After the almost continual wet and windy weather we’ve been having for the past few weeks, Crufts literally had the sun shining on them as the weather was (relatively) lovely for all 4 days. This year it was keesies turn to be first in the ring with a civilised start time of 10.00am. Our judge, the well-known all-rounder Robin Newhouse (who last judged at the NoEKC Ch show in 2017) was ready and waiting for the 1st class which was called in just after 10.00am and Best of Breed was awarded at just before 1.30pm.
From an entry of 82 dogs there were 18 absentees (8 dogs & 10 bitches), with 11 dogs entered from Switzerland, Holland, Russia, Belgium, Italy, Sweden, Finland and Germany.
At his first championship show in the UK, winning his first big green card along with Best of Breed was Lucia Menicori’s Ch Repeta’s Easy Rider to Ginevrina (Ch Dungens Nice Guy x Dungen’s Orinda of Repeat) bred in Sweden and living in Italy and who was handled by Gabriele Stafuzza. The RDCC went to the Veteran winner; Miles, Cullen & Brown’s Ch Rossvale’s Legacy for Lekkerbek handled as usual by Joan.
The BCC went to the Veteran class winner, Gill Brunt’s Ch Vanstrand Quantum of Solace (Ednaaron Hawkweed of Vanstrand x Leazehond Starshine Galaxy for Vanstrand) who was also Best Veteran and the RBCC went to the Limit winner, Jane Saunders’ Liefkees Adina (Ch Wund-R y Workin For A Livin at Szaryk (imp USA) x Liefkees Angelika)
Best Puppy was Olwyn Watkin’s Eerondaali Orlando (imp Fin) (Ch Eerondaali Brake Every Rule x Eerondaali Ice Queen) who was handled by daughter Stacy and in the challenge for Best Puppy by Sharon Rose.
Although there were a few familiar faces around the ring, there were quite a few empty seats ringside. As our ring was again right next to the food areas in the corner of the hall, the empty seats were quickly taken up by members of the public to sit & eat their food, which must have been a distraction for some of the dogs.
The North of England Keeshond Club organises the Discover Dogs stand and a big thanks to the 2 legged workers helping me again this year – Lisa McCorrie, Mica Porter, Josh Farthing, Sue Pattison along with some of her family, Sarah and David Murray and Josée Vanhaelen and Erika Desjardins.
Although as usual, the real stars of the long four days though were of the 4 legged variety and ‘being discovered’ for the first time were siblings Fiver, Bear & Zach (aged 9 months) and Brody a rescue, Maddie & Ben, Tenat & Joey with Olympia and Tooin completing the team.
I’m sure that the attendance figures were up on last year’s 160,000+ visitors; as it was surprisingly busy on all 4 days with Friday and Saturday especially being more crowded than it has been for a long time. Lots of people came up to the stand for a keesie cuddle and at some points the crowds were 4 & 5 people deep waiting their turn. The dogs just took it all in their stride, meeting and greeting virtually non-stop all day long.
Wheelchair access to the pens can sometimes be almost impossible especially when the public stand three or four deep and on more than one occasion both Tenat & Tooin were taken out to meet visitors who were thrilled to be able to cuddle them and talk to us about keesies. Being cuddled (whilst laying on her back with legs akimbo) is probably Tooin’s favourite position!!
There was the usual mix of people interested in the breed; both current & ex owners who dropped by to say hallo, but for the first time in a while, not many non-dog owners who were trying to decide if a keesie was the right breed for them. Rather worryingly there were also hardly any enquiries about keesie puppies. People who were enquiring were all aware that they would have to wait for one (hopefully not for too long), but I wonder if our dismal puppy numbers are having an effect on enquiries – it all boils down to supply and demand.
My biggest gripe is usually about exhibitors not clearing up after their dogs on the way to & from the east car parks. This year I have to say was one of the ‘cleaner’ years, probably due to the fact that after all this time, there were finally people stationed by the car park exits handing out free poo bags to everyone. Also there were large skips sited along the walks instead of the disgusting overflowing small waste bins that are usually provided. Let’s hope that the message is finally getting through – to both organisers and exhibitors!