’s Terrier Group saw the 15 month old Norwich Terrier, Ragus Merry Gentleman, taking the top spot. Great breed type although and wonderfully accurate on the move. I loved his head and expression, compactness and showmanship. Like the Pomeranian, he looks his age in body and coat but I suspect that he will be a tough contender in the coming year.
The Hound group winning Borzoi, Ch Rothesby Sholwood Snow Hawk is a very correct dog all through elegant and light on the move, quality in head and well constructed. He just lacked a little sparkle at the end of the day to take him further in this line up. And so to my final two – Friday’s Working Group winner, the Newfoundland Multi/Int/Sk/Pol/Cro/Hun/Dk/Cz/Au Ch King of Helluland Feel The Win, is a wonderful mover with great reach and drive and holds his topline superbly. Excellent proportions, good bone and substance under the coat. Has great presence and style. He was a very worthy Reserve Best in Show for me.
From the first day of the show, the Lhasa Apso, Ch Zentarr Elizabeth, proved to be unbeatable for me. I found her lovely to go over on the table, moved accurately and with superb topline and carriage. A beautiful example for the breed at the peek of maturity, superbly presented and with the majestic presence which made her Best in Show at Crufts 2012.