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It was Tino Pehar from Croatia who put the paws of Cathrina Dunne’s Shetland Sheepdog bitch, Ch & GB Ch Longrange Caílin Dubh, on the winning ladder when she was just two and a half, giving her Best in Show at the Combined Canine Club’s National Championship Show over Easter weekend 2022. That year, ‘Katy’ went from strength to strength here at home, with further group and BIS wins and also across the water, winning CCs and group placings, and both her Irish and GB titles. She was runner-up Group 1 on the Leaderboard that year and at the Champion of Champions 2022, which was not held in ’22 but hosted this December at DDSS with their Ch Show, ‘Katy’ was crowned Champion of Champions 2022.  She has followed on this year, taking group placings at no fewer than 21 All Breed Championship shows, with 9 Group firsts leading to Best in Show at Kilkenny, and Reserve BIS at Munster Canine Ass, and Munster Agricultural, BIS 3 at both Sligo and DDSS Summer show, with BIS 4 at CCC National and Clonmel, 585 points for these wins making homebred Katy top of Group 1 and overall top dog.
Close up to Katy was Stewart Cummings’ Pointer, Sh Ch Hipoint Foreign Affair with Sevenhills, Group 7 winner on the Leaderboard with a BIS at Banbridge, Group winner and Reserve BIS at both Sligo and Bangor, with further group wins at Coleraine and IKC Autumn National where he finished BIS 3, and Swords, Munster Ag Int and Clonmel. Other placings bringing him to 565 points. These two actually tied on the IKC Legacy Leaderboard on 420 points.
Topping Group 2 was Billy Henderson’s Dobermann Pinscher, homebred Ch Tuwos Mr Bombastic; this young dog has five Group wins, leading to Reserve BIS at Cloghran in November, a BIS 3 at Deise and BIS 4 at Sligo Int. His points were gleaned from further group wins at Clonmel and Bangor, with other placings along the way, making his score 315. He has enjoyed success under RKC rules too with 2 CCs under his belt in ’23.
Group 3 saw the lightly shown Miniature Bull Terrier, Wojciechowski’s Ch Coxgal Erin Go Bragh, at the top; owned in Poland but handled in Ireland by breeder, Ger Cox, who has taken him to 305 points, collected by winning Best in Show at Hibernian and Reserve BIS at Tralee after a break from the shows from the end of June, through to Tralee, BIS 3 at both Combined National and Fermoy International, and the group at Combined International. As this dog is not actually owned in Ireland, he may not compete in the Irish Kennel Club’s Top Irish Showdog competition, but no such restriction applies to the Gain/Irish Canine Press Leaderboard, so he will be the recipient of the crystal for topping group 3.
The Long Haired Kaninchen, Gary McAlpine’s home bred Ch Lampcien Stud Muffin, topped the Dachshund group 4; with twelve group placings, he took the top spot at IKC St Patrick’s Int, Kilkenny, Munster Ag Int and Munster Ag National, with group seconds at Mid-West, South Tipp, Hibernian and Swords and third at Portadown, Sligo Int and Carlow with a G4 at Combined International, giving him final points of 235. The same score applies for the Legacy Leaderboard and with that he gets an invitation to the IKC Top Showdog Finals.
Winner of Group 5 was Ellen and Joe O’Neill’s Scottish based American Akita, Ch & GB Ch Geilsaven Suzie Que, who, together with siblings and kennel mates, GB Ch Geilsaven Diddley Bo and Geilsaven Toote Sweet, annexed no fewer than nine All Breed BISs on their many family trips across the Irish sea. Suzie took her BIS wins at the first show of the year, this being Combined Canine International, with a further three at the back of the year at IKC Autumn National, Bull Breeds and DDSS on 27th December, a total of four BIS’s, with another Group win at IKC Celtic Winners International, and several other placings, bringing her final score to 380. Her brother Diddley Bo, started his year with BOB and a group second placing at CCC National, won the Group and RBIS at Munster Ag International and a few weeks later he won was Best in Show at Coleraine, with a Group & BIS 3 at IKC International in October to finish off his year. With other groups and placings, his final score was 220. Not to be left out of the great year, Bo’s daughter, Geilsaven Toote Sweet, collected 150 points on the Leaderboard, taking the end of the Munster Circuit by storm, winning Best in Show at both Limerick and Tralee, so a real family affair, with Suzie heading them all.

As Suzie is not domiciled in Ireland, she, like the Miniature Bull Terrier, may not take part in the IKC Top Irish Showdog Competition, but she will collect her crystal for winning Group 5 on the Gain/Irish Canne Press Top Winners’ Leaderboard. With no such restrictions on the title of Irish Kennel Club Dog of the Year, decided on the number of Best in Show and Reserve BIS wins during the year, Suzie will be collecting the rather splendid trophy for this award, much coveted by exhibitors down through many decades since the late Teddy Crofton introduced it through his column in the Dublin based Evening News. The names on that trophy tell the story of canine royalty over many, many years, and adds to the rich history of the Irish Kennel Club.
Another family affair for Group 6, where the Basset Hounds Lesley and Katie Blevins’ Ch & GB Ch Blevwil Kenny Dewitt and his sister Ch Blevwil Ivana Twinkle, Kenny just pipping her at the post scoring 265 to her 210, though Ivana just beats him by 10 points on the Legacy leaderboard….. Kenny took seven group wins last year, starting his run in June at the re-run IKC St Patrick’s Day International, then again at Deise, with Munster Ag Int next where he finished BIS 4, before topping Newtownards and taking home the BIS rosette. The IKC Autumn International saw another Group win with Reserve BIS and the following day made the group his own before finishing the year with his 7th such win. Ivana, by the way, started her year much earlier at Combined Canine Club International, winning the group and finishing BIS 3, subsequently taking the group again at Portadown, with a plethora of placings throughout the ensuing months with another group win at Dun Laoghaire.
The Golden Retriever, Emma, Bette and Frank Archibald’s Sh Ch & GB Sh Ch Abinvale Arrieta, eleven group placings in this highly competitive group last year adding up to 290 points; a group win at South Tipp, followed by the same at Hibernian, where she finished Reserve Best in Show, then another group first at Munster Canine, another at Kilkenny, then Munster Ag Int and Bull Breeds, with BIS 3. Other group placings made up the numbers to allow her to collect the group 8 winner’s crystal.
The Medium Poodle, Orlaith Keenan’s homebred Ch Sleepybrook Go Ure Own Way, topped Group 9 with 245 points (225 on the Legacy scoreboard). Group winner with BIS 4 at Hibernian followed by the same result at Swords, with other groups at Sligo Int., Newtownards and Cloghran, she also took Group seconds at Banbridge, Munster Ag and Tralee, and Group third at Portadown and Kilkenny, and a fourth at Coleraine, brought her to the top here, so another recipient of crystal, presented by Gain and Irish Canine Press.
Lastly, but not the least, Group 10 winner was the Afghan, Ch & Int Ch Valkor Vritra, who featured regularly in the group around the shows. Owned by Lyn Appleby, John Minchin, Jane Edwards and Mary Mulvaney, and handled by Mary and Lyn between them, won his first group at South Tipperary, and his final at Cloghran; in between he won at Bangor, finishing BIS three and also annexed the group at the IKC Autumn International. Several group seconds, thirds and fourths ended with a score of 250, an engraved piece of crystal and a place in the IKC Top Showdog finals competition, with a legacy leaderboard score of 230.
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