- Show Date: 11/03/2023
- Show Type: Championship Show
- Judged by: Lesley McFadyen Contact Judge
- Published Date: 28/07/2023
CRUFTS 2023 BITCHES
Wow! Wow! Wow! I can still remember the thrill of walking in to the ring as a judge for the very first time, where bizarrely the dog that I awarded Best of Breed was bred by my co-judge today, and then the thrill of judging overseas for the first time, judging dogs I was completely unaware of, but being invited to judge at Crufts is a level above and I am so indebted to everyone that entered, bringing their bitches from far and wide for my assessment – what a compliment. My thanks must also go to my good friends and very capable stewards, Karen and Martin Johnson, for their invaluable support both before and on the day, and to all the many people who sent supportive messages in the lead up to the big day.
Let’s get the negatives out of the way first. I was surprised and disappointed in fitness levels on some of the exhibits. This is Crufts and the one thing you can do that may just edge you a place is make sure the dog is turned out in the best possible condition; pointless choosing your own outfit with care but not doing the same for the dog. With regard to conformation of the dogs, there were no mouth faults that were of any real significance, whilst I reported in my post judging KC report a small number of ‘misplaced canines’ I did quantify the statement with the comment that, in my opinion, none were bad enough to cause the dogs any major problems. There were a few with untidy dentition or an odd worn or broken tooth but as Staffords I dismissed that. On the day I was looking for bitches that were balanced in both head and body, with correct bone and substance, well muscled and showing drive on the move. Temperament is paramount and was evident in abundance. My main concern was that I did unfortunately note a significant number with narrower nostrils, also a fair proportion with less than ideal length of sternum and spring of rib. If not addressed the restricted intake of breath via those nostrils and a lack of sufficient room for lungs to expand within that chest cavity could cause the breed unnecessary problems. I urge breeders to consider these elements when looking for suitable dogs for their breeding bitches, and to stud dog owners when agreeing to matings.
On the plus side, how wonderful to see so many happy dogs, tails wagging and interacting with their handlers. The young handlers were superb, dressed as smart as a dart, attentive to their dogs and ensuring they were presented to perfection. The future is bright knowing they are involved.
Having judged the bitches, my discussions with my co-judge David Levy, for the ‘bests’ were amicable although we both stood our ground for our CC winners and the Group Judge was called upon as referee to decide on Best of Breed, which he awarded to the bitch Catstaff’s If I Had a Heart. David and I agreed on Best Puppy, which went to the very promising bitch pup Elitebull Skyefall, and for Best Veteran, the handsome dog Ch Biggleswick Splash of Ginge. Congratulations to all and my very best wishes to every one of you that entered for the future
VETERAN (13, 3 abs)
How lovely to start with the experienced veterans, they certainly set me up for the day!
1st CH BECAUSE I LOVE YOU TERRYSTAFF (Drahosova Pauderova)
Time flies but beauty remains eternal. Her dark eyes drew me in and I fell for her charm, a strength of underjaw and neat ear carriage completes the typical Stafford look. With good bone and substance and a body that has retained her shape, this bitch and her handler certainly knew how to show off her attributes; a great team. She stands foursquare with well-padded feet and moves true both fore and aft. Today she topped a class of seasoned campaigners, each one reminding me why I love this breed so much. All Stafford bitches tug at my heart strings but one with some silver hair and a little confidence that says they have ‘been there and done that’ even more so!
2nd ELITEBULL DESTINY (Desmond)
This bitch is a bit less of a package all round than the class winner with a more compact body but a little less drop of brisket. Her head shape is defined without exaggeration and enhanced by her coal black eyes and clean lips. Her black brindle coat gleamed with vitality. She certainly doesn’t look, or act, like a veteran, and had a spring in her step throughout the class, her width of rear offering the power on the move
3rd TUSSELSTAFF ONE CARESS (Lockey)
As always when judging compromises come in to play, and whilst this bitch had more spring of rib than the 2nd placed, she had slightly less rear angulation. An upstanding and well put together bitch, she displayed a firm topline and was another that has certainly lost none of her virtues with age
Res SE/NO/DK/NOR Ch JODDRICKS POKER FACE (Ström)
VHC CH TRAWDEN ICE AND SPICE JW (Roper & Harrison)
MINOR PUPPY (2)
1st KAMARISTAFFS ROYAL GEM (Plumstead)
Nip and tuck all the way between these two black brindle litter mates and I daresay their owners will have fun and friendly competition along the way with them. My view on the day was that this shapely young lady was cleaner around the head with a smashing underjaw. She has a good lift to her body, showing promise for growth and development and I will watch that with interest. Both of these puppies moved like you would expect with puppies at this stage, showing their character in abundance. Good luck with her – you both looked a picture!
2nd KAMARISTAFFS ROYAL VELVET (Jones)
Although this bitch was shorter in back than the 1st she also has a bit less width to her body, but at this stage that can all change. No surprise they share similarities being litter sisters, they are both blessed with beautiful dark eyes and neat feet. The best of luck going forward – I could tell you are an immensely proud breeder!
1st ELITEBULL SKYEFALL (Cartwright) BEST PUPPY BITCH & BEST PUPPY IN BREED
The very first thing I wrote was ‘so classy’ and that just about sums it up! In a large class of quality exhibits this black brindle bitch stood out, she has style and then some! At this stage she is up to size showing enough bone and substance, upstanding, with a body shape that shows promise to mature on, exactly like a puppy should be. She has definition to her head without exaggeration, is clean lipped with width and depth of muzzle, and is pretty as a picture. A little unsettled on the move but this is a big day for the young ones and I would never expect pups to be ‘foot perfect’; in fact I felt she actually moved better in the challenge for Best Puppy. I have absolutely no doubt this partnership will very soon be even more polished and you will be seeing them at the head of the queue time after time. I am delighted I got the opportunity today!
2nd DELACOUR SWEETEST TABOO FOR IDYLLICSTAFF (Shipp)
On my first look around the class, although I noted this brindle pied bitch, it took the ‘hands on’ examination to really appreciate her. She is absolutely made right, although her markings make your eyes question that, and her joie de vivre means that you have to see her in snatches if she decides she would rather be somewhere else! Although quite different in style from the class winner, she is the epitome of Stafford spirit: keen, alert and on her toes at all times which makes for a fabulous expression. She has a great body shape developing with a lovely sweep to her underline and good width to her backend which showed in the power on the move when she did settle to a walk. She really appealed to me
3rd SKYESTAFF’S THE LIMIT (Hands, Badman & Freeman)
A balanced bitch with decent bone creating a sleek outline, she has a good width to her front which scored for her in this class, although not the length of rib of the bitches in front of her. She was on her toes and keeping her handler’s attention throughout the class - she is hard to ignore
Res SKYESTAFF’S UNSPOKEN (Sandford)
VHC ELITEBULL CONQUEST (Desmond)
JUNIOR (22, 2abs)
1st VIRTUS ET HONOR THE LEGENDARY (Vallin)
This was a large class of decent quality bitches showing differing levels of maturity, which is always the way in the ‘age’ classes so you judge on the day, not with your looking glass. This black brindle bitch is at the younger age of the class scale but nevertheless has all the attributes required and is maturing at a pace commensurate with her age, brisket and rib developing as they should. She is very tidy, a package that appears well put together and with no exaggeration. On the move she presented a clean outline, a level topline and good drive. Her handler certainly knew how to get the best out of her!
2nd BONNIE LASS OF ANGELS PEAK SHAWRIGG JW (Hamilton & Murphy)
A beautifully marked red pied, this bitch has a couple of months advantage on the winner and it shows in body development. She has a lovely width to her skull, clean as a whistle with a great strength to her muzzle and jet black eyes to set off that expression. Every part of her flows in to the next without anything being either too much or too little. I think she possibly wasn’t on her top game today but she definitely showed me enough to know I am excited to watch her progress as if she continues to develop with the promise shown now, she will take some beating
3rd CALLASTAFF FIVE YEARS AT BOWFERRY JW (Quinn)
This black brindle bitch really was turned out in the peak of condition, not only that, she and her handler worked so well in unison. She gave way today on having slightly less width and brisket than those in front of her but nonetheless is a very tidy and typical Stafford. Her coat was gleaming and immaculate, just how a Stafford coat should be: short, smooth and close
Res CREWESTAFF BONNIE LASS (Thorley)
VHC SKYLAND ERUPTION (Miller)
YEARLING (26, 1 abs)
1st CH GOLDWYN SHE’S THE ONE (Wall)
This red bitch is the epitome of strength and femininity, she has class in abundance and made sure today I saw all of her attributes. With some exhibits lacking in bone, that could never be said about this girl; solid but never coarse. She has fabulous pigmentation which ensures she scores heavily on expression. She has a terrific front assembly, stands on neat and well-padded feet and, although a little long cast, she moved out with a level topline, freely and with powerful drive from her back end. A definite consideration in my final line up – I love her!
2nd BULLBROTHERS WILDFLOWER (Foulkes)
I absolutely loved the style of this pied bitch: pretty, happy, with the keenest expression she was enjoying her time on the green carpet. She was less positive in front movement than the 1st placed and her feet not quite so tight, but she is well balanced and showed a firm topline both standing and on the move. If there was one I would’ve taken home at the end of the day this bitch would now be sitting beside me on the sofa!
3rd ALPORT CERRIDWEN LUX JCH (Omar Candela Andujar)
An extremely well turned out black brindle bitch with excellent strength and balance. She has all the attributes needed for a winning Stafford, being compact and firm in outline with no unnecessary flesh around her head, dark eyes and great pigmentation. Her handler at first moved her on too tight a lead, but when asked to loosen it she moved freely showing a good topline.
Res CUP OF PURE BEAUTY INFINITY LOVE STAFF (Mlejnková)
VHC BETHALEESE'S BEWITCHED (Woolley)
UNDERGRADUATE (30, 4 abs)
1st HAPPYSTAFF KISSES OF FIRE (Buchan)
Bizarrely the biggest class of the day and there was a large variation of size and quality so this class was quite a conundrum. However, in both this class and the next, this bitch was the standout winner for me. As an overall package she has all she needs, perfect proportions, enough strength but feminine and with overall style. Front on she presents a lovely frame, upstanding with strong pasterns. There is no fleshiness about her and she has great cheek muscles with strength of underjaw evident. She could do with more muscle tone in her backend and her handler tended to overextend her at the back but she moved with freedom and purpose and couldn’t be denied her pole position
2nd SIKAISTAFF ALL OF ME (Bowman)
This pretty black brindle bitch had a bit less all over about her than the class winner but still appears balanced. She has a good width and depth of skull although her muzzle is slightly narrow, but her expression is spot on with neat ears, carried perfectly. Her neck is short and strong enough, shoulders angled well, with shape and definition to her body. She was presented in excellent condition with lovely coat texture so truly earned her place much to her handler’s surprise I think!
3rd NORTHSTAFF BAY BOMBER FOR CROWSTAFF JW (Crawford & Wilson)
Another bitch sporting all the right attributes, correct head shape with neat ears and no excessive fleshiness, clean across the shoulders and with correct width, she had less padding on her feet than the bitches ahead of her and a little less hind angulation. She was presented really well and looked good from all angles
Res JUNOSTAFF SPLISH SPLASH (O'Sullivan)
VHC CASAILS YOU ARE MY SUNSHINE (Emery)
GRADUATE (21, 3 abs)
1st HAPPYSTAFF KISSES OF FIRE (Buchan)
1st in Undergraduate class
2nd CUP OF PURE BEAUTY INFINITY LOVE STAFF (Mlejnková)
Placed Reserve in yearling, this black brindle bitch is of a decent size but could do with better bone to balance. She has good shoulder placement and neat feet which meant that when moving she moved freely, and enough width and shape to her rear end to show drive, carrying her tail correctly
3rd NIATONA PANDORA’S BOX TO ELITEBULL JW (Desmond)
Whilst being a bigger bitch all over than the two in front of her she is still feminine and was presented in fabulous condition. A well marked red pied, she has a striking expression with coal black eyes and strength of underjaw. She was another that held her topline when moving and showed great rear drive ensured by her width and strength of developed back end
Res LEGACY STAFFORDS ONE SPIRIT FREE LILU (Imp Fra) (Higginson)
VHC FOYLLFORSDAL AN DUI RE (Campbell)
POST GRADUATE (19, 6 abs)
1st FOYLLFORSDAL BEAN SI (Campbell)
In a class where there was quite a divergence of type, this brindle bitch certainly scored highly in just that department. She is Stafford through and through. She has a decent skull shape in both width and depth and a noticeable underjaw. Her front assembly is true and she stood on great feet, with enough bone and substance without being overdone anywhere. Her ribs are sprung with a proper length of ribcage and coupling leading to a sturdy rear, although the handler did tend to extend her back legs a little further than necessary. On the move, however, it was easy to see the way her parts all combined to make her the honest Stafford bitch that she is.
2nd NIATONA MISS BATTY (Rutherford & Taylor)
This red bitch is another that has everything she needs in all the right proportions. For me, the dark mask just enhances her lovely expression, showing off the defined yet feminine head properties. The width across her front is something that was missing in quite a few today, and the correct shoulder angulation meant that on the move she was true, though the slightly firmer topline of the 1st placed came in to play in my decision. Bodily, she has correct spring of rib and width of back end, with good rear angulation; overall, a bitch to be proud of
3rd ASSILIO STAR TURN (Corti)
A lovely red bitch full of breed type with excellent head properties and strength of muzzle, though today she had to concede on width of front and less positive forward movement. What did appeal particularly was her firm topline, coupled with the well-angled rear which meant she moved with drive from behind whilst sporting correct tail carriage
Res SKYLAND RATATOUILLE (Miller)
VHC INVERQUINZY SPARKLING STAR (Wallace)
MID LIMIT (11, 3 abs, 1 w/d)
1st GEORDIESTAFF NEE BOTHA JW (Hall)
A neat and tidy bitch, all in balance. She has typical head proportions, strong enough with no exaggeration and a noticeable underjaw. Her front is of decent width with drop of brisket and her feet are padded and tidy. On the move she held her tail in the required ‘pump handle’ position which was not always evident across the classes
2nd ECLYPSTAFF STRANGE MAGIC FOR CASAILS (Emery)
This bitch is another that is strong yet but definitely feminine. Her skull is broad and deep with a proportionate muzzle strength. She could be a touch wider in front but has good depth to her body and spring of rib which was very pleasing. She was up on her toes with strong pasterns and a smashing back end. When she set off around the ring she held her topline, carried her tail correctly and showed stylish and free movement with definite drive. Altogether a really lovely dark brindle bitch of quality
3rd LABRASTAF AFTER DARK AT BINDYESTAFF (Efreme)
There was a bit less all over about this bitch but she still shows balance and breed type. She was turned out in good nick with tight feet and great coat condition. Today she wasn’t very animated and I feel tried to hide her virtues
Res WAYSTAFF WHAT'S THE CRACK (Stanway)
VHC AUCHDARAN MY MEGGY SUE (Marsden)
LIMIT (15, 5 abs)
1st CATSTAFF`S IF I HAD A HEART (Arntzen) CHALLENGE CERTIFICATE & BEST OF BREED
In a class full of lovely bitches it was a great challenge to sort them out. This one demands your attention – I defy anyone to walk past her in a line up. She has such perfect and balanced head proportions, noticeable cheek muscles, a stunning expression, clean lipped and with dark eyes. The balance from one area to the other is evident. She has enough lift, enough bone, enough width, enough strength and as much as she isn’t lacking anything, neither is she exaggerated in any area. The neatest of well-padded feet, a topline you could balance a cup of tea on, a sweeping underline and required spring of rib all flowing to her back end which has great width and angulation and certainly came in to play when she moved out. Once she settled she moved with effortless ease and panache; my star of the day!
2nd SIKAISTAFF DARK PHOENIX (Bainborough)
There are similarities between these first two exhibits and this bitch has a classic head shape with distinct stop and great development of cheek muscles, good width of muzzle and clean lines throughout. I loved her expression and swagger, but she lost out to the class winner on topline today, though it has to be said she has great balance, showing the required width and depth in all departments and, in my opinion, she could always be in consideration. A polished performance from both dog and handler!
3rd SKYESTAFF SHE CONQUERED JW (Hands & Freeman)
What a lovely typical black brindle bitch this one is. Although a little narrower in front than the winner and with less depth to her brisket, she certainly epitomises Stafford – don't ever let her lose that spirit! As with all the bitches exhibited by this kennel today, the effort put into their condition was evident
Res BOLDSTOCK WHO’S BOVERED NOW (Canavan)
VHC BRIGANAH DON'T STOP ME NOW (Roberts)
OPEN (31, 8abs)
1st GAZSTAFF'S BLACK VELVET AT SKYESTAFF (Hands & Freeman) RESERVE CHALLENGE CERTIFICATE
An absolute belter of a class to judge with quality throughout and on first look around I can’t honestly say this bitch was my winner, but on examination she just showed me exactly why she had to win. Black brindle as her name suggests, she has balance and strength with a superb body shape, flowing from one area to another, she moved out with drive and verve. This bitch has a wicked and demanding expression, housed in a strong skull without exaggeration. Her strength of bone and body are to be commended and today this and her condition blew me away and was the absolute deciding factor in her placing. Keep doing what you are doing with her – she is lovely
2nd CH ELITEBULL MOJITO AT NETTLEWORTH (Parker)
There were a fair few close decisions to be had today and this was one of them. This bitch has everything possible going for her, from her balance and style to her melting expression and performance, which was polished and professional. She has enough width to her skull and muzzle, showing a defined stop, fabulous pigmentation, and such flowing lines to her shapely body, which were emphasised when she moved effortlessly
3rd CATSTAFF SAY GOODBYE (Arntzen & Mcdermott)
Another top-drawer black brindle bitch, with a broad skull, clean lipped and great width and depth of underjaw. In this very close-run class she had to give way to bitches that had neater feet and better muscle tone but that certainly isn’t to say that any of those placed today (and a number of those unplaced) aren’t super, just that decisions have to be made and sometimes, as my dear Dad used to say, can be ‘as close as a fag paper’
Res CH LOYALSTAFF BELLA BAMBINA AT EASTREET (Turley)
VHC CH ROSSOBULL UPSY DAISY (Kendall)
GOOD CITIZEN (11, 1 abs)
I have to mention how pleased I was to see this class so well supported. As a class it should always be taken seriously. These exhibits have not only qualified for their place at this most prestigious show but have also gone further in showing that they have brains as well as beauty. All credit to their owners!
1st CH ROSSOBULL UPSY DAISY (Kendall)
A classic bitch, placed VHC in a very strong Open class who is so well balanced, with a classic, defined headpiece, with good spring and depth of rib and a very shapely outline throughout. I particularly admired her substance and solid, round bone. Her coat is fabulous, with clear brindle markings and with her obviously happy disposition she showed herself to advantage throughout.
2nd ILLORI CONSTELLATION JW (Rowe & South)
A pretty bitch, with clean lines, a strong underjaw and good pigmentation, she could benefit from a little more bone. Her front assembly has good width and she stands on neat feet, although she was less positive in her front movement than the 1st, nevertheless she drove out well from behind and showed good definition in her body proportions
3rd LEGENDSTAFF SWEET LADY CUM GEORDIESTAFF (Imp Esp) JW (Hall)
A very typical black brindle Stafford bitch with a pleasing outline and expression, a touch narrower in front than the two ahead of her today, she has a decent drop of brisket and neat feet
Res ILLORI CAMIYAH (Harris)
VHC SKYESTAFF DREAM BIG (Badman)
Lesley McFadyen (Judge)