• Show Date: 16/08/2019
  • Show Type: Championship Show
  • Judged by: Jonathan Daltrey Contact Judge
  • Published Date: 02/11/2020

Welsh Kennel Club




The Welsh Kennel Club Championship Dog Show is a very special show that I hold close to my heart. In 2004, Alan and I won the Bitch ticket and Best of Breed here at Builth Wells with our much loved American Cocker Spaniel, Baby Jane. Although we had won CC’s before, this was a special day as it was the first of the 46 CC’s won by ‘Bananadance’ dogs and ‘JJ’ (Baby Jane) was the first of our 10 Bananadance Show Champions. If anyone had told me on that emotional day, that 15 years later I would be standing in the big ring judging my first Best in Show here, at Welsh Kennel Club, one of my most favourite and dearest shows, I would never have believed it.

I thank the Officers and Committee of the WKC and I thank the Kennel Club too for giving me the opportunity to judge at this top level. I would like to thank all of the judges, stewards, helpers and exhibitors for the hard work and support at this impressive show. I must also thank my friends for their ‘well-wishes’, cards and kind words of encouragement. Finally I want to say a very special and personal thank you to Ann and Graham Hill, true ‘dog folk’, whose genuine friendship, advice and company Alan & I value greatly.

Having been afforded the opportunity to thoroughly indulge myself in our sport and enjoy the generous hospitality offered by the WKC, I really have relished being able to watch all of the seven groups being judged. Despite seeing some dogs that really took my eye in the groups falling by the wayside, I have to say that the final line-up for Best in Show was truly a sight to behold. There were seven outstanding examples, sent through by the Group judges, making it a difficult but exhilarating experience.

After assessing each of the superb seven Group winners and giving them their moment in the spotlight, seeing them move around the wonderfully large ring, I had to make my decision. There was something that I would prefer to change with each of these outstanding dogs, but saying that, I must re-iterate that I think it would be difficult to find a better Best in Show line-up and I most definitely felt honoured to be in charge. It therefore came down to putting personalities to one side and simply judging the dogs on their final performance, as I saw it, in the big ring on the day.

For me, and without a shadow of a doubt, the Best In Show winner was the charismatic and mesmerising Standard Poodle bitch,  Ch Afterglow Poppa Don't Preach. Presented to the minute, handled to sheer perfection, she captivated me in every way. Her fantastic head, the darkest pigment and true poodle head and expression are something that I will never forget. I loved her for size, for balance, for her effortless natural 'arrogance' and outstanding beauty as well as for her substantially built & compact frame and her tip-top body condition. She has 'star quality' and her side-gait is breath-taking. She never let up showing and simply demanded the top spot and she most definitely deserved it. Congratulations!

Reserve Best in Show was another outstanding specimen, the totally feminine and ultra-stylish Saluki bitch, Ch Canerikie Catalina. Her performance tonight like the Poodle, stood away from the crowd in a more reserved and dignified but also totally captivating way. She is so very feminine, has such class, refinement and real ring presence. Her outline simply flows from head to toe and she is foot perfect, moving with both precision and style. I also loved her personality and that aloof yet so very intelligent expression. She too was handled to absolute perfection and could not be denied the runner up spot in very strong company.

Thank you all, once again for the most wonderful opportunity to judge seven such outstanding dogs at such a well-run, friendly and generously hospitable show. I truly will never, ever, forget this magic experience.

Jonathan Daltrey (Judge)