WKC Smooth Collies

Having been invited to judge at the Welsh Kennel Club well before the Covid lockdown, it was both an honour and a privilege to finally judge Smooth Collies. My overall impression of the breed was clouded by the lack of adequate bend of stifle and upper thigh, culminating in a stilted, stiff movement, lacking drive and fluidity on the move. That, alongside the preponderance of upright shoulders, short upper arms, short necks and long, flat feet makes for a rather unbalanced exhibit, which reflects in the movement, which should be light and effortless, fore and aft. Fortunately, my main winners were built just how I like them, fit for function and able to move soundly. As the Smooth Collie is meant to be a free-standing breed, the ‘stacking’ and over-handling spoiled the outline of many exhibits on the day, with the majority looking like rocking horses, with legs placed where they really shouldn’t be. Neither are they Dobermanns and don’t require handling as such. Just relax, this is meant to be fun!

Veteran Dog (1)
1st: Smith’s UK Port Esp Gib Ch Winter is Coming To Tentola Re (Imp); 7 yo blue merle, in top form, with free-flowing movement that enabled him to cover the ground easily and without much effort. A big boy, but with nothing out of proportion, being very well-balanced from nose to tail. Flat skull, ears were well-set and used throughout. Very masculine expression, lovely shaped and well-placed dark eye, good wedge shaped skull with super underjaw, chin and a tight lip line. Cheeks flowed smoothly with all the correct head planes.
Good strong neck fitting nicely into the wither, with a super, rare, shoulder placement, the correct length of upper arm, nice tight feet, good deep chest and spring of rib, leading on to a muscular loin - with a slight rise, super (and again, rare) bend of stifle, strong hocks with plenty of flexion to facilitate the easy, powerful movement with drive that this boy possesses. I was delighted to award him the CC and Best Veteran in Breed. His topline just wasn’t as strong as the overall BOB winner. I hear he also continued his successes that day by placing 1st in the Metropole Hotel Veteran Stakes, under Robin Newhouse, also winning his owners a one-night stay in a luxury spa hotel. Congratulations!

MPD (1)
1st: HOWE’S Lizoni The Drifter; 8 mo tricolour, with a very nicely shaped and placed dark eye, giving a very pleasing expression. Although his head and backskull still need to settle, he has a very good foreface and muzzle. Ears were well-set, the correct size and used well. All the building blocks are there, he just needs time to finish and mature. Ample length of neck, back and loin leading to a super long tail, which he carried very well on the move. 
He was initially a little unsettled on the move, but that was hardly surprising, given the cacophony of noise and interference emanating from the adjacent ring, with rather over-exuberant exhibitors upsetting many dogs in the same hall. Please keep it down to a dull roar, there are other breeds being judged besides yours! Constant, overly enthusiastic whoops and hollering is not required.

PD (1)
1st: SEAGER’S Blamorder Magic Maker with Freejack; 10 mo s/w with a nice dark eye of good shape and placement, good ear-set and masculine expression. Head needs to settle, obviously, but should clear nicely with maturity. He had ample bone and good construction, but due to his age, appeared a little high over his hips today and lacked in bend of stifle. He just needs everything to drop into position, but moved very well around the ring. Full of confidence and very responsive to his handler.

JD (2)
1st: WARREN & LUSTY’S Coldelee Jupiter Rises With Blamorder; 16 mo tricolour, well-balanced throughout, with much better rear angulation, having a very good bend of stifle and strong, but flexible, well-let down hocks, which enabled him to move with purpose and cover the ground easily. A very nice clean wedge-shaped head but needs to fill in foreface, again this should come with maturity. Super ear-carriage and he used them to advantage. A very nice, balanced outline, with a very good make and shape.

2nd: SEAGER’S Blamorder Magic Maker with Freejack

PGD (1)
1st: CORBEN & MOORE’S Stormsett Shadow Dancer via Caprioara; 2 yo tricolour who held his topline well on the move. Slightly wide in backskull, which affected his ear-carriage, as he held them low. Good length of neck, back and loin and very well muscled throughout. He was let down by long, flat feet, with very little thickness in pads and extraordinarily long nails. He did move soundly and with purpose, but those nails need attention in order to stop the toes from spreading, flattening his feet and weakening pasterns, as they will affect his movement.

LD (3)
1st: FRENCH’S Wynele Dressed To Thrill At Breckamore; 2 yo tricolour in super, hard condition, with a superb bend of stifle which enabled powerful, sound movement. Pleasing head and expression, with a well-placed dark eye but again, the foreface and muzzle have yet to fill out. The head was nicely balanced with a good stop and flat skull of good depth. Graceful, arched neck, good length of back and loin - with a slight rise, and very well constructed rear angulation. Ample bone, depth and width of chest and ribs well sprung. Overall, a very promising young male, but another casualty of the unbelievable noise from the adjacent ring, which affected his confidence today.

2nd: WARREN & LUSTY’S Coldelee Jupiter Rises With Blamorder.

3rd: WENSLEY’S Constella Hazy Cosmic Jive JW; 2 yo tricolour in good condition. Clean, wedge-shaped head, flat skull, good ear carriage, nicely moulded foreface. Nicely shaped and placed dark eye. Good length of neck, back and loin and carried a good topline on the move. I much preferred the bone and substance of the two in front and much tighter feet, but he’s sound and has a pleasing overall outline.

OD (3 : 1 Abs)
1st: HAYWARD’S Ch Foxearth Fletch; 5 yo mature blue merle with a super overall outline and in good, hard condition. Masculine expression, flat skull, good stop, well-filled muzzle and foreface, good depth and width of skull with a super ear-set. Lovely reach of muscular arched neck, back and muscular loin, with slight rise. Very well balanced throughout, with the correct lay of shoulder, upper arm, depth and spring of rib. Neat, tight feet and superb bend of stifle, powerful, flexible hocks and he covered the ground with ease. He pushed the veteran hard, but I preferred the clearer colour of the overall winner. Delighted to award him RCC.

2nd: LUSTY’S Blamorder Bring Him Home; Almost 7 yo tricolour, lighter made, with less bone and substance. Presented in good condition, I preferred the front and rear angulation of the winner, as this boy seemed a little upright in the shoulder and lacked the bend of stifle I was looking for. Again, I would have preferred much tighter feet, with more padding but he moved well around the ring. Head handled well, with good angles, stop, depth and width of skull, dark eye and masculine expression.

VB (1)
1st: BENTON’S Ch Oakestelle Venus De Milo VW ShCEx; 10 yo blue merle still in fabulous, hard condition who could still, easily, work all day. Super feminine expression, with her well-placed, nicely shaped dark eyes, flat skull, good stop, depth and width of skull and good ear set. Super length of neck, back and loin, complete with slight rise, neat, tight, well-padded feet, super fit condition and spectacular on the move, holding her firm topline throughout and showing the younger girls how it’s done correctly. Lovely to see her again, and I hope she continues her illustrious career.

PB (1)
1st: HOLMES & LUSTY’S Blamorder Makers Mark; Wow! 10 mo stylish s/w with a fabulous make and shape, who really caught my eye, both standing and on the move. Presented in super condition, she had the ring presence and personality that belies her tender age. Clean, wedge-shaped head with a very well-placed and nicely shaped dark eye, but head still needs to settle and fill in the foreface. Super ear-carriage and feminine expression. Good length of neck and back, with ample angulation both front and rear, neat, tight feet and she excelled on the move, holding her top line throughout. I had no hesitation in awarding her the Reserve CC, Best Puppy in Breed and was thrilled to see her take Pastoral Puppy Group 4. I hope to see her when fully mature and shall watch her progress with interest.

JB (2)
1st: JERRETT’S Coldelee Eternal Sunshine; 16 mo s/w, very well constructed with a good overall outline. Feminine expression, nice dark eye, flat skull, nice wedge-shaped head with good ear-set, good depth and length of skull. Excellent reach of neck, length of back and loin, with adequate bend of stifle and who held her topline well on the move. Presented in good, hard, muscular condition and covered the ground well.

2nd: RICHARDSON’S Celeste Uta Anyaru of Lizoni (IMP CZE) (Cze Imp); 12 mo blue merle, whose movement was rather erratic today and difficult to assess properly. As previously stated, the noise from another ring unsettled many exhibits. A typical teenager with a lot of changes going on, as she grows and matures, left her quite unbalanced when standing. Upright in shoulder and lacking in bend of stifle, over-handling and ‘stacking’ unsettled her even more. She’ll grow into herself, she just needs time to mature and have everything fall into place.

PGB (1)
1st: CAULFIELD’S Constella Vega Luminosa; 2 yo tricolour with a nicely balanced head, dark eye and feminine expression. Good wedge-shaped head, which is maturing nicely in the foreface. Super ear carriage, very nicely built, with good shoulder placement, good reach of neck and length of back, although I would prefer slightly more bend of stifle. She covered the ground with ease and moved with drive.

LB (2)
1st: BENNET’S Blamorder Sherbert Flirt; 7 yo blue merle in fabulous condition, although extremely pale in colour. Very feminine expression, with a well-placed dark eye, excellent ear carriage and nicely balanced skull. She had a super reach of neck, well laid back shoulder and good length of upper arm. She had a good outline, with a good length of back and held a firm topline, as she excelled on the move.

2nd: RICHARDSON’S Lizoni Va Va Voom; 2 yo tricolour, with ears right on top, but quite a wide skull. I found her a little upright in the shoulder, which affected the length of her neck. Good overall length of back and loin. I would have preferred more forward reach and drive, but she’s still maturing and her frame should alter as she grows up.

OB (2)
1st: BENTON’S Oakestelle Artemis ShCEx; 6 yo blue merle, often overlooked because of her markings. I first judged her as a 6 mo puppy, her colour didn’t bother me then and neither does it now. An extremely feminine bitch, finer than her dam and grand dam, however, she has a very nice make and shape, with nothing out of proportion and who excels on the move. Super dark eye, good ear carriage, a super length of neck, back and loin, presented in hard condition, fit for purpose and more than capable of a day’s work. Good reach and drive, she covers the ground with ease and leaves others standing. I was pleased to award her her 2nd CC and hope her crown comes soon.

2nd: SWEENEY & LUSTY’S Blamorder Do Quite Nicely; This girl lost out on movement, lacking the bend of stifle of the class winner. Super feminine expression, with a lovely dark eye, nicely set ear carriage and skull not too deep. Clean wedge but a little wide in places, for my taste. Good reach of neck, shoulder and length of back, I just preferred the drive from the rear on the winner.

Judge: Maxine Mellish