A Brief History
Our first greyhound joined the Ardencote Kennel of ESSs in 1981 and immediately won our hearts 'Boo's' breeder, Anne Fowles-Smith, had decided not to continue showing and so had three seven month old puppies looking for new homes. What a lucky day it was for me when I asked Eve Young if she knew where I may get a nice puppy and she pointed me in the direction of Anne and Harestreak Arrow.
Boo only had one litter, sired by champion Shaunvalley Candour; from this litter a dog went to live in South Africa where he became a champion and we kept a white and blue brindle bitch that we called Ardencote Angel's Jive (Blue) who became a champion in this country for us. The first male greyhound to join us was Shaunvalley Cornelian (Tor) who came from the last litter bred by Frank Brown, Tor gained his UK title. When we tragically lost Tor Elaine & Bob Newsham very kindly let me a dog puppy from the next litter that they bred; Windspiel Northern Spectre (Barney) was a lovely character and sire of the last greyhound to still be with us, the red dog Ardencote Red Admiral. We were also fortunate to make Barney up to his UK title.
Champion Harestreak Arrow of Ardencote D.O.B. 17-09-81
Champion Shaunvalley Cornelian
Champion Ardencote Angel's Jive
Champion Windspiel Northern Spectre
Dumortier's Graal Quest Now and Ever BCC & BOB
To judge at Crufts is a tremendous honour, one which I did not approach lightly, I feel a little disappointed that I cannot enthuse about the overall quality of the exhibits shown this year. It was back in 1985 that I first had the thrill of winning BOB with a Greyhound at Crufts, and getting shortlisted with her in the group. That year there were only 39 exhibitors compared to 52 this year, interestingly just 4 of those were exhibiting both years. Perhaps my memory is clouded but I think that exhibits were much sounder and generally of better quality back in '85 than they are now, if I'm correct this is very sad for our breed and the problem needs to be addressed. Movement was poor and I found it necessary to allow for 'benefit of the doubt' in the dog classes. I am aware that some find the conditions at the NEC less than ideal, I had one myself that simply would not show there, however, far too many came toward me toeing in and often with toes spread and feet flat. In some classes I had to remind myself very firmly to judge the whole picture and not dismiss an exhibit because it was not moving as I would have wished, here it would be easy to get into the old type versus movement argument which I shall not do. For a breed that is not numerically strong hounds varied greatly with many different types. Some heads were weak in muzzle and/or lower jaw whilst one or two others were overdone in muzzle with it almost flanging out towards their nose, bites were good on the whole as was pigmentation, eye colour and expression varied, I found very few that had the kind yet alert outlook that I wanted and some eye shapes were more round than oval. I hope it makes sense if I say that very few heads flowed, somehow they were too sharp, not having the desired chiselling without being angular, some were too wide between the ears whilst others had no stop and were very narrow in skull. Necks on the whole were adequate, with only one or two that I would describe as stuffy, most had a good arch and flowed well into the shoulder. A few were loaded over the shoulder but I felt far more were upright in shoulder with the angle between the upper arm and shoulder blade too great. Short steep upper arms combined with no forechest seem to have become the norm and with this type of construction exhibits were often not filled in enough between their front legs, perhaps this is the fault of the breed standard which does not mention these points, unless new exhibitors/ breeders discuss such things with the more experienced how are they to know that they are desirable? It would seem likely that some of the poor movement is coming from this type of front construction, which is often combined with loose elbows, these and weak pasterns were often found in the exhibits that toed in. The majority of dogs stood on good feet, although as mentioned previously some did seem to have problems gripping the flooring. A few were overly tightly knuckled up and this was sometimes combined with upright pasterns and forequarters, one or two others were very long in toe and down on pastern. Toplines varied from too flat through to the rise over the loin being too far forward and exaggerated, a few fell away with the tail set on too low. The majority however achieved the required slight arch over the loin and found their length from the ribs rather than this area. Hindquarters on the whole had the desired strength to give good drive, sweep of stifle and second thigh were good on most exhibits although some did seem to crouch behind and one or two lacked the desired length of second thigh. Viewed from the rear most had good width through thighs and second thighs although some managed to move close behind despite this. The majority of exhibits were presented in very good order, a credit to their owners at this time of the year. I thank exhibitors for the entry and the sporting way that they accepted my decisions, the applause was good to hear. I do hope that my critique will be taken in the constructive way that is it intended.
Spec Jun D 6 (1) 1 Paley & Watson's Windspiel Northern Siberia upstanding wh/r with good head carried on strong neck, good topline, depth and spring of rib, correct bone, powerful quarters which he used to his advantage on the move, just needing to tighten in front RCC.
2 Boggia's Ch Boughton Benvoluto a worthy champion in superb condition, good all through, just lost out on the move.
3 Rowe's Gaysyde Christmas Blues elegant blue made from a different mould to the previous two, needing to make up behind and mature on.
Post Grad D 5 (1) Holtby & Andrew's Xandaleer Éclair bl/wh with pleasing head, good neck which flowed into nice shoulder with good upper arm placement, ribs carried well back, good quarters.
2 Maynard's Talissand Morga Montean rbr nice head and eye, pleasing outline with good depth and balance, just a little loose in hind movement.
3 Rowe's Gaysyde Christmas Storm upstanding mostly white dog with great substance, good head and eye, pleasing topline, presented in superb condition.
Limit D 4 (1) Hargreaves-Savage & Olson's blbr whose colour did not help him under the lights, on close inspection an elegant hound with good head and neck, one of the better shoulders, ribs carried well back but could have more spring, good hind angulation.
2 Lewis's Nothwells Gypsy King very nice balanced black, good all through, moved well.
3 Cook's Patlyns the Rain Man good shape and type let down by feet and pasterns.
Open D 5 (1) Cooksey's Ch Charuzian Al Jarir at Trenson pleasing head and eye, good neck which flowed into good shoulder and upper arm, correct bone and standing on good feet, moved well in profile.
2 Van Den Oetelaar & Roubos' Grandcru Lafite upstanding wh/bl nice head and neck, fair shoulder placement, plenty of bone but a little upright in pastern and over tight in front feet, good spring and depth of rib, a bit flat over loin.
3 Gilpin & Heggs Ch Wenonah the Philanderer in super condition, good body with ribs carried well back, very balanced dog who did not give his all on the move.
Special Racing/Coursing D 3 (1) Lintott's Harmony Spirit classic headed dog in great condition, showed them all how to move.
2 Barford's Raffle Ticket another a great credit to his owner, in super condition and thoroughly enjoying his day out.
3 Parravani's Morning Pride a great dog who ran in the Waterloo Cup the week before, just lost out to the two above on coat.
Veteran D 2 (1) 1 Cook's Ch Patlyns Eye of the Storm 7 ½ yrs young wh/br parti in superb condition, not been one of my favourites from the ringside but on close inspection good all through from his classic head to the tip of his tail, simply the best today DCC.
Spec Jun B 3 (1) Savage & Hargreaves- Savage Mistweave Summer Wine wh/blbr super head and neck which flowed into good shoulder, well balanced with good underline, good quarters, moved well in profile.
2 Newsham's Windspiel Northern Savanna very elegant black with pleasing head and expression, good reach of neck, nice balance and strong quarters which she used to her advantage on the move.
3 White's Gaysyde Christmas Snowfall at Baldrey super type whose just not ready yet, I shall watch her progress with interest. Post
Grad B 12 (2) 1 Newsham's Windspiel Northern Stylus wh/r good through head, neck and shoulder, correct bone and feet, good underline and lay back of rib, moved well in profile.
2 Bartlett's Ransley Simply Gorgrous wh/blbr well named and most unlucky to meet class winner, could change places another day.
3 Judge's Crosswolla Beewitched at Plushcourt wh/blackbr another lovely bitch, very elegant just needs more time to settle.
Limit B 9 (1) (1) 1 Rowe's Patlyns Snow White nice type with a classy head, good outline, well balanced with ribs carried well back, moved with drive RCC.
2 Bayliss' Northwell's Gyspsy Lullaby very sound bitch good all through.
3 White's Crosswolla Viennese Waltz elegant predominately white bitch who did not give her all today.
Open B 8 (1) 1 Dumortier's Graal Quest Now and Ever beautiful rangy black bitch, very elegant whilst having strength and substance, feminine without any weakness, all the curves in the right places, just what I was looking for, flowed round the ring with ease, CC & BOB.
2 Boggia's Ch Boughton Bonheur another lovely bitch and well worthy of her title, elegant head and neck, super profile, in lovely condition.
3 Lewis' Poldory Awake with Joy at Belleek another classy bitch of similar type, just not as bodied up and the previous two.
Spec Racing/Coursing B 9 (3) A super entry for this class it was great to see the dogs having such a nice time in such different surrounding for them.
1 Smith's Pure Heart wh/r with a lovely head and eye, good neck and shoulder and through body, not built on such different lines to our show dogs, moved well.
2 Rhodes Sugar Pink of Jaystown built on smaller lines than winner but still nice bitch who moved well.
3 Chitty's Maddaboy Pearl very fit wh/r again in lovely condition but just a bit wider in front than the first two.
Spec Vet 3 (1) White's Ch Baldrey Here Comes Smartie lovely blue bitch in superb condition, really good all through, one I have given top honours in the past and had she put more into her movement today she would have pushed hard for the reserve ticket.
2 Smith's Pure Heart.
JAN WOOD (JUDGE)