• Show Date: 20/01/2022
  • Show Type: Championship Show
  • Judged by: Jonathan Daltrey Contact Judge
  • Published Date: 28/07/2023

Manchester Dog Show Society



A big ‘thank you’ to Paul Harding and his fellow Officers and the Committee of the Show Society for affording me the opportunity to judge the prestigious Gundog Group at this very well-organised and well-managed event. I must also thank all of the breed judges, stewards, helpers and exhibitors for the hard work and support at this impressive show, held in the difficult period of the current world pandemic.

This was my third Gundog Group appointment and for me it was most definitely “third time lucky”!

This was the first time that I have judged at this level at an ‘All Breed full CC allocation ‘representative’ show and as the winners (ably introduced by the ring Commentator Stuart McCabe-Bell) entered the Group competition I immediately saw some ‘eye-catching’ dogs showing some very impressive side-gaiting and knew that this, for me, was going to be a very exciting judging experience.

I do however just have to counter this slightly, as upon much closer individual scrutiny, I was quite disappointed to find that several of the 31 winners, in my opinion, were not of such outstanding merit as I would have hoped to see in the final judging of the day’s competition at this level.

Soundness on the move, in ALL directions, is vital for a working Gundog and it was on the up and down in particular that many fell short of the mark with others showing little or no forward extension or positive drive from well-muscled quarters behind.

I am, however, very pleased to say that I was able to make an ultra-strong ‘short-list’ of 11 Best of Breed winners and there were a couple more dogs only a whisper away from making it an even bigger ‘cut’, such was the quality in this excellent Group.

My final decision for the short-list was the G.S P, the Hungarian Vizsla, the Irish Setter, the Italian Spinone, the Pointer, the Curly Coated Retriever, the Golden Retriever (my choice as Referee), the Cocker Spaniel, the Irish Water Spaniel, the Weimaraner and representing the Import Register, the Korthals Griffon and I was very happy with this selection.

I gave all 11 one more chance for them all to shine and to impress and then to the final decision. Topping over 2000 entries in this strong Gundog Group competition at Manchester 2022 was the Cocker Spaniel, SH CH COEDCERNYW CALENDAR GIRL JW. She is fully mature and is exquisitely feminine. Her performance today in the big ring was flawless. She moved with absolute precision in every direction, and maintained the perfect outline at all times. Full of breed type, she is compact and is sturdily put together and what’s more, never, ever, stopped wagging her perfectly set and perfectly carried tail. Today she was the ultimate ‘Merry Cocker’ and I had no hesitation at all in awarding her the prime spot in a truly fabulous competition.

Pushing the winner very hard and taking the runner up spot was the stunning Irish Setter SH CH RIVERBRUE GLORIANA. She, like the Cocker, is also in her prime and today, for me, she presented a real picture of total balance, grace and elegance. Handled to perfection, in outstanding coat and hard condition, she is so racy and yet so refined and she simply flows from nose to tail. Her head is a total joy with real work and femininity with an appealing and intelligent expression. On the move today she was electric, accurate, free-flowing and she impressed me greatly.

Third spot went to a sensational Irish Water Spaniel, SH CH STANEGATE LEADING ROLE AT ZABY JW. Totally new to me, this fully mature and stylish dog is as masculine as the two above are feminine. He simply screams quality and his head is an absolute joy with no hint of coarseness plus he has a captivating and very intelligent expression. He is completely balanced with an excellent depth of fore-chest, big ribs and a superb front with well-boned perfectly straight forelegs. His long and well-angulated upper arm allows him to reach out on the move where he is absolutely foot perfect in all directions plus he really uses his well-muscled rear quarters to maximum advantage showing his pads and wonderful feet. In excellent textured coat with tight ringlets, he really did look a picture.

Completing the quartet of excellent Gundogs was the incredibly appealing and stylish Weimaraner, SH CH GUNALT MOVE IT TO PIPWELL. She like the I.W.S, is totally new to me and truly does fill your eye. I adored her text-book and ultra-feminine head, her alert expression and her lovely ears. She is totally balanced and her outline flows from nose to tail. She has perfect depth, holds the firmest top-line and has the correct moderation of rear angulation. Today she was shown in tip-top, hard and well-muscled condition. Her effortless, ground-covering side-gait, matched with purposeful and accurate action coming and going secured her position in the final four. I really did think that she is rather something.

I must also make a special mention to three more of the short-listed dogs that were really in close contention and literally missed out on a Group placing by the smallest of margins: the perfectly built and compact German Short-Haired Pointer, SH CH BARLEYARCH DORITO AT TEQUESTA, the truly feminine and so very sound Italian Spinone, INOSTICANI EIGHTPUNTS, and the ultra-smart and stylish Pointer, SH CH CHESTERHOPE C’MON OVER TO CARMANDINE (Imp NZ).

Huge thanks once again to everybody for making this such a wonderful judging experience.