• Show Date: 06/08/2023
  • Show Type: Championship Show
  • Judged by: Melanie Harwood Contact Judge
  • Published Date: 20/04/2024

Paignton & District Fanciers' Association

Breed: Poodle (Miniature)

Paignton & District Championship Show

Miniature Poodle Critiques

Judge Melanie Harwood

Thank you to my steward for doing a sterling solo job, to the exhibitors for taking the time out of their busy schedules, and to the committee of Paignton, thank you for the invitation, I had a lovely day. I had a decent entry for both considering the location and although Toys had the lesser entry numerically, their overall quality was a much higher standard than the Miniatures and as Miniatures are my size I find this very sad to see.

I had to think long and hard about how I was going to write this critique. A sugar coated critique I feel is not going to help Miniatures move forward at all and I feel I have to be honest about the direction this size is heading in. Miniatures are my size, the size I am totally passionate about and I am fortunate as I have grown up with this size to see some very beautiful ones over the years but what I have had my hands on today has left me feeling somewhat concerned about the future. The heyday of large numbers of quality stock in the rings is clearly a thing of the past. Numerically those numbers just don’t exist anymore and I get that times have changed but that does not mean because times have changed there should be a lack of quality!!!

I am hoping that the Miniature exhibitors take this criticism as constructive, it’s not personal and I’m not dog bashing. I’m saying this because it needs to be said, the overall quality of dogs is very lacking!! Where are people going to go to breed, the future is what lies in the rings today and that is a worrying thought. Where does this leave us in 5/10/15 years’ time! Quality males are becoming few and far between leaving those who want to breed their bitches very limited as to where to go. Very few of you either import quality stock from overseas or use them when they become available… why! Sticking to the same gene pool will not improve what you have… Sometime you have to think outside the box! If you breed mediocre to mediocre you are only going to get at best mediocre! I don’t know whether people just have a lack of understanding about the breed and the breed standard or whether they just don’t care enough! I know a few who have no clue about the dogs behind their own dogs in pedigrees and yet see themselves fit to breed litters. I mention the pedigree names of dogs from not so long ago (from the 90’s/00’s) and from the look on their faces I may as well be talking in a foreign language. Use Google, online pedigree databases and the old poodle council yearbooks, these are great resources to start with. Learning what is in your dogs pedigree, knowing the construction of your dog and where to move forward is the basis of where you aim to go in the future. The aim of this is not for any offence to be made but to make people wake up, see that improvements need to happen and to work together for the betterment of the breed before the vitals of the breed become beyond repair.

Heads are becoming a disaster and almost alien like. I am no head fanatic but I may very well start. Plain forefaces with a lack of chiselling, no stops creating a collie head look, no chins making weak under jaws, thick heavy back skulls and round eyes, they are just not nice to see! Go and look at the head of my BOB winner to see an example of a beautiful poodle head, correct eye shape, strength and chiselling to the fore face creating the moulding that gives the desired ‘Poodley’ expression! The expression and ‘look’ a poodle gives you comes from a correctly made head and nearly all these heads are sadly lacking.

Ear leathers are virtually nonexistent, only my dog and bitch CC winner had correct ear leathers. The standard asks for ears to be long and wide and set low, this is been lost in the majority of Miniatures.

Feet, why are Miniatures the worst variety for feet, only 2 Miniatures with good feet today! They need to have good feet to be able to move at their best, bad feet can also lead to weaker pasterns and in turn improper movement.

Miniatures lacking the basics of weight, substance and muscle tone…

Poodles were bred to do a job and they have to have body, muscle and substance to be able to do this, they have to be strong and fit for function. All this combined holds the bones together enabling the dog to use itself to move, if they lack this they are weak and when they are weak their movement is weak and sloppy.

Carriage is a rather important feature of a Poodle. Poodles are natural born showoffs with an air of distinction about them!! When they are bored and lack animation how they carry themselves falls apart, the neck carriage drops, the tail carriage is lack lustre and it all becomes heavy and ploddy. They should be light on their feet effortlessly covering the ground. The show ring, whilst serious, should also be kept fun for them, they will use themselves more when they are enjoying the experience.

Some handlers just need to give themselves a little time to settle and relax themselves and their dog as some were rushing the process in the ring. This is probably down to nerves but just giving yourself a few extra seconds makes a big difference and finding the correct pace to move your dog at, each dog is different.

I would like to finish my preamble on a positive note… to the newer exhibitors in the breed you are to be congratulated as your presentation skills are really improving, in a breed where it takes a long time to understand how to care for the hair and then learn where/how to trim and then throw in the topknot, it takes time, practice and a lot of mistakes. It’s nice to see the newer ones embracing the hard work and making it pay off.


Dog CC : 4601 BROOK, Miss F A Sculbrook Had To Be A Miracle

Res Dog CC : 4626 WHITE, Miss S Chesterhill Easy Lover


Res Bitch CC : 4614 KEENAN, Miss Orlaith Sleepybrook Go Ur Own Way

Best Puppy : 4601 BROOK, Miss F A Sculbrook Had To Be A Miracle

Best Special Beginner : 4615 NASH, Miss A J Antiquarius Clio

Class 2314 SBD (3 Entries) Abs: 0

1st: 4618 PEASE, Miss Rebecca Ubora's The Warrior's Dance, an appealing male who is such a lovely colour of blue. He is pleasing in head and expression with a decent reach of neck, firm topline, very short in back with a good ribcage, good bend of stifle and is well conditioned throughout, for me I would like him a touch longer in back as this will give a longer stride in movement. He presents a good overall picture on the move whilst maintaining his outline. Super coat of good texture which was presented to show off his virtues. A shame his owner didn’t stay to compete for Best Special Beginner.

2nd: 4603 CANN, Ms S M Sunmarca Secret Agent, for me this dog does not present the balanced picture I would like. He is rather plain and heavy in head with a broad back skull; lacking in refinement and chiselling, his eyes are rather large and I would prefer a better expression. He does have a lovely happy attitude to the show ring and has a decent coat texture.

3rd: 4617 PAGE, Miss Sarah Emma Antiquarius Poseidon

Class 2315 MPD (1 Entries) Abs: 0

1st: 4607 CRAWFORD, Miss Michelle Chirae's heaven sent, a smaller type of male who should grow on a little more but despite his smaller frame he still looks like a male. He retains a balanced appearance when stacked as he is short in back with good leg length ratio. He has a pleasing head and expression but I would like a better shaped eye. I would like him constructed better behind, his croup is a touch offset so his tail set and carriage is not as good as it should be, which in turn affects his rear movement as he is lacking driving action from behind. He had a lovely fun attitude to the show ring and was clearly enjoying himself.

Class 2316 PD (4 Entries) Abs: 1

1st: 4601 BROOK, Miss F A Sculbrook Had To Be A Miracle, he is such a lovely proportioned male who is far from the finished picture due to his young age but what I saw today excites me. Such a handsome head and expression, dark expressive eyes and with the best ear leathers of the day! His fore face still needs to chisel out but obviously that will come as he matures. He is so wonderfully constructed in body with the correct depth of chest, and a super reach of neck, well rounded ribcage along with good front and rear angles. He has a good textured coat which was presented to perfection and in a manor that the hair does not need to hide anything on him, what you see is what you feel. His steady, sound and confident performance easily secured him the Dog CC and Best Puppy in Breed. This boy will title with ease. Good luck with him.

2nd: 4620 PRIESTLEY, Miss Natalie Jade Joleena's His Excellency, a taller leaner type than my winner who possesses many qualities to like, he has an attractive head, clean back skull, good dark eye of correct shape and I liked his expression. He’s a late bloomer in body as for me he still needs time to mature to fill out and muscle up throughout but especially in front. His front will benefit from strengthening up which should tidy up his front movement. He has a correctly set tail with nicely angled rear quarters. His coat is impressive for his age and is presented well but I feel a little tailoring back would benefit him.

3rd: 4607 CRAWFORD, Miss Michelle Chirae's Heaven Sent

Class 2317 JD (2 Entries) Abs: 0

1st: 4626 WHITE, Miss S Chesterhill Easy Lover, an imposing type of male who pleases the eye when looking at his overall outline. He is quite the handful for his handler and when he gets a grip of himself and concentrates on the job in hand he gives a few moments of a stylish easy ground covering action while holding his outline but then he gets easy distracted and is kind of feral!!! I do like to see them with personality but he goes full on extreme! He is masculine but for me I would like him cleaner and a little more refined in head throughout and maturity should define his fore face and I would hope make his expression better as that at the moment was not for me. Moderate in neck, good body, well angled and nicely set tail. His coat is still behind his age frame but is presented to advantage. For me he is still very far from finished but showed me enough potential to claim the RCC.

2nd: 4603 CANN, Ms S M Sunmarca Secret Agent

Class 2318 PGD (4 Entries) Abs: 1

1st: 4624 WATKINS, Miss & Mrs Kat & Nicola Montana Devil Made Me Do It, first impressions of this boy is that he’s a nice type, short coupled with excellent coat texture but his head is just not for me. I would like to see his head better balanced, his eye shape was too round and he looked very full in cheeks all of which was not creating the desired Poodley head and expression I look for. He has a good reach of neck, good spring of rib and correct tail set but his feet were very flat today. Was not using himself well on the move today.

2nd: 4603 CANN, Ms S M Sunmarca Secret Agent, a very different type to winner whose head also was not for me and lacked the balance of the winner. Masculine throughout.

3rd: 4617 PAGE, Miss Sarah Emma Antiquarius Poseidon

Class 2319 LD NO ENTRIES

Class 2320 OD (1 Entries) Abs: 0


Class 2321 VD (1 Entries) Abs: 1

Class 2322 SBB (4 Entries) Abs: 1

1st: 4615 NASH, Miss A J Antiquarius Clio, a pleasing type of bitch but for me too much of her for a bitch, she is losing her femininity. She won this class over the others as she moved sounder and her head was more appealing to me than the others. I would like her back to be a touch shorter but she has a good stride when viewing her side movement. Her jacket would benefit from a tailoring back but it is a good colour and texture.

2nd: 4612 HOSKING, Mrs L J Tarquas Wot an Entrance, a brown lady who’s is a bit on the raw side. Her head is rather plain and is lacking in chiselling to the foreface. She has a short back and presents a balanced picture but was a bit all over the place moving. She also needs more coat to complete the picture.

3rd: 4623 TOFTS, Miss Joanna Claire & SIMPSON, Mr Richard BRIGHTEST HOKU

Class 2323 MPB (1 Entries) Abs: 1

Class 2324 PB (1 Entries) Abs: 0

1st: 4622 SARSON, Mrs D & SARSON, Mr G Arrowflight High Society at Dongara, There is lots to appreciate about this girl, she has plenty of promise but its all hidden underneath far too much hair!! She’s right up to size but still retains femininity, she has quite a pretty head and expression, clean back skull and nice shaped eyes. Lovely reach of neck but needs to muscle and strengthen up in front which will give her a better front action. She has such a lovely body with plenty of substance, correctly set tail and good bend of stifle but her feet could be better. Her jacket needs a great deal of tailoring as this will make her look in balance. Coat can change the overall appearance greatly, an easy fix and it will make a big difference to her, less looks more! She does maintain her outline very well on the move with a firm top line.

Class 2325 JB (2 Entries) Abs: 1

1st: 4605 CLARKE, Mrs S M SUMANIA OPAL, a pretty bitch with elegant features. She has a feminine head and expression with a decent eye shape. Good amount of neck, matching angles and correctly set tail. She’s lacking in weight so is a bit narrow throughout and ribs and she lacks fill in front which shows in her front movement, more weight and condition will fill her out and should improve her front action. She has a decent coat texture of good colour.

Class 2326 PGB (5 Entries) Abs: 1

1st: 4621 REEVE-KETTLE, Mrs Kay KIMEDEE HOT LOVE AT VADISIMA JW, A smaller type and actually a lovely size of bitch who is very appealing at first glance and presents a eye-catching outline when stacked. Her head, however, is not my cup of tea. There is good length of back skull, matching the length to fore face but I would like more fill under her eyes. I would like her eyes to be smaller, darker and better shaped. Her fore face refines out too much for me and with the lack of chin does not give me the required head and expression so important for the Poodley expression I look for. She has a decent reach of neck with a very good spring of rib and is in excellent body condition with good muscle and substance throughout but she could stand on better feet. Her front movement is not the best and today she would persist on dropping her head which spoiled her outline. Decent coat texture which is presented really well to show off her virtues. I can see why she appeals to many.

2nd: 4615 NASH, Miss A J Antiquarius Clio, see SBB.

a very different type to winner. Her head is not to my liking, as she is course and heavy in skull and lacks the feminine pretty look, her eyes are too big and round, this combined does not give the desired expression either. Her coat lacks overall finish but is of good texture, she excels in rib and body but I don’t like her tail.

3rd: 4612 HOSKING, Mrs L J Tarquas Wot an Entrance

Class 2327 LB (2 Entries) Abs: 0

1st: 4619 PRIESTLEY, Miss Natalie Jade DONAVIKA POISON IVY WITH JOLEENA, this girl presents a lovely picture but her head is not my cup of tea. There are features to like, she does not fall away under the eyes, has decent strength to underjaw and her eye shape is decent, I just can’t put my finger on why her expression was rather plain looking today. She wasn’t using her neck today and I would like her to have more weight, body condition and muscle tone throughout, she lacks the substance. Lovely tail set and carriage with matching front and rear angles but her feet not good. She presented a balanced outline when stacked but tends to loose this on the move, she starts off collected but soon loses her oomph which affects how she carries herself. Today was not her day and I feel she was affected by the rather uneven ring surface. She is in good coat and is presented well.

2nd: 4613 HOSKING, Mrs L J & ROSE, Miss Penny Tarquas Box of Tricks, a very different type to winner. This bitch does not have the head for me, plain, lacks femininity with no stop, her eyes could be better shaped and her expression just isn’t Poodley for me. Good for body condition, and nicely angled. Moved covering the ground.

Class 2328 OB (3 Entries) Abs: 1


My Oh My she totally screams ‘Poodley’ from every angle you look at her! From the tip of her nose to the end of her tail she is so beautifully put together. Her headpiece is just melting, with clean back skull of correct length, beautiful moulding work to her foreface creating the desired ‘Poodley’ expression I love. She watched my every move with a ‘look’ that only a Poodle can give, almost as if to say you can look but you can’t touch! She is so well balanced, conditioned and muscled throughout, a great example of a bitch with substance and in hard muscular condition. I love the fill of her deep chest and the strong ribcage with her matching front and rear angles. Today she really performed to her best, sound and stylish, covering the ground with ease maintaining her fabulous outline whilst showing some cheeky sass. Amazing coat condition and presentation is first class. This bitch is just so my type and I absolutely loved her. Delighted to award her the CC & BOB but I find it very hard to believe that a bitch of this standout quality isn’t already a Champion, she should be collecting breed wins and troubling the best in the groups that’s how good she is!

2nd: 4614 KEENAN, Miss Orlaith Sleepybrook Go Ur Own Way

On first glance this bitch is really well portioned, she’s beautifully presented to show off her virtues and she really appealed overall but for me she let herself down completely on the move. I think she just woke up on the wrong side of the bed today as I have seen her go so much better, it all looked like it was an effort, heavy footed and ploddy rather than flowing effortlessly around the ring with ease. She has a balanced foreface and back skull with a pleasing expression and good eyes, I would have liked a cleaner shave to her face as she looked a bit rough which didn’t create the clean look I like and altered her expression. Strong reachy neck, decent lay of shoulder, good ribcage and rear angles with a super tail set but her feet are not good. I would have liked her in better weight and muscle tone as she was too ribby for me, I like a covering and for them to feel solid with substance. That said her attributes, proportions and breed type appealed to me more than the other bitches for her to win the Reserve CC.