CRUFTS 2014 – 6TH MARCH 2014
My thanks to everyone who had entered with just three absentees on the day.  With an entry of this size, it gives you the chance to really see where the breed is heading and how it is looking.  On the day I thought that the quality of the dogs far outweighed the bitches, especially in the Open Dog class, with some good ones being unplaced.   When you read the breed standard under the heading of General Appearance, it states “small, powerful, sturdily built” but some of the bitches being shown today were far from that; far too many lacked bone and substance.   Another issue I had on the day was the handling of some of the dogs.  You have two minutes in which to portray your dog in the best possible light to the judge.  It is very hard to assess a dog, particularly on the move, when it is continually pulling sideways on the lead or dragging the owner along.  Some of the exhibits, particularly in the bitches, seemed very unsure and unsettled by the atmosphere around them, again making it difficult to assess them in their best light.  There were also a few suspect bites, again remember your standard says scissor bite.  These were bordering on level, something which needs to be paid attention to.  
On the plus side, coats were on the whole very good and of good texture, only a couple of open coats on show today, markings were also good and all my winners had correct bites.  Movement generally wasn’t too bad, although some were wide in front and pinning in behind.  In a large ring with a flat surface there is no hiding poor movement, that said, considering the awful weather we have had, most were well muscled and toned.  
VD (3)
1st Bayliss & Etches’ Ch Hurstfield Red Rayda ShCM – Hard to believe this dog is a veteran now, it seems only last year when I gave him his first CC.  So sound all through.  Masculine head of good proportions with well set ears, good stop and length of muzzle.  Correct bite and good facial markings.  Would prefer a darker eye.  Strong muscular neck into good shoulders and excellent front with good bone and feet.  Level back with short strong loin and broad, slightly sloping croup, and overall good body proportions giving a pleasing outline.   Strong hindquarters which were well muscled, which showed in his free, easy action when being moved.  Can still show the youngsters a thing or two and was close up for RCC.  Shown and handled to perfection, please watch this handler as to how to get the best out of your dog!   No official award for Best Veteran but he would have been.  Thanks for letting me judge him again.
2nd Sibley’s Ch Peakdreams Kinder Scout at Thorjakker - 8 year old male who impresses for his attitude and certainly doesn’t know he’s a veteran.  Certainly ticks all the boxes when it comes to alertness and liveliness..  Made in a smaller mould than first but well balanced and showing to advantage.  Good wedge shaped head with a dark eye and good expression, although would prefer slightly more fill under the eyes.  Good reach of neck in to well placed shoulders and excellent front.  Well proportioned body of correct proportions.  Level topline with he kept at all times on the move.  Free and active mover, who went well round the ring.  Coat of good texture, and in great condition.   Well handled to get the best out of him.
3rd Phillips’ Linmays Master Magician – another happy lively boy enjoying his day out.  Dog of good size and substance, pleasing head with dark eye.  Topline OK and well bodied.  Moved well but couldn’t quite match 1 and 2 for soundness.
SPD (1, 0)
1st Amon’s Pepperthyme Tapani - Lovely 11 month old boy developing along the right lines. Lovely type and shape, well balanced for age. Pleasing head of good proportions with good depth to muzzle and good bite.  Good reach of neck and  well laid shoulders.  Correct front and depth of chest for age. Level back and short strong loin.  Well boned and in excellent condition.  Well muscled hindquarters.  Smart mover with a good side gait and sound coming and going.  Very promising puppy.  BPD
 JD (1, 0)

1st Sibley’s Thorjakker Hundi Homnelvik - Just over a year old.  Lots to like about this young man.   Masculine head with a flat skull and well defined stop. Good eye and well set ears.  Excellent mask markings. Good reach of neck.  Good bone and feet.  Good body proportions and overall shape.   Well muscled hindquarters. Moved well once settled although a little wide in front.  Obviously at this age needs to mature but a promising youngster.
PGD (5,1)
1st Price’s Starvon Xpress Delivery at Coningsbear – smart red boy of pleasing type.  Masculine head, dark eye and neat well set ears.   Good reach of neck into well laid shoulders, well boned legs and good feet.   Good width/depth of chest.  Firm topline and short loin.  His correct angulation front and back enabled him to move very soundly around the ring with a good easy, active stride.
2nd Peacock-Jackson’s Pepperthyme Golden Noble at Kirkholme – 3 year old of good breed type.  Pleasing head and expression with good mask markings.  Firm front and good feet.  Level topline and good depth of chest.  Clear colour with good harness markings.  Broad, flat croup and well carried tail.  Moved soundly but not quite the length of stride of 1.   Still needs time to mature, which all good Vallhunds do.
3rd McKellar’s Stillmoor Denace the Menace – another of good type.  Good enough in head but I would prefer a slightly longer muzzle to balance overall.  Dark eye and neat, well carried ears.  Firm body in good condition, moved well but slightly wide in front.
LD (5, 0)
1st Kent’s Hurstfield Vital Shield – mature good sized male of excellent type.  Clean cut head with good stop.  Well set ears and dark eye.  Strong well muscled neck into well laid shoulders.  Good front, with good bone and excellent feet.  Correct depth of chest and body ratios.  Good mask and harness markings.  Level topline and well sprung ribs. Free active mover who was very sound and very good moving away and towards me.  Could be handled, I think, to better advantage as when relaxed tends to stand with his hind legs under him and this spoils his topline.  
2nd Price’s Starvon Uncle Sam at Coningsbear – smaller dog than first but again good type.  Seemed a little unsettled here, so not showing at his best, but deserved his placing on his overall type and balance.  Good head with neat well placed ears, dark eye.  Correct front, with good bone and good feet.  Well proportioned body in good firm condition.  Good width of hindquarters, which were well muscled.  Active mover around the ring, just not quite the precision going away from me as 1.
3rd Kennedy’s Upton Rebus – a good honest Vallhund who deserved his placing here today.   For me I would like a slightly more masculine head but he has enough stop, dark eyes and well placed ears.   Reasonable lay of shoulder and straight front.   Well proportioned body and in good, well muscled condition.  A steady, true mover.
OD (9, 0)
A lovely class with some good ones being unplaced – a rare occurrence in the Vallhund world!
1st Gough & Howe’s Starvon Veni Vidi Vici ShCM – judged this dog when he was a raw puppy but even then there was potential to be seen.  Now rising 3 years old, he is really looking the part.   Masculine head which is long, clean cut and good wedge with a well defined stop.   Well placed ears which he used effectively and correct mask markings.  To be critical I would prefer a darker eye but this in no way detracts from his expression which is alert and watchful.  Strong long neck into excellent shoulders, with a well boned, straight front and strong well padded feet.  Well laid shoulders into a level topline, with a short strong loin.  Good depth of chest and well sprung ribs.  Strong well muscled hindquarters of good width, which enabled him to move actively and freely around the ring.  Excellent coat of good colour and markings.  Well handled to get the very best out of him.  Was pleased to award him the CC, his second and BOB.  I am very sure his third (and many more) will follow soon.   I considered him a very worthy representative to go through to the group.
2nd Paterson & West’s Starvon Wishful Thinking – another one I judged as a puppy and another one at the time who had good potential and certainly has fulfilled that potential.  Similar in type to 1.  A good sized, strong male with an excellent head and expression enhanced by a dark eye, with a definite stop and strong muzzle.  Strong well muscled neck into well laid shoulders.  Excellent straight front with good bone and feet.   Good depth of chest and well sprung ribs.   Level topline with short strong loin.   Excellent on the move with a very good strong side gait, looking like he could go all day.  Very well handled and presented.  Close decision between 1 and 2 and I am sure these two could, and will, swap places.  Pleased to award him the RCC.
3rd Nettby’s Sw Ch Kopparas Romulus – this red male caught my eye as soon as he entered the ring.  Appealed very much to me for his type and overall shape, very much my type of Vallhund and is very typical of what you see in Scandinavia.  Long clean cut wedge shaped head, with well shaped eyes of good colour and high, well set ears. Strong neck into good shoulders.  Level topline and good depth of chest.   Well muscled hindquarters which he used well on the move.  Excellent red coat of good texture.  Great side gait covering the ground well.  Moving a little wide in front for me on the day so didn’t quite match 1 and 2 on this score.  Nevertheless a lovely dog which I was honoured to judge all the way from Sweden.  Tack!
GCD (1,0)
1st Bottomley’s Vallier Bosse of Vimsa – now a veteran this good size male can still look the part.  In excellent form and condition.   Pleasing head with dark eye and neat ears.  Strong bone, with good front and feet.  Correct body proportions and pleasing outline, with good spring of rib.  Easy mover around the ring, moving soundly and well handled.
VB (1, 0)
1st Harrild’s Stillmoor Odin’s Maiden at Moonsfield – nearly 10 years old but who would have guessed.  In excellent form.  Pleasing head of good proportions with dark eyes and neat ears.  I must mention her sparkling white teeth too!  Strong neck into good shoulders and front with good bone and neat feet.  Correct body proportions and presenting a pleasing outline.  Easy active mover in excellent condition.  A true example of what a mature Vallhund should look like and can still show the young ones how it’s all done.  
SPB (5,0)
1st Amon’s Pepperthyme Theodora – litter sister to the PD winner.  I thought her to be quite stunning.  Watchful and alert to her owner at all times, she has that certain something which catches your eye.  Feminine yet sturdy with the correct amount of bone and substance, for her age and size.   Lovely head of correct proportions, neat well set ears, dark eye to enhance her lovely expression.  Strong well muscled neck into well laid shoulders, super front and feet.  Level topline and broad flat croup and well carried tail.  Well sprung ribs for her age and short strong loin.  So sound on the move with a true action to and fro and excellent side gait.  For me she stood out amongst the bitches on show today and I had no hesitation in awarding her the CC, her second such award at such a tender age. Only one thing wrong with her, she isn’t mine!
2nd Allsop’s Karmore Cornish Maid – similar age to 1.   A real livewire who certainly fulfils the alert and active statement in the breed standard.  Pleasing head and expression, enhanced by a dark well shaped eye.  Correct front and good shoulders, level topline and good depth of chest for her age.  Well sprung ribs and well conditioned body.  Moved well when settled, with a good length of stride.  Very promising puppy.
3rd Burt & Ashton’s Thorjakker Hjorta Harstad – another of pleasing type.  Much to like about her, with a feminine head of correct proportions.  Enough bone and substance for her size.  Pleasing shape and overall construction.  Movement was difficult to assess as she was very unsettled and would insist on pulling away from her handler.  Saw enough movement to be able to place her here but more ring training needed to bring out the best in her.
SJB (3, 0)
1st Drinkwater’s Galerita Hollie Berrie – lovely type with excellent bone and substance.  Pretty feminine head with dark eye and well defined stop.  Strong well muscled neck.  Well boned legs and good feet.  Stands slightly wide in front. Good body proportions and carrying the right amount of weight.  Level topline and strong well muscled hindquarters.   Clearly very unhappy on the day and did not show herself or move to advantage but did enough for me to see that she has a good side gait, a little wide moving towards me.  Won the class on her overall type, excellent size and substance.  Hopefully she will regain her confidence for her next show.
2nd Burt & Ashton’s Thorjakker Hjorta Harstad – 3rd in previous class.
3rd Adamson’s Thorjakker Helga Haugesund – litter sister to 2 but slightly different type.  At that in between teenage stage so looked tall and rangy.  Dark eyes and well set ears.  For me her muzzle could be slightly longer to balance her head proportions.  Straight front and level topline, moved well around the ring.  Not the bone and substance of 1 and 2.
PGB (6,0)
1st Day & West’s Starvon Xtra Special – very smart 2 year old youngster.  Not the biggest but has excellent bone and substance.  Lovely head of correct proportions with dark eye and neat well placed ears.  Excellent forehand and well laid shoulders into a level topline and broad, slightly sloping croup.  She had a good depth of chest and well sprung ribs and a short strong loin.   Well muscled hindquarters.  Moved very well indeed showing good front extension and an easy active gait.   Could have been handled better to keep her in the judge’s eye as she is a lovely girl.

2nd Coombes’ Fennican Elegance Under Mystarz (Imp Fin) – 18 month old of slightly different type. In fact well named as she is indeed elegant in style.  Good head of pleasing proportions with a lovely well shaped dark eye and well set ears.  Level topline and well sprung ribs.  Strong well muscled hindquarters but would prefer slightly more hind angulation as she looked a little straight when standing.  Moved soundly all ways with good reach.  Just needs to mature.

3rd Stockbridge’s Thorjakker Topsy Turvy – pleasing bitch of good type.  Feminine head and expression, dark eye and well set ears.  Good front and level topline.  In good condition but not so positive on the move as 1 and 2.
LB (5,1)
1st Powney & Paterson-Smith’s Eriksfjord Jazz Bunny – 2½ year bitch of excellent type. Feminine head of good shape and correct proportions, enhanced by a dark eye and well placed ears.  Strong well muscled neck into well laid shoulders, straight front with enough bone and good feet.  Level topline with good depth of chest and well sprung ribs.  Strong, well  muscled hindquarters and broad croup.  Pleasing shape and overall body proportions.  Good hind angulation moving very soundly with great side gait and sound to and fro.   Very well handled to get the best out of this happy, alert girl.
2nd Phillips’ Starvon Willamina - similar in type to 1 and much the same remarks apply.  Well balanced with a pleasing outline. Feminine head and expression with good bone and feet.  Level topline and good body length with short loin.  Moved well but couldn’t match the side gait of 1.
3rd Simpson’s Eriksfjord Dream Bunny – Litter sister to 1 but slightly different type being slightly finer all through.   Good head and dark eyes, well set ears.  Good reach of neck and good shoulders.  Slightly down on pasterns.  Firm body and good topline.  Moved well but I would prefer a little more bone and substance.
OB (8, 1)
1st Paterson’s Ch/Ir Ch Eriksfjord Magik Bean – excellent type of pleasing overall proportions.  Pretty feminine head with a dark eye to enhance her expression.  Well set ears.  Strong well muscled neck into well laid shoulders, good front and feet.  Good depth of chest and spring of ribs.  Level topline and well muscled hindquarters.  Good quality close fitting jacket with good markings. Alert, lively and active, she was clearly enjoying her day out.  Moved very well around the ring with good front extension and side gait.  Sound going to and fro.  Not quite back in full bloom after her recent litter but looked the part today.  Pleased to award her the RCC

2nd West’s Ch Starvon Rumour Has It – another bitch of excellent type.  Handled today by a young junior handler, she made this girl look the best I have seen her for a while.  Has a lovely well balanced head with neat ears and medium eye.  Strong neck and well boned legs with good feet.   Good body proportions and strong hindquarters with a level topline and broad, slightly sloping croup. Has a good textured coat.  Very sound mover but couldn’t quite match the first in front extension  Well balanced overall but would just like a little more animation, the standard does say alert and active and she couldn’t match 1 for that.   Nevertheless, a worthy champion and breed record holder.  I do hope that this handler continues to show her as she made a very good job of it.
3rd McKellar’s Vallier Contralto – lovely girl who has a lovely head with beautiful dark eyes.  Correct reach of neck and well laid shoulders good front and feet.  Level topline, and good body proportions, although doesn’t need any more weight.  Excellent spring of rib.   Neat hocks and good angulation.  Moves well around the ring with a good side gait and is sound both going away and coming towards you. Handler needs to make more of this girl as I am sure she is more than capable of winning a CC or two.
1st Bottomley’s Stillmoor Kerrybella of Vimsa - bright, lively girl who was thoroughly enjoying her day out.  Feminine head with neat ears and a dark eye.  Good reach of neck into good shoulders.  Enough bone for her size.  Good body proportions with a sound front and topline.  Strong hindquarters.  Moved very well from all ways.  In excellent condition.
Judge – Melanie Harris

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