Best in Show Welsh Pembroke Corgi Ch. Penliath Bill Me Later (AI), owned by Miss N.L. and Mrs. C.B. Blance, with Best in Show judge Mr. Robin Searle and show secretary Miss Lucy Mottram. Photo: Alan Seymour.
Fri, 09/30/2022 - 9:46am

Working It

Geoff Corish recaps the UK’s big show for Working and Herding breeds

The major show of the year for the Working breeds is the National Working and Pastoral (Herding) Breeds. It is held in the picturesque Cotswolds at the huge Three Counties Showground, used for the very popular agricultural show.

This year has seen record temperatures for our country up in the 30-degree Celsius range (high 80s in Fahrenheit) for several months, and something we certainly are not used to. On the day I’m glad to say no dog suffered from these temperatures; being a large showground there are lots of trees, and they were certainly used.

Every breed recognized by The Kennel Club in these groups is catered to, which is why the show is so popular. The entry was close on 3,000 dogs and judging had to start at 9 a.m., so it was a case of busy-busy early on.


Best Puppy in Show was the Samoyed Rosnorske Royal Amethyst, owned by Mrs. A. and Mr. T. Gwynn, with Best in Show judge Mr. Robin Searle and Mr. Mick Taylor (Chairman). Photo: Alan Seymour.


The showground was still very hot later in the day when Mr. Robin Searle stepped in the main ring to judge BIS. Robin in days gone by was a successful Borzoi and Shetland Sheepdog breeder; these days his wife shows Great Danes. So a very experienced all-breed judge.


Best Puppy in Show was the Samoyed Rosnorske Royal Amethyst, owned by Mrs. A. and Mr. T. Gwynn, with Best in Show judge Mr. Robin Searle and Mr. Mick Taylor (Chairman). Photo: Alan Seymour.


Best in Show was awarded to the mother and daughter partnership of Chris and Nicola Blance with their Pembroke Welsh Corgi Ch. Penliath Bill Me Later. Later on in this review a little story! But at this stage of the year she is top Pembroke Corgi and runner-up in the Herding Group; she has 22 challenge certificates. 

Reserve BIS was another top winner in Mitch Griffith’s brindle Boxer Ch. Lanfrese Argento. He won BIS here last year and is sitting on 39 challenge certificates.


Reserve Best in Show Boxer Ch. Lanfrese Argento, owned by Mr. M. Griffiths, with Best in Show judge Mr. Robin Searle and Mr. Clive Evans (Committee). Photo: Alan Seymour.


Going back to the Blances and their Corgis, I knew that they had a collaboration with Bill Shelton and his partner Steve Leyerley, so I asked them how this came about.

The Blances were exhibiting at The Welsh Kennel Club, where Peter Green was judging. Having known Peter for many years and having won well with their Corgis under Peter, they asked him if he knew Bill and Steve in the U.S., as they had admired Ch. Coventry Allure a number of years previous. At the time Bill was winning with Ch. Coventry Just A Little Crush, and they wondered if they would be able to buy her, should Peter be able to make an introduction. They didn't want to just send an “out of the blue” can-we-buy-your-bitch email.

Peter said he would. A couple of months later, Nicki wrote to Bill and asked if Peter had mentioned them. Bill replied that he had.

“Etta,” aka Coventry Just a Little Crush, was already in a lovely owner’s home, so they couldn't bring her to the U.K. Through lots of conversations, it was decided that they would share their breeding with each other.

The Blances sent frozen semen from their males and vice versa from Bill, Steve and all at Coventry to them. The first that happened was in the U.S., with Ch. Coventry Allure being mated to Ch. Penliath Flash Dancer, a full brother to Ch. Penliath Shooting Star, the UK's breed record holder and Reserve Best in Show at Crufts. This unfortunately resulted in only a singleton bitch puppy. Bill and everyone at Coventry kindly allowed “Bunny” to come to the U.K.

The Blances mated Bunny to Ch. Penliath Shooting Stars father’s brother using AI. Of the six puppies she produced, they kept two bitches and a male: Ch. Penliath Sent to Coventry, who was Bitch CC at Crufts in 2018 from the yearling class with her sister Penliath Sent From Coventry winning the Junior Bitch class, and Ch. Penliath Spanner In The Works, also first in Junior Dog, with him being the top puppy in 2017. Unfortunately, Bunny developed a pyometra when the puppies were just a few days old and had to be spayed.

Sent To Coventry gained her U.K. title at the end of that year. Only one other kennel has ever produced so many champions in one litter.

In the meantime, they took their specialty-winning bitch, Ch. Penliath Done N'Dusted, to Bill and Steve and also mated Ch. Penliath Femme Fatale to frozen semen here in the U.K. They used Ch. Coventry Esquire (brother to Allure).

Dun N'Dusted was mated to Ch. Coventry Beach Boy, and three siblings were kept: Am/UK Ch. Coventry Colin The Shots, Am Ch. Coventry All Rise To Penliath and Coventry Foreign Affair with Penliath.

Colin and Foreign Affair returned to the U.K., with Colin gaining his U.K. title in 2021 and becoming top male, only beaten by his kennel mate. Sadly, they lost Colin after I had given him his fourth challenge certificate at the Welsh Corgi Club.

All Rise To Penliath went onto win an all-breed BIS in the U.S. along with many groups and placings.

The results of Femme Fatale to Esquire was “Hazel,” Ch. Penliath Bill Me Later, bred in the U.K. She won six CCs as a puppy in 2019, making her the top-winning Pembroke Corgi puppy of all time here in the U.K. Her seventh CC was when she was in her first Junior class, giving her her U.K title. (In the U.K. you cannot win all your CCs in Puppy to be a champion; you must win at least one out of the Puppy class.)

Hazel returned to the ring in 2021 after missing all her Junior career and took seven more CCs. Her first show in 2022 was Crufts, where she won BOB and Group 2. To date she has 23 CCs and was the top Pembroke in 2021.

So the future is bright, and they can't thank Peter Green enough for the introduction.

What a great story and shows what collaboration between two great kennels can do.


Reserve Best in Show was the Newfoundland Bear Croft Couldn’t Care Less In Sandbears (Naf Taf) (Swed Imp), owned by Ms. S. Blake, with Best in Show judge Mr. Robin Searle and Mr. Ken Humphries (Committee). Photo: Alan Seymour.


Reserve Best Veteran in Show Rottweiler Ch. Juffther Happy Bunny JW ShCM, owned by Mrs J Horton, with Best in Show judge Mr. Robin Searle and Mr. Mick Taylor (Chairman). Photo: Alan Seymour.






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