My thanks to the Crufts committee for giving me the opportunity to judge my original breed at the KC’s premier show. The first GSP arrived at our kennel some 43 years ago, time flies! Although not as active in the breed we still take a very keen interest in all aspects GSP.

The intervening years have seen many changes, the most recent being, to me, the most challenging of all. As many qualified dogs were denied the opportunity to enter, the entry was not, in my opinion, a true representation of the breed as I know it. Having said that, I am delighted to say I really enjoyed my day with you & your splendid dogs & found sufficient worthy specimens to make my final choices from.

On the plus side a great improvement in coat texture was noted, dentition was acceptable just one or two dogs with small teeth, pleased to see that nearly all had the required eye shape with very few round eyes, still the occasional too broad a head which was prevalent in the early days. Size seems to be more even with no strikingly oversized dogs present.

My main concern was movement, I saw very untidy front & rear movement, legs going in all directions at times. I am sure this could be improved by the handlers taking their time when moving their dogs, there really is no need to run at ‘60 miles’ an hour, a judge can see what he needs to at a more sedate speed.

It was evident, on handling, that a lot of exhibits lacked muscletone, with few in hard condition. This lack of muscle was most noticeable in the hindquarters which are required to be ‘strong & well muscled’ to produce the ‘forceful propulsion’ in other words – drive.

I enjoyed both the veteran classes they were a credit to their owners. The puppy classes held some promising exhibits as did the yearling classes. Of the limit classes the bitches were the stronger. The RDCC winner came from the Field Trial class & was in good hard condition. The best class of the day was open bitch, lots of top quality here, & many good ones went cardless. It really was a case of splitting hairs. The winner, & eventual CC & BOB stood out for me. Open dog contained top quality dogs but the winner stood out & the CC was his, all dog, strong but not coarse, moving with power.

I thank all exhibitors for their entries & the sportsmanship they showed throughout the judging. To the two stewards, my grateful thanks.

VD (8) 1 Sloane’s Kazanpaul Sticky Toffee Pud of Whistlecraft, a good young veteran, a good example of the breed, nothing exaggerated, & moved well; 2 Duncan’s Sh Ch Magregor Pukka, another of good type, just preferred the front movement & head of 1; 3 Cook & Lamb’s Adhemar Break Of Day, not showing his 10 years, lovely chap, good type.

PD (3) 1 Knowles, Glen & Malcolm’s Wilholme I Gotta Feelin for Bessalone, well balanced 8 months, quite mature in body. Will need time to put it all together, liked his sound movement. BP; 2 Mould & Bird’s Koolwaters Cream Cracker, good size elegant youngster, his front movement let him down today; 3 Rose & Hunt’s Kavacanne Gale Force Wind, good type, long in body at the moment, another one that needs time to get it together.

JD (2) 1 Nicholls’ Vinitas Vampire Venom, liked this youngster for his type, right size head & expression, & he moved well, should finish well when mature; 2 K Gale Force Wind.

YD (5,2a) 1 V Vampire Venom; 2 Gain & Dixon’s Kavacanne Gift Wrapped, needs more ring training, a pity as he is a good type, head & expression appealed, difficult to assess; 3 Gibbs & Ree’s Kavacanne Pappleazzi, litter brother to 2. Rather heavy in jowls & lost his topline on the move. Needs time.

PGD (8,2) 1 Duncan’s Kavacanne Hun Toint Retreve, good type, appealing head & expression, held his topline well on the move, long on the leg at the moment; 2 Coackley’s Chamorloe Bach’s Symphony, decent type, looked well stood, moved OK; 3 Hughes’ Sonnenberg Sealion, good type, little heavy in shoulders & front movement untidy.

LD (10) A class of mixed quality. 1 Barnett’s Puddledub Poit Dhubh, best mover in the class, decent type, good head & expression; 2 C Bachs Symphony; 3 Rutherford & Foxes’ Cushatlaw Fog On The Tyne, exhibit not present for critique.

OD (10) 1 Adams & Elrington’s Sh Ch Barleyarch Alvar, mature specimen. Excellent type, he fits the Standard – ‘medium size, short back standing over plenty of ground’. He has elegance but still retains his masculine outlook. A good GSP head, with excellent ‘look at me’ expression. He didn’t disappoint on the move, which was straight & true & he had the driving rear action which I was looking for but rarely found. A good dog from any angle. He made my job easy when selecting the dog CC, which he won with some to spare; 2 Ottaway’s Plumhollow Top Hat, again excellent type, good head & eye giving the required alert expression, his movement was good, driving well from the rear. He was in excellent condition; 3 Waddell’s Sh Ch Magregor Chocolossus, not a good day for this dog. A great pity as he is a very good specimen, typy in all aspects, super head & expression, not a happy dog on the day.

FTD (3,1) 1 Dymon’s Friarbelle Marsh Mellow, again another free striding specimen, lovely balance throughout, not exaggerated in any way. He has a typical GSP head & expression, with an alert & energetic outlook. In hard condition, which was sadly lacking in a lot of exhibits today. In the challenge for the RCC the deciding factor was the super true driving action of this youngster gave me great pleasure to award him the RCC; 2 Fisher’s Sh Ch/Int/Dutch Ch Will I Am of Ankherwood, a good type of GSP. Lovely head & expression, moved well but not the enthusiasm nor drive of 1.

GCD (5) 1 P Top Hat; 2 Collins’ Twice As Nice of Forestpoint, a little broad in the head but still enough good breed points to warrant his position here; 3 K Sticky Toffee Pud of W.

VB (10,2) 1 Hinchliff’s Ch Stairfoot Sandgoose, won this class with ease. Lovely bitch from any angle. Elegance with substance, she is an excellent type, everything is where it should be, & her movement was correct & her feet as per Standard, not many were today. I seriously considered her for the RCC but she flagged a little in the challenge; 2 Beverley’s Vinita Chinook, another good specimen in excellent condition; 3 Prior’s Booton Marietta of Whinchat, lovely sound & typy lady enjoying her day out.

PB (7,1) Some very promising youngsters for the future. 1 Duncan’s Kavacanne Gale Storm, presented a lovely balanced outline, good breed type & she moved well. In the best puppy challenge she was unsettled so BP went to the dog. Sure she has a good future; 2 Knowles, Glen & Malcolm’s Wilholme Sharp And Smart at Bessalone, another one with a bright future, everything is there just needs time to come together. Lovely for type, well balanced, something spooked her but still deserved her place; 3 Sielski’s Orchidstar Zid Zaid Zana, a little long in body at the moment & so not as balanced as 1&2 but of good type & moved well off good feet.

JB (1) 1 Stockley’s Beljam Dream Design, good typy youngster, head, eye & expression, carrying a little too much body weight which didn’t do her any favours when on the move.

YB (7) Some very promising exhibits in this class. 1 Waddell’s Magregor Fluffernutter, notes say ‘will make a cracker’. Sound & true on the move. Elegance & substance combined with the required breed points & all in one package, will make for an exciting time for her owner. Wish her well; 2 Garvey’s Kavacanne Toint The Way to Richtig, a very good type, not as good rear angulation as 1 but enough good breed point to gain her place; 3 Kingsley & Prothero’s Kavacannne Kiss My Apple, another quality youngster, deserving of her place in this very good class.

PGB (7,1) Good feet on all these three winners. 1 Hughes’ Sonnenberh SeaHolly, good bitch all round, not exaggerated in any way, eye & expression all GSP, her good rear angulations gave her the drive to move well; 2 Beverley’s Vinitas Lil Miss Jenni Jai, close between 1&2, both good bitches, both have good breed points. Just preferred rear angulation of 1; 3 Attwood & Turner’s Patterscourt Twill, decent head, & shape, moved OK.

LB (5) 1 Glen & Shield’s Wilholme Saucy Brown, full of breed type, excellent head with good eye colour, good front angulation leading to good hindquarters, which she used well on the move. She is very much a ‘what you see is what you get’ bitch, & today she got it together & I was pleased to award her the RCC, well done; 2 Mould & Bird’s Koolwaters Calamity Jane, unlucky to meet winner, she is a good bitch, lots to like, just preferred winner’s topline; 3 Beverley’s Vinitas Little Miss Posh, again another bitch of good type, who moved well.

OB (16,2) Class full of quality bitches with many going cardless, I was splitting hairs in many cases. 1 Waddell’s Sh Ch Magregor Schokolade, when this bitch came into the ring she took me back many years to the days of the famous Inchmarlo kennels & others who contributed to the GSP as we know it today. I was privileged to see & handle some of these archetypal dogs & they are imprinted in my mind. This image is harder to find nowadays, but today I was delighted to find a specimen so close to that image it gave me goosebumps. She epitomises the Standard, elegance with substance so well balanced, excellent typical feminine head with good eye & expression, leading to a good length of neck which in turn runs into superb shoulders, body deep with well sprung ribs, & hindquarters well muscled with good bend of stifle, finishing in compact well padded feet. Handler got the pace just right, really showing her flowing, ground covering movement to take the CC & I had no hesitation in awarding her BOB. They did the breed proud in the big ring. Well done; 2 Rose, Morris & Evans’ Sh Ch Kavacanne Toff Act To Follow, another out of the top drawer, good all round, not overdone, not as positive in movement as winner; 3 Rumney’s Keigame Sweet Melody, another quality bitch from a clever breeder, excellent breed characteristics. Deserved her place in hot competition.

FTB (4,1) 1 Simon’s Swfthouse Cagney, good honest GSP, 8 years & in excellent condition as befits a working girl, & her movement was very free with plenty of drive from her well muscled hindquarters; 2 Stewart’s Ch Winterwell Pillowtalk at Lavagrad, yet another good all round example of the breed, 10 years & still able to show some of the youngsters how to move; 3 Davidson’s Sirilta Solitaire, rather a soft coat on this otherwise typy bitch, lovely outline, good head, eyes slightly round which detracted from an otherwise good expression.

Working B (1) 1 S Solitaire.

GCB (5) 1 Brown’s Montalba Millie Chillum, good type, lovely outline standing & didn’t disappoint on the move which she did with sound & true action & plenty of drive; 2 K Gale Storm; 3 V Lil Miss Jenni Jai.