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the doyens of show
A delighted expat Norwegian, Sigurd Wilberg, now long time resident in Wiltshire with wife Kari, owner and breeder of the Smoooth Fox Terrier who topped the IKC Centenary International Ch Show, was thrilled when he received a phone call to say that Warren Bradley had handled their GB Ch Kanix Quintus, to take the Best in Show award under IKC President and Terrier specialist, Sean Delmar. ‘Siggy’ actually admitted to finding it difficult to express himself, most unlike the gregarious and charming Siggy we usually see and so nice to see that, despite his, and his dogs’ many the achievements, he is still humble enough to be excited about this BIS win.

On a first trip to show under IKC rules, for both, I believe, handler and charge, this young dog at just over two years old certainly did the Kanix kennel proud having won his first Green Star with the CACIB and BOB earlier under genial German Terrier man, Hans Erhard Gruttner, a lifetime in Irish Terriers with a plethora of homebred Champions worldwide, and in 2007 recipient of the prestigeous, and not often awarded, Baron von Gingins Memorial medal, the VDH award for outstanding contribution to the promotion  of the breed, so a ‘dyed in the wool’ terrier man. Hans also gave Quintus the winner’s rosette for Group 3 in the company of a quality entry of terrier breeds, and of course Best in Show came from Sean Delmar, who shares, with wife Cathy and son Ross, the family Terrier prefix of Shillelagh, synonomus with top winning Kerry Blues and Smooth Fox    Terriers, now in its third generation and founded back in the 50s by his father, the late Joe Delmar.  For almost 70 years the Delmar family have collected awards for Top Dog All Breeds, Top Stud, Breeder, Top Sire etc, with Shillelagh Kerries taking their titles as far away as Australia.
Report: Joyce Crawford-Manton
: Caroline Reynolds, Alec Douglas, Joyce Crawford-Manton & Patrick Fortune
Irish Canine Press & RMD Images
‘Quintus’ has been handled to many CCs at home in GB, and on his first trip to this island under KC London rules, took Reserve Best in Show at Belfast Ch Show in 2021 when he was just thirteen months old. Around a dozen tickets later, having competed against, and often done the double wih his sister, GB Ch Kanis Quickstep, who, handled by Warren’s young daughter is currently Top Smooth in the breed, with her brother hot on her heels. He was Dog CC and RBIS to Quickstep at the Smooth Fox Terrier Association under long time specialist Margaret Rose who gave his sister BIS, but amongst other wins, Quintus was Reserve Best in Show at Windsor and took a Group third at Paignton.
The Centenary show was held at Navan Racecourse in Royal County Meath, close to Navan and Slane, which is often called Ledwidge Country in deference to Francis Edward Ledwidge, an Irish Poet born in Slane, just about 8 miles from the venue. He was sometimes known as the ‘poet of the blackbirds’, but later, having enlisted in the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers as a First World War poet, sad-ly killed in action in 1917 at Pilckem Ridge at the start of the battle of Passchendael in Belgium, at the age of just 29. One of his quotes certainly would strike a bell with us all nowadays, namely
“Oh what a pleasant world 'twould be,
How easy we'd step thro' it,
If all the fools who meant no harm,
Could manage not to do it!”
But back to our Centenary show, where there were just under 1,300 dogs entered, including just a few for Obedience, and with a mix of Irish and European judges, and the addition of a very large, carpeted marquee, plenty of space to highlight the groups, which were pre judged in the outside rings, then brought into the marquee for the final judging, the show had a great atmosphere and the weather too was much kinder than the weathermen had suggested.. Following the judging of Best Baby Puppy in Show, Best Puppy in Show and also Best Veteran in Show, all by BIS judge elect, Sean Delmar, the stage was set for the finale of a unique event in the history of the Irish Kennel Club, it’s 100th  Anniversary, and something none of us, no matter how young, are likely to witness again, unless someone finds the secret of eternal youth !!
Runner-up at this historic show under Sean Delmar was the Whippet, Pamela and Ryan Hunter’s Mossbawnhill Second To None, made up to champion, I believe on the day, having won all her Green Stars with BOBs and also group placings. Another lockdown baby, homebred ‘Marzipan’ is just turned three years old, and won BIS at both Newtownards and Omagh all breed open shows   before attending her first championship shows, the ‘Mini-Circuit, where she won her first two GSs, BOBs and first Group points with a fourth at Fermoy International, the next day at South Tipperary moving up to third. She won the Group at Dun Laoghaire under June Wall and finished BIS 4th under Joyce Crawford-Manton. Further placings at Bangor, where she was 4th and 2nd at Banbridge the next day; two weeks later she took another second spot and now another Group win, this time under  Eddie Patterson and Reserve Best in Show, taking her to fourth on the GAIN Pet Nutrition/Irish Canine Press group 10 Leaderboard.
Third in Sean’s line-up was the Siberian Husky, Roma Giedraitiene’s multi titled Ch, HR, Neth, Bel, Slo Es, Int Ch Kristari’s Master of Victory, also a Junior Champion and CJW’’16, Amsterdam Winner ‘16, Golden Winner ‘17 & ‘19 and Celtic Winner in both ‘18 and ‘19. Quite a list of achievements for this seven years old dog who was bred in America in the famous Kristari kennels of Sharon Osharow, and has been a consistent winner here at home in Ireland over a number of years. This year alone he has won five groups, starting with the first IKC International show of the year, Celtic Winners back in March, following at Easter by taking the group at both the CCC and National, finishing BIS 4 and 3 respectively. A few months break and then back at Sligo to take the Group and Reserve Best in Show under Christine Chapman from GB, followed by group seconds at the back to back Munster Ag International and Nationals. He was also to go on to win the Group the next day at the Centenary National.
Finally, fourth BIS was the Irish Setter, Cathy Loughlin’s bitch, Sh Ch Rohanmor Along Came Polly, who had earlier taken her first Group win of the season, having taken 3rd at Deise back in June, and she is a Junior Champion and took the Celtic Winner 22 title in March; her kennelmate Sh Ch & Int Sh Ch Rohanmor It's All About Alfie, Jun Ch, CW ‘17, who topped the breed in '16 '17 and '18, with the Annual Champion title, was Best Veteran in breed and the next day, with Polly winning another Green Star, ‘Alfie’ won the RGS.
Best Puppy in Show at the International was also decided by Sean Delmar, and his winner caused considerable applause around the large, green carpeted ring inside the marquee, with the lively Portuguese Water Dog, Anakin Skywalker Nadarium, just seven months old owned by handler Flo Fahey and Joe Shire, impressing Sean greatly and taking the main rosette. Sky was bred in Norway by Even Storskogen Prydz, and has won Best Baby Puppy in Show no less that five times at all breed championship shows, Sligo under Christine Chapman UK,  Munster Ag Int., under Paul Stanton from Sweden and the next day at their National event under Irish judge, Ralph Dunne, Clonmel, on the Munster Circuit under Madelene Rainey from Co Antrim, and finally Tralee under Johnny Muldoon. Runner up meantime was Felicity Thompson’s Whippet, eight months old, Barnesmore Weapon Of Choice, handled by Mum, Lucinda and bred by Felicity and another top prospect from this well known Whippet and Hound kennels in Co Down. Moira Farrell’s home bred Shetland Sheepdog, Moifara A Million Dreams, was third placed, and is just eight months, whilst Oakswarren Lightnin' Strike For Cooley, the new Hungarian Vizsla on the block at Cooley kennels, at just six months old took fourth place for owner handler Sinead Taggart.
The IKC Partners and long time sponsors GAIN Pet Nutrition, was represented on the day in the photographs by Sean Martin, Jim Treacy and Adrian O’Keffe, who were on hand over the two days to advise exhibitors on their dogs’ nutrition etc., and also pictured with the winners and judge, IKC Presiden,Sean Delmar, was IKC and Show Secretary Karen Murphy, who had been at the Navan venue working tirelessly for most of the week, organising the show and her office, to ensure all went to plan for the two events and who took a brief break to be at the BIS ring for the finale.
I wonder what the dog world and show scene will look like in 2122?? A further hundred years down the line for the Irish Kennel Club and for mankind in general. Things evolve so quickly now and it seems that with ‘global warming’and climate change, we cannot even imagine what our countryside will look like, never mind our beloved dogs. Will we still have our pedigree breeds as our major interest, or will the designer dog take over ? With the advances in science likely by then with genetics, cloning etc., will a dog ‘breed’ be available to order to man’s choice, all sorts of ‘doodles’ to suit the lifestyles likely then? The words a hundred years ago slide glibly off the tongue, but when you think that this time 100 years ago, it was less than 20 years since the Wright brothers had taken their first flight (in 1903) and commercial flights didn’t really catch on until the fifties; now we fly all around the world (to judge) and think nothing of it !! Cars were also uncommon at the start of the century, rather they only became relatively common after WWII, and even then, not everyone could afford one; nor were there roads back in the late 19th and early 20th century, as before cars, there was not a great need for them ! Now every household has at least one car, many have two or more, and we drive across continents without even thinking twice, and driving to dog shows every weekend is just commonplace; though I know that trains were a major mode of travel to shows back in the forties and the Belfast to Dublin, and Cork to Dublin rail lines got many a dog to shows to make it’s title! I don’t remember, but I have photographic evidence of attending my first ever IKC St Patrick’s Day Ch Show, courtesy of a pavement photographer in O’Connell Street, at just over four months old, pushed in a pram by my Mother, with my Father and his Blue Roan Cocker Spaniel, Border Venture, aka ‘Sean’ leading the way from the train station, walking to, I presume RDS, and the return journey would have also been that long walk.  How many of us now would have been so keen as to make that journey ???
It might be worth remembering the sheer dedication and determination of those who came before us, and how only the privileged and wealthy were able to go to a show in style, the rest and doubtless the majority and backbone of the growing sport or hobby of showing dogs and breeding healthy animals to the breed standards then, using ‘Shanks’ Mare’ as their mode of travel in a time when dogs were still accepted on public transport without question.
And so it was that a dainty little Whippet bitch was transported, by road, all the way from Germany to Ireland, and thence to County Meath and Navan Racecourse where she was to charm all she met; Multi Int Ch One In A Million of Gentle Mind first won BOB under Jurate Butkiene, all breeds judge from Lithuania, founder member of her country’s Kennel Club and current member of the Judges’ Committee, who believes strongly in fit for function, an attribute she obviously found in spades in ‘Cookie’, as she awarded her the big rosette for Group 10, sending her on for BIS judge, Evelyn Hurley, IKC Vice President and all breeds judge, who  gave her the accolade of Best in Show. Evelyn has spent much of her life in dogs, having been involved at various levels for over fifty years. Starting with her own breeds, Tibetan Spaniels, Cavalier King Charles and King Charles Spaniels, she served as secretary of both breed clubs for over forty years, and has been the hard working Secretary of the Irish Toy Dog Society for over thirty years. A member of An Ard Chomhairle, the governing body of the Irish Kennel Club since the early eighties, Evelyn has held several committee positions, namely on the Judges’ Committee and the General Purposes Committee, (now ‘the Board’ of the IKC) of which she has both been the Chair and Vice Chair, and laterly was voted in as Vice President of the IKC, a position she has held for a number of years.

‘Cookie’ was bred in Germany by Werner Demmerling, Joachim Bartusch and Bilah Khan, who also handles her.  Really ‘one in a million’ she was Best Whippet Puppy in Germany in 2019,  following up in 2020 and 2021 as Best Whippet in Germany, and, apart from being a German Champion, she also took her Swiss and International titles. A multi BOB, Speciality BIS and Group winner, this was Cookie’s first All Breeds achievement and Bilah was delighted it was at such a prestigous event and on a truly memorable occasion in a country in which he has become a welcome visitor, exhibiting and winning awards with his quality Hounds and Gundogs on regular trips over the past few years.
Evelyn chose for her Reserve Best in Show the winner of Group 7 at just his sixth Ch show, Tom and Ann-Marie Mervyn’s homebred German Shorthaired Pointer, Tomanipoint Bo Duke, who earlier won his sixth Green Star on the trot since his debut at Newtownards back at the end of July. His first, and only UK Ch Show was Richmond, where he won the Reserve CC.  Although bred by Ann Marie and Tom, Bo lives with Gareth Blair, who keeps him fit and well and is responsible for turning him out in tip-top condition for Tom to show him. He had earlier won BOB under Irish, and newly ap-pointed all breeds judge, Eddie Patterson.
Eddie is President and show manager of his local Newtownards all breeds Ch Show; he started judging at open level under KC London rules back in 1992, and awarded his first set of Green Stars in 1998. A Rhodesian Ridgeback afficianado, he and his wife, Gail, who was also judging over the weekend,  have bred and made up Irish & International Champions in the breed and Eddie also handled their bitch, ‘Gypsy’, to her GB title back in the 90s; Ch GB & Int Ch Tombezi Gypsy Girl was the first Rhodesian Ridgeback to hold all three titles and also to win an all breeds BIS, that at Drogheda in 1996. Subsequently they also made up their male, ‘Paddy’ who also has over 100 Green Stars. He has judged throughout Europe, Australia, and South Africa, and also awards CCs in GB in Rhodesian Ridgebacks.
‘Bo’ then went on to win Group 7 under English judge, the much experienced Dr Ron W James, a Veterinary Surgeon by profession, a member of the KC Judges’ Committee, and Secretary of the large Richmond Championship Show for many years, who gives many CCs in Hound and Gundog breeds, and also some across the Utility, Pastoral and Working Groups,  judging the actual Hound, Gundog, Utility and Working Groups with Best in Show.
It had been an exciting weekend for a young Basset Hound, Irish bred Blevwil Kenny Dewitt, owned by his breeders, Roy and Lesley Blevins and their niece, Kelly, as the previous day he had won a well filled Junior Stakes under today’s BIS judge; Evelyn Hurley being the Stakes judge at the International on the first day of the Centenary celebrations, having also won the dog Green Star earlier under Jeff Horsewell, Hound specialist and multi breeds judge from GB. Today he had also taken BOB under Diana Spavin, who also sent him on to the big ring from Group 6. Diana gives CCs in most of the Hound breeds and a good number of Uiility Breeds as well, with eight Pastoral and nine Toy breeds, she is passed to award those four groups under KC London rules. She also shared the famous Beagle prefix of Dialynne with her mother, the late Marion Spavin, multi CC judge so well know and popular throughout the world of dogs for her knowledge and down to earth attitude. The prefix is also known in several other breeds through Diane’s daughter, Mel, with TTs and Aussies predominating.  At the tender age of just ten months, ‘Kenny’ has done more than many dogs do in their lifetime. He started this year at Combined Canine International taking Best Baby Puppy in Show, under Spanish judge Raphael Malo Alcrudo, and then at Fermoy International under GB Judge, Bill Browne-Cole, he re-peated his Best Baby Puppy award, and he was still only five months old! A second place in the Puppy Stakes at Cork followed when he was old enough, and then a Puppy Stakes win at Deise under Billy Henderson in June gave him his ticket to the POTY, to be held next Easter after a three year break. Now he has also five Green Stars under his belt, all with BOB and at the start of his career and not even a year old, third BIS at this prestigious IKC Centenary Ch Show. 

Best in Show fourth went to Ashling Connolly’s homebred Bichon Frise, Ch & GB Ch Ashmair Summer Romance, this year’s bitch Celtic Winner in the breed.  ‘Molly-Mae’ went to her first show in February 2020, and at the tender age of just six months went Best in Show at the Rough Collie Club all breeds open show. Her career was then halted, due to Covid, and like many so promising youngsters, their lives were put on hold for two years, just like their owners. However, it was back to business with the IKC Ch Show in March 2022, and in the ensuing months Molly-Mae has clinched both her Irish and GB crowns and, along the way, she has also collected Group 3 at Sligo & 4 at Tralee, second at Banbridge, then was group winner and RBIS at Carlow, Group winner at IKC Centenary Int and now her third group with BIS four; currently she is up to 4th spot on the ICP/GAIN Pet Nutrition Leaderboard.
Evelyn also had the opportunity to go over, and decide who was best, from the array of Best Baby Puppies from their many and varied breeds, and coming out on top here was Dionne Fitzsimons’ Dobermann Pinscher, Fitzkin Keep ‘Er Lit, born back at the start of May and a daughter of her Ch NL & Int Ch Sant Kreal Hugo Bozz iz Fitzkin, and just four and a half months old. Runner up spot went to Abbie Coogan’s Tibetan Spaniel, Wanheda Lexa at Glenbrook Ilharess, imported from the Ilharess kennels of Ilona Windak, another four and a half months old prospect for high honours, chosen by breed specialist, Evelyn, whose own Lahume kennels have enjoyed many decades of success. Third in Evelyn’s line-up was the Golden Retriever, Kellie and Kerry Kelly’s Fairwinds In Motion with Zenevieva, yet another four months old who was imported from GB by this successful Mother & Daughter team, with fourth place going to the Pekingese dog, Ray O’Neill’s Trendylook Clinton Bugatti.

Sponsored by IKC partners, GAIN PET NUTRITION, represented over the weekend and in the photographs by Sean Martin, Jim Treacy and Adrian O'Keeffe.
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