Southern Counties Canine Society
All photos by Alan Seymour.
The Southern Counties Canine Society has been one of the major championship shows in this country. Situated about less an hour from Heathrow Airport, it is perfect for overseas visitors and, more importantly, the judges.
Well, especially the judges, as this show is unique in the fact that every year, many of the judges are from Finland. And why, you ask? Well, the secretary of this show, Angela Cavill, is not only the longest-serving general championship secretary, but along with her husband Dave she has been a top breeder in Finnish Spitz, too. This year, on June 1 through 4, we had no less than 15 FCI judges, with Finland offering five, and Norway and Sweden providing another four, Espen Enge being the best known. There were two from Italy, and Tomas Jakkel the FCI president from Hungary. All the way from Australia came Geoff Blyth, and from Ireland Ann Ingram and Dianne Stewart Ritchie, the famous Gwendarath Irish Setter breeder.
This club was the very first all-breed championship show to be staged outdoors without benching under the new RKC rules. This is a very contentious issue with many exhibitors, some in favor, some definitely not. Several shows were unbenched after Covid, but no analysis about whether those shows were an improvement, or less successful, was possible, so it was sensible for the kennel club to be cautious when allowing very large shows to be unbenched. It appeared that after the first day’s judging, most exhibitors were quite happy with the format.
The weather has been quite strange in the U.K. Early in the year it was extremely hot for us, into the late 30s C (high 90s F). Then it was very unsettled with torrential rain at many shows.
The first of the three days was chilly but bright, and into the group stepped the world-renowned Whippet breeder from Finland, Unto Timonen. His winner was the well-known Scandinavian-imported Pharoah Hound Multi-Ch. Vaskurs Moni Maker Qiwidotter, who is owned by Mr. and Mrs. Torres, and now resides on the Isle of Man with his handler Laura Merryweather.
It was a U.K. judge judging the Herding Group. Patsy Hollings, along with her husband Stephen, has bred more than 100 Weimaraner champions under the Gunalt affix. Her winner was the lovely Pembroke Corgi bitch Ch. Penliath Bill Me Later, owned by mother and daughter Chris and Niki Blance. I did tell their story recently, but from her name maybe you guessed they have a special relationship with Bill and Steve of Coventry fame in the U.S.; this was her fourth group win and was from an AI mating.
Day two and it was the turn of the Toys and Terriers. First group in, and the U.K.’s top lady judge, Zena Thorn Andrews, was in the center. Zena is world famous for her Drakesleat Mini Wire Dachshunds and Irish Wolfhounds, though these days she concentrates on the Dachs, breeding and showing well over 100 champions. Stepping into the top spot was Kirsty and Evan Ryan and her breeders from Belgium, Roosens and Goessens, with the Papillon Uppercut Daydream Believer with Feorlig, her first big win at this level.
Dr. Ian Gabriel judged the Terrier Group; his uncle Malcolm owned the well-known Gabryl Smooth Fox Terriers. His winner and another new face to group winning was the Bedlington Ch. Conekesheved Too Shy.
On the third day were the Gundogs. Here in the U.K., this is a huge group, with very big entries in Labs, Goldens and Irish Setters. And into the group to judge was the well-known Ann Ingram from Ireland. Her winner was the English Springer Show Ch. Trimere Tickle Me Fancy, bred in the famous kennel of Ann Corbett but owned by Ms. Wildsmith and Brown.
Patsy and Zena were back on the final day, and was such a hot day that several of the Best of Breeds were allowed out to shade under the trees. This a crazy country for weather; you would never know from one day to another what it would be like. Patsy's winner was the very well-known brindle French Bulldog Ch. Chelmbull Rocket Man — “Elton” to his friends — who is owned by Dean Cund.
Likewise for Zena doing the Working Group: After a first look they were allowed outside to cool down, but in the end it was the striking St. Bernard Ch. Chandlimore Heart Beat who topped the group. This lovely bitch has had an amazing year and continues to be a group contender wherever she appears.
And so to the finals. Well-known Tim Ball was the BIS judge, but before the dogs entered the ring the Papillon did a lap of honor due to the close relationship with the judge, which was a very nice gesture and was given a warm round of applause.
Wasting no time, Tim gave everyone a chance, and in the end the top spot went to the St. Bernard “Mandy” and Reserve to “Elton” the French Bulldog.
Best in Show was the St. Bernard Ch. Chandlimore Heart Beat, owned by Mr. B. Deegan and Miss A. Grainger, pictured with Best in Show judge Mr. Tim Ball, Angela Cavill (secretary) and Tan Nagrecha.
Reserve Best in Show was the French Bulldog Ch./Sp Ch. Chelmbull Rocket Man WW, owned by Mr. D. and Miss A. Cund and Mr. A. and Mrs. L. Harrop, pictured with Best in Show judge Mr. Tim Ball and Averil Cawthera-Purdy (committee).
Best Puppy in Show was the Dobermann Amazon She Is Adored, owned by Mr. R. Evans, pictured with Clive and Nancy Evans.
Reserve Best Puppy in Show was the Irish Terrier Holbam Ace Of Saredon (AI), owned by Mr. J. Averis and Mr. A. Barker, pictured with group judge Mrs. Jacqui Ward.
Best Junior in Show was the Bullmastiff Angel’s Phoenix Ron Weasley Astonpride (Imp Italy) owned by Mr. R., Mrs. K. Aston and Miss F. Pavesi, pictured with group judge Francesco Cochetti (Italy) and Averil Cawthera-Purdy (committee).
Reserve Best Junior in Show was the Miniature Schnauzer Violis Storm Tracker JW, owned by Miss L.V. Parker and Mr. J. McDonald, pictured with group judge Francesco Cochetti (Italy).
Best Veteran in Show was the American Cocker Spaniel Sh Ch/Am Ch/Ir Ch Silhouette Troubling Nasailleen With Mycalleys, owned by Mrs. B. Bryant, Mrs. L. Nelson and Mrs. B. Morris, pictured with group judge Kari Jarvinen (Finland) and Angela Cavill (secretary).
Reserve Best Veteran in Show was the Alaskan Malamute Ch. Snowshoes King’s Legacy ShCM ShCEx, owned by Mrs. J.E. and Miss J. Smith, pictured with group judge Kari Jarvinen (Finland) and Angela Cavill (secretary).