Dog of The Year 2023

I was honoured to be invited to judge this interesting competition and Dave Bennett and I enjoyed the hospitality of Melanie Reed-Peck and her team, particularly the excellent lunch! Whilst I may be considered something of an “outsider”, my interest in the breed stems back to my late teens when I occasionally handled dogs for a lady who lived in the West Country, Miss Saville, who often travelled to my local Open Shows in South Wales with her Gnomevale Keeshonds. My first Utility Group judging appointment at an Open Show was in 1974 – yes FIFTY years ago! – when I judged for Honley Agricultural Society and my winner was a Keeshond, Ch Waakzaam Waag, who made a huge impression on me.

As with all breeds, when judging I attach huge importance to outline and balance and in this breed I consider correct shape and compactness to be paramount. When I looked at my three overall winners I was pleased that they all were of the same basic template and on discovering their breeding I can see why! They obviously owe much to their Rossvale heritage, both Dog Of The Year and Veteran Of The Year being out of Rossvale Champions with sires carrying American breeding whilst the Puppy Of The Year was sired by the Dog Of The Year.

Here are my impressions of today’s winners:


CH ROSSVALE ENDEAVOUR TO ESORKEES, 5 years old male of super breed type in excellent body condition and full coat. Pleasing head, typically marked with excellent expression, an inherent masculinity and yet full of quality. Excellent balance of outline with correct length of neck, firm topline, strong well-finished bone, tight feet and optimum angles front and back. He moves well behind but comes on a little wide in front. On the stack he made a beautifully balanced overall picture that completely filled my eye and was spotlessly clean and sensibly presented.

Runner Up: CH KEITAKEES TO LOVE SOMEBODY AT BYQUY, 3½ years old male, again basically compact and in excellent coat and condition with plenty of angulation. Fundamentally correct head with expressive eye but not quite as neat in ear as the winner or as strong in bone. Moved true up, down and around.


DIANAKEES INSPECTOR MORSE AT ESORKEES, now 2 years old and making a very impressive overall picture. Essentially masculine with a look of quality, strongly boned with a very well balanced head, beautiful eye giving a wholly typical expression. Very well bodied with correct coat beautifully presented. Moves well behind but could be tighter in front and when he settled looked good going around. I thought he matched the Dog Of The Year so well and was pleased to discover that he was his son … definitely a chip off the old block.

Runner Up: DEVONIA’S LOVE WILL FIND A WAY FOR MANZANAKEES, 13 months and excellent overall type, well angulated front and back and coming into coat. Typical head with well-placed spectacles and just enough bone if not as compact as the winner. Moves a little close behind but good in front and opens up well in profile.


CH ROSSVALES LEGACY FOR LEKKERBEK, 11 years old but looking half his age, in spanking condition and on his toes throughout. Classic head with wonderful expression and such an impressive general forehand with strong bone and neat feet. Lovely to go over, so compact and correctly constructed with the desired moderate angulation front and back, ample neck and in full coat sensibly groomed. The best mover of the entire event, I absolutely loved him and he never stopped trying. Absolutely beautiful and a credit to his owner.

Runner Up: CH TORRIKEES VICTORIA’S SECRET, again 11 years old but a bitch, again in wonderful condition for her age and so enjoying herself. As feminine as the winner was masculine, she is basically of good shape, very well constructed with a typical head and expression and carried great condition. Maybe not quite the ideal colour of the male, moves steadily behind, now giving away a little in front but holds herself so well in profile.


Tina, Melanie, AHB and Karen






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