Crufts 2017 Obedience Championship – Almost There

By: Susan & Gemma Henshaw

It’s that time of year again and Crufts 2017 is just around the corner so a look at some of the teams competing on the green carpet this year.

2016 proved to be a good year for the Obedience shows and Ticket classes. We didn’t have any really outrageous weather which meant that no shows had to be cancelled which was surely one headache less for the show organisers and committees.

There are a total of 22 teams qualified through to the Dog Championships with two new Obedience Champions competing in this class.  In the BItch Championships, 24 teams are competing, five more than last year, and there are five new Obedience Champions amongst them.

For the 2016 season the top winning team in the Dog Championship was Geraldine Steadman and Ob Ch Nobite Defence of the Realm, winning 6 tickets in total. Taking the top honour in the Bitch Championship was Linda Rutherford with her Ob Ch Colliewood Confidential, winning a total of 8 tickets.

Bitch Championships

We have two new teams competing at this year’s Bitch Championships after gaining their Ob Ch title with three wins within the 2016 season. The first of these is Anna Herzog with Ob Ch Dumf and Galwy Halligalli, judges agreed that this team’s heelwork is superb, with totally focused handling from Anna and that they are a joy to judge, certainly a team who could shine at Crufts. Then we have the team of Philomena Barnes and Ob Ch Jezzady it’s Snow Floozie, with such an experienced handler to guide her this dog has shown confidence, style and attitude in her work and they have built into a very strong team.

We then have three teams returning to compete at Crufts as new Obedience Champions. Suzy Tooley made up Ob Ch Everush Olympic Flame by winning at Crufts 2016, they then followed that up with wins at Hatchford Brook and Ditton, judges agreeing that this team will have an amazing future.

Jenny Gould and Ob. Ch. Zakanja Beewyched earned their title at Exeter in May, looking through some of the show reports on this team, words such as ‘outstanding’, ‘wonderful to watch’, ‘amazing’ and ‘total commitment from dog and handler’ are often repeated, which seem to sum this team up perfectly. Wendy Birch and Ob Ch Gypton Just Della of Greyvalley, gained their title at Lune Valley under judge Pat Wilson who described their winning round as ‘poetry in motion’. A lovely team to watch, they make the rounds seem easy.

There are several (nine) teams who are making their debut on the green carpet this year, so just a few words on some of them. Starting off with Janet Hackett and Iatka Winter Star at Forestbeck, who won at the Midlands BCC show with a ‘solid and determined round’. Nice to see Janet back at Crufts.

Mary Ray and Sarkam Sings the Blues, gained two ticket wins in 2016, this youngster already showing her drive and commitment, a champion in the making under Mary’s careful handling, certainly one to watch out for. Another new team winning two tickets last season was Caroline Ely and Kywidden Morvena, we think the first Flatcoated Retriever to compete at the Crufts Championships. They earned their tickets at Cippenham and Woburn shows, the rounds were described as pure class, with flowing heelwork, style and grace, what more could you want?

Karen Harrison and Maradonar Echelon gained two ticket wins in 2016 at Winchester and North West Kent. Karen has been striving for many years to win that elusive ticket,  but at Winchester the dream came true, with the team excelling in each exercise. So many if only’s but not on that day.

There surely cannot be many descriptive words left to write about Linda Rutherford and her Ob Ch Colliewood Confidential. They won a total of eight tickets in 2016, making them the top winning team in the Bitch Championships, carrying on with the consistency that they have achieved over the past years. Deemed by most judges as ‘A dog of a lifetime’ and ‘Always a force to be reckoned with’

Kathy Russell has qualified three of her bitches through to Crufts 2017. Sarkam Explicit Image for Ruskath, is just over three years old and is another little powerhouse in the Russell household, she certainly looks to be heading for her Ob Ch title. Then there is Ob Ch Ruskath Makana Image, who always shows style, accuracy and commitment in her work. Last but not least is Ob Ch Ruskath Othentic Image, a fantastic dog who has been there, done it and got the T shirt and still shows the youngsters how it’s done.


Dog Championship

We have just two teams who are competing in this class at Crufts 2017 as new Obedience Champions. Julie Rowlands and Ob Ch Cabals Black Prince, gained their third ticket at Knightswood under judge Fran Herron,. This team always put their heart and soul into their work and it was great to see that he had won his title. Very much a ‘partnership’ when they work, making the rounds look easy.

Ria McGovern and Ob Ch Beckim Surprise Surprise gained their title at Nats in July. They are a team that have grown in confidence and style, always a pleasure to watch with superb handling from Ria allowing this boy to grow from strength to strength.

There are also seven teams making their Crufts debut this year. These include Linda Rutherford and Lupitoonz Limelite Steeler, who earned their first ticket at Lisburn in June under judge Pat Watson, he is showing such potential in Linda’s capable hands, they gained their second ticket at Wigton in August. Jane Bint qualified It’s Jaro’s D’ream at Carmarthen then earned their second ticket a week later at Chadkirk. A dog with attitude and powerful heelwork he looks to have a great future in front of him. Jane has also qualified ‘Zeb’s’ mum Ob Ch ZanyJoy Jumpin Jaro’ for the Bitch Championships so what a weekend they will have.

Nicky Murrell and Sixella Over the Border won their ticket at Winchester under judge Wendy Birch, a cracking round from them that day, showing total commitment to the work. Flowing heelwork and good sets, they triumphed in a high-class competition

Gaining their first win in ticket at Halstead in 2016 was Guus Scholten and Danesway Duet, a strong, keen dog who has drive and style in abundance, carefully nurtured by Guus he could well shine at Crufts. Also, newly qualified in 2016 was Jo Neal and Somerset Ollie, leading the ticket at Worcester for most of the day after a superb heelwork round, pure quality teamwork on show from this pair.

With 6 wins in 2016, making them the top winning team in the Dog Championship, we have Geraldine Steadman and Ob Ch Nobite Defence of the Realm, what a year they have had, producing consistent, quality work, a true partnership in every sense of the word, lovely to watch such commitment from handler and dog no matter what the round throws at them, and at 11 years of age this dog still gives his all.

With 5 ticket wins in 2016 we have the team of Mary Ray and Ob Ch Colliewood Blue Jeans, they always make the rounds look effortless, a pair totally in harmony with each other, another team that have probably had every descriptive word in the dictionary said about them, an illustrious career for ‘Levi’ who so obviously enjoys his time on the green carpet.

Another team with 5 ticket wins from last season is Dot Watts and Ob Ch Ziggdan Zyco, skilful handling bringing out the very best in this beautiful boy who seems to ooze confidence in his work and he is dog who seems to really enjoy showing off what he does best.  Last year’s Crufts winners and with their form they could well be up at the top again this year.

For now, that’s all, until we start putting up the reports from Crufts 2017, we wish all the competitors on the Championship and Inter Regional days the very best of luck.

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