• Show Date: 22/10/2023
  • Show Type: Championship Show
  • Judged by: Andrew H. Brace Contact Judge
  • Published Date: 23/10/2023

Northern & Midland Bichon Frise Club

Breed: Bichon Frise


It was a pleasure to judge this show which was held in a light, airy but warm venue where friendly officials and a delicious lunch awaited us.

I first awarded CCs in the breed 43 years ago, actually the third set that were offered for the breed and in so doing created the first UK Champion Bichon. It is sobering to think that I have been judging the breed at this level longer than anyone alive in the UK but I have always watched the breed closely internationally, having had the pleasure of judging them at many significant shows around the world. I have seen Type change and presentation become more and more sophisticated. I often think back to the many conversations I had with my dear friend, the late Frank Sabella, about the breed as he recalled being invited to a match show held by the parent club in the USA, long before the American Kennel Club recognised the breed, when Barbara Stubbs and Rick Beauchamp handed him a pair of scissors and a comb and said “show us how to turn this breed into a show dog”! Having performed his magic on the dogs presented to him Frank told his hosts that the structure and coat of the Bichon Frisé were such that they should be presented in a trim which was a series of graceful circles – and the rest is history!

Unfortunately the high level of presentation now seen in the Bichon ring is such that I wonder if some judges actually get into the coat sufficiently to discover the cake rather than the icing. One fault that was prevalent in today’s entry, which has never really struck me when previously judging the breed, was ears that were small and fly-away. The Breed Standard is quite graphic in its requirements as regards the set, size and positioning of the ears which should frame the face but elaborate grooming can so easily disguise these untypical ears. Judges need to use their fingers.

The other points of concern were pigment-related and I found a number of dogs lacking the so-important halos around the eyes, often coupled with off-colour noses and pink nails (yes, I know the Standard says PREFERABLY black). These may be considered cosmetic shortcomings but dense pigment against an ice-white coat is so very much part of the breed’s appeal.

I have to say that I was disappointed in the depth of quality found in the male entry but that changed dramatically with the Bitch classes and when I looked at the unbeaten line-up for the Bitch CC every single competitor was, in my opinion, of Certificate quality. That doesn’t happen very often (in any breed) these days.

Junior Dog (1) 1. Stafford’s Louisianna Heartbreaker, 14 months so full of quality and beautifully presented with good basic proportions and correctly angulated front and back. Well balanced head with dark, correctly shaped, expressive eyes and a big black nose. He handles well on the table and was beautifully conditioned but he needs to develop in forechest with maturity and this told in his somewhat narrow movement coming on. That said, he went away really true, driving with his well-made hindquarters and his gait in profile was stylish, roomy and full of personality. Should finish up with his title and well deserved the Reserve CC behind his sire.

Yearling Dog (2) 1. Johnstone’s Lovjen Angel Of Fire, 14 months and very refined with a look of class and pleasing overall balance. Well-proportioned head with strong pigment but eye could be fuller and rounder. Good length of neck. Well bodied with optimum angulation and correct tail set. Moves steadily and soundly. 2. Grantham’s Deizi Yabba Dabba Doozie at Lake Giants, 16 months and made the best of by his considerate young handler. Longer cast than 1 and of a rather heavier stamp all through. Pleased in eye but halos could be denser and foreface is a little long. Strongly boned with good rib and moderate angles. Coat texture is correct but nails could be better pigmented. Moved steadily.

LIMIT DOG (2) 1. Wilson’s Manoir Edge Of The Universe at Kantosky, won the class on his head qualities (even though the eye could be a little darker) and softer coat texture. Well boned and bodied with moderate angulation but slightly long coupled. Moves true behind but a little wide in front. Sensibly presented. 2. Marsden’s Winharleigh Magic Of Music, the eye catcher of the pair with his elegant neck and dramatic rear angulation. Head is well balanced with typical eye but needs stronger pigment throughout. Well boned and ribbed with strong topline and the overall outline is better balanced than 1. Like the winner goes better behind than in front.

OPEN DOG (3) 1. Pike & Carter’s Cartikes Midnight Madness, presented a very appealing overall package as regards size, balance and general shape and his outline will always catch the eye. Although he has dark eyes they could be a little fuller but the big black nose helps the expression. Good to go over on the table with firm, well-conditioned body and acceptable coat texture. Moves smartly and accurately out, back and around. 2. Anderson’s Manoir’s Licensed To Thrill for Brokengate, very pleasing in head and expression but not the overall togetherness on the move of the winner. Pleased in coat texture and his overall construction is well balanced and correctly angulated.

CHAMPION DOG (2) 1. Hill’s Ch & Irish Ch Deizi Mr Fredrick The Bold, my heart skipped a beat when he walked into the ring as he stood away for his perfect size, shape and overall type. On the table I was amazed to hear that he was approaching his 8th birthday as he was in the most wonderful condition, carrying perfect bodyweight and was fit and hard. One of the best heads here, perfectly proportioned with excellent pigment and true Bichon expression. His coat is well textured and sensibly presented and the angles front and back are spot on. On the move he goes steadily and true with an air of self-possession and for me he was such an easy CC winner. Apparently he was my Best Puppy when I judged the breed at Manchester and, judging from today’s results, he has proved himself as an outstanding sire too. A credit to his owner/breeder. Took Reserve BIS behind the exceptional bitch who just nailed it on the free stack with her sheer charisma. Considering he has apparently not been shown for 5 years he put on a wonderful performance, 2. Carr’s Ch Daveyluvs D’Artagnan, a little longer in foreface but structurally he is impressive with excellent angles and a very correctly textured coat. Beautifully presented, he was sound and steady on the move if his tail carriage could be a little more assertive.

PUPPY BITCH (3) 1. Marquiss’ Pinefield Dressed For Success at Quissmar, 10 months, ultra-feminine, in bandbox condition and beautifully presented. Very pleasing skull and expressive eyes with strong pigment but the foreface is a little longer than ideal. Already well filled in forechest and firmly bodied with excellent muscle tone of hindquarters and pleasing coat texture. Elegant neck, well ribbed back and perfect angulation in front and behind. Steady and sound mover showing freedom and confidence. Best Puppy. 2. Pike & Carter’s Cartikes After Midnight, another 10 months of quality with a beautiful head, eye and expression. Very solidly made and like the winner had a well textured coat. Not quite as well let down behind as 1 or as settled in front but a basically satisfying dual purpose type who could breed something really good. 3. Walklate’s Pamplona Almost An Angel at Ashoka.

JUNIOR BITCH (3) 1. Robinson’s Wattlemaede Biddy, 13 months, solid but feminine with most attractive head, eye and expression. Handles well on the table, moderately angulated with excellent coat texture and so sensibly presented. Moved true out and back but could just have a little more scope in profile. Even so she is a lovely unexaggerated type with many breed virtues. 2. Walklate’s Ashoka Copacobana, 14 months, very feminine all through but a little longer in foreface than 1 and not as dense in halos. Lovely size and general shape but not as well let down behind as 1 who was also that bit more confident on the move. 3. Curtis’ Elliebums Sorbet Sherbert.

SPECIAL YEARLING BITCH (3) 1. Stafford’s Deizi No Smoke Without Fire at Louisianna, 20 months, a real glamourpuss who instantly catches the eye and holds it. Glorious head with large, round dark eyes, noticeable halos and jet black nose. On the table she is solid and sturdy with super coat texture impeccably presented. Being picky, she could have a tad more neck but her multitude of virtues smother that shortcoming and her movement, particularly behind, is so impressive. Still beat some lovely bitches to take the Reserve CC and would be a very worthy Champion. 2. Richardson’s Tiarian Shooting Star, 19 months and so feminine with many basic breed virtues. Not as full in eye as 1 or as well developed in front but she has a good coat texture and excellent overall proportions. Moves smartly if a little close behind. 3. E. Sorbet Sherbert.

POST GRADUATE BITCH (1) 1. Hill & Macleod’s Deizi Diamonds Are Forever, at 20 months this is a far higher quality bitch than normally appears in this class. Her forehand is exquisite, having a classic eye and expression, perfectly positioned features and dense pigment. The silhouette is flawless and she has wonderful coat texture. Movement could be a little more positive but standing she is a dream.

OPEN BITCH (2) 1. Marquiss’ Ch Quissmar Chasing Lightning, simply beautiful in every way - she has a perfectly proportioned head with large, dark expressive eyes and big shiny black nose. Her elegant neck flows seamlessly into a firm topline with well-laid shoulders and correspondingly well angulated rear. |On the table she handles so well, being beautifully conditioned with the right bodyweight and optimum muscle tone. Coat is of perfect texture and good length, impeccably presented. She is a sound and steady mover with a natural style and real charisma. I have written many articles about “the beauty of moderation” and she is a perfect example of it, being devoid of exaggeration where the eye is drawn to the whole package rather than individual virtues. Despite strong opposition she won the CC well and, when it came to Best In Show, her free stack up against the handsome male just took my breath away. 2. Venables’ Ch Beausox Miss O’Hara, another beautifully presented bitch of quality who throws out a stunning outline. Again the head, expression and pigment leave little to be desired but on the move she came at me a little untidily and her tail carriage could have been more positive but she is still a top quality Bichon.

CHAMPION BITCH (1) 1. Carr’s Ch Daveyluvs Hot Tramp, mature and yet full of the joys of spring! Typical eye but a little long in muzzle for ideal head balance. Necky, beautifully balanced outline with ideal angulation. Coat texture a little harsh but very well presented. A very animated mover.