• Show Date: 10/12/2023
  • Show Type: Championship Show
  • Judged by: Lee Cox Contact Judge
  • Published Date: 11/12/2023

Ladies Kennel Association

Breed: Best In Show

LKA Championship Show 2023

Best In Show

To be asked to judge Best In Show at Championship level is always such a thrill and an honour. This was my 4th time having this honour and to judge it at LKA was indeed something that will live with me for a very long time. I would like to thank the Ladies for their invitation, welcome and hard work, as it was the first show to be held at Stafford, over 4 days.

It has certainly been a year for strong Best In Show line ups and tonight was no exception. Being present at the show over the 4 days, the excitement was certainly building for me as each group provided their winner. Those that say that we do not have the quality in the UK anymore should have a long hard look at the 7 dogs that were presented before me on the night. Every single one of them were not only a credit to the UK dog scene, but a credit to their owners, breeders and, most importantly, their respective breeds. I would like to thank the group judges for providing me with such a headache and it proved that the old adage “it’s going to be the dog on the day” is certainly true. Performance, soundness and condition were having to play such an important part of my final decision.

The Utility Group was represented by the Dalmatian Ch SOPHTSPOT GOLD DUST JW owned by Mrs Christie, sent through from the breed by Lesley Butler and was Sarah Hattrell’s group winner. Now into his veteran years this impressive dog shows that he can still hold his own amongst the very best. He has a masculine outlook, clean lines, wonderful muscle condition and uses himself so well on the move with an effortless stride. Handled beautifully, he is an example to all of how truly fit for function Pedigree dogs can be.

From the Terrier Group under Stuart Plane came the Border Terrier Ch Otterbobs Tolson, owned by Mr & Mrs Gilpin and the breed choice of Ken Bartlett. A superb example of the breed, excellent size, a real Otter head and expression, in super jacket and spans easily. Moved out soundly at the correct speed.

The Hound Group was represented by the Pharoah Hound Multi Ch Vaskurs moni maker qiwidotter, owned by Mr & Mrs Torres, sent through form the breed by Ken Sinclair and then the group by Serena Parker. This bitch has certainly made a name for herself this year and I can totally understand why. She is presented in tip top condition, has a classic outline with the most wonderful head and expression. Balanced in angulation, with a superb topline.

Gundogs saw the Blue Roan Cocker Spaniel Sh Ch Oktumi Opalescence, owned by Dr Collin and Mr Wildman. The breed being judged by Gavin Robertson, she was the group choice of Kathy Moores. A real favourite of mine and I have placed her highly before. The epitome of Cocker type, she has the most beautiful head with soft expression. She is a perfect size, superb for neck into shoulder and a strong topline with that typical rounded rump. Presented masterfully and she has the most endearing temperament with that ever-wagging tail. Moves with true bustle. A real delight.

From the Working Group under Albert Wight came the Saint Bernard Ch Chandlimore heartbeat, owned by Mr Deegan and Ms Grainger and judged in the breed by Tom Johnston. What the Chandlimore kennel has done in this breed is to be commended and should be recognised. Not an easy task in a giant breed. But to produce such soundness combined with true breed type is nothing short of phenomenal. This bitch has had a wonderful year and she truly deserves the many accolades. She is truly a delightful example of the breed. She has size and substance yet retains femininity. Handled sympathetically and presented in absolute first-class order. In profile she was delightful, using herself so well, keeping her topline and a typical outline for the breed. She was truly so close for a top award.

My Reserve Best In Show winner was Leila Tarabad’s Toy Group winner, who coincidentally was also judged in the breed by Ken Sinclair. This being the Chinese Crested Ch Habiba Hold My Purse, owned by Mr Dunlop. I have previously given this bitch a group and so it was no surprize that I rate her. Having bred this breed for many years, I know how hard it is to produce something this special, and she truly is. She has the most wonderful head, ears and expression. She is totally balanced in angulation with a tabletop topline. She is the perfect size with glamorous, but not over the top, furnishings. On the move she comes alive, and she put on a wonderful performance tonight. Reach and drive, head held high with Crest and tail flowing. A real show girl, she is one of the greats the breed has seen. Presented with wonderfully soft and supple skin. Can never be overlooked.

Best In show tonight had to be special and the winner of the Pastoral Group is certainly that. This being the Australian Shepherd Ch Brighttouch drift the line through Dialynne (Imp), owned by Mrs Raymond, Mr Shaw and Mrs Kirtley, sent through from the group by Ben Reynolds-Frost and the breed by Jill Peak. This years Top Dog of All Breeds and there is no denying him. Having now had my hands on him I can totally understand why 2023 has been his year. Firstly, he is so well constructed, his expression is a delight, he is all male and has substance without coarseness. He was also so fantastically muscled and conditioned. His presentation is a masterclass with not a hair out of place. Add to this handling of the highest order and you’ve got the perfect package. He is a dog that all of us would kill to have bred, owned or had the opportunity to show. On the move he is simply breath-taking, being foot perfect and moved at the correct pace. He could work all day and still have more to give. So light on his feet and holding a typical outline. If I am totally honest, I would have loved to have found something new to give BIS too. But we are here to judge dogs on the day and to have denied him the top spot would have been a criminal injustice. On this form he is almost unbeatable, the ultimate show dog and the most wonderful example of his breed.

Thank you LKA for a wonderful show and finale.

Lee A S Cox (Judge)