Canada’s Top Show Dogs of 2012

Last year there were many successful Canadian dogs found in the ring, but only a few special ones could be considered top dogs. Here are Canada's top 10 show dogs of 2012.

Last year continued to see many changes in the Canadian show scene. The Canadian Kennel Club (CKC) began to allow 3- to 6-month-old puppies in their own unofficial class. Although it was slow to pick up steam, shows are now routinely seeing baby puppies out to have some fun and trip up their owners. As of January 2013, all-breed shows can offer classes for Veterans and Altered dogs. The new Grand Champion system (see “Canada’s New Grand Champion System” for more information) was also introduced at the beginning of 2013. Like shows anywhere else, it continues to be an uphill battle for many smaller shows to survive the current economy and decreased interest in the sport. Hopefully, the changes will give entries a boost and the best shows will continue to rise to the top. One thing that is clear when you talk to the campaigners is that the support of friends, family and fellow enthusiasts is what helps make it all worthwhile.

Last year there were many successful Canadian dogs found in the ring, but only a few special ones could be considered top dogs. Here are Canada’s top 10 show dogs of 2012.


No. 1 All Breeds

American Cocker Spaniel Am. Can. GCh. Mario N Beechwood’s Midnight Express CGC, CGN

Last year was the year of the Cocker, and everyone who met this dog knew it. Am. Can. GCh. Mario N Beechwood’s Midnight Express CGC, CGN, more commonly known as ‘Ace,’ broke records throughout the year, gathering an army of fans that stayed to cheer him on to a record 57 Best in Shows in 2012 alone. He came out to play a bit in 2011 and ended up with 20 BIS and was No. 7 all breeds, so his owners and handler, Mark and Pam Ragusa (breeders/owners) and Marlene Ness (handler and best friend), decided to give campaigning a try in 2012 while keeping an eye on him to avoid overwhelming the young dog. Although Ace turned 3 in November of 2012, he handled campaigning like a pro and was always available for some petting, kisses and especially treats at ringside. Some of his most memorable wins in 2012 include Best of Variety at Westminster, Best of Winners at the American Spaniel Club and his 29th Best in Show, which broke the record for American Cocker Spaniels in Canada. Ace is the first American Cocker Spaniel to be top dog all breeds in Canada. Along the way, he broke every record held by an American Cocker Spaniel in Canada.

Ace is currently enjoying some time in the United States. With limited showing he has already gathered multiple Best in Specialty wins, his first American Best in Show and is the No. 1 black Cocker in breed and all-breed points.

Ness notes, “I just wanted to let all our supporters know that we appreciated all of their support all year long. We had support from people all over the country and world. A campaign like this requires a lot of blood, sweat and tears, as anyone who has campaigned a dog knows, but having constant ringside support from all of our peers made it a year we will never forget. To have people you don’t even know following your career, clapping for you or even just coming up to you and tell you that your dog caught their eye, makes doing something like this so worth it. The best part of all of this is every night Ace slept in my bed, and no matter what I’m doing, he’s usually curled up at my feet.”


No. 2 All Breeds

Karelian Bear Dog FCI Int./It./Rom./Hung./Ir. Sh./San Marino/Port./Monaco/Gibraltan/Croatian/Can. Ch. TsarShadow’s I Speak Of War

‘Kosto,’ Mediterranean Winner of 2008, Euro Winner 2009 and World Winner 2013, is another record setter in his breed. Bred and co-owned by Dawne Deeley, Kosto, whose name means “revenge” or “vengeance” in Finnish, is continuing the legacy of incredible Karelian Bear Dogs that have come from her Tsarshadow kennel. Between him and his kennelmates, there have been more than 100 Tsarshadow Best in Show wins around the world. He was piloted to most of his wins by his co-owner, Douglas Belter, although Deeley put his first 13 Best in Shows on him. He was tested early in 2012 with the idea of maybe campaigning him.

Belter says, “Kosto was shown in early 2012 with good results, taking multiple Groups and a BIS in only two weekends. Nothing had been decided at that point. In late May, after I had some conversations with his breeder, Dawne, we decided that we would try Kosto at a few more shows, and if we were not in striking distance of top Working Dog by the beginning of July, then perhaps another year would be better. Suddenly we went from No. 8 Working dog to No. 8 all breeds in a couple of weekends. Kosto was hot, and it seemed like a good idea at the time.”
Winning 35 Best in Shows in 2012, Kosto broke the previous record for a Karelian Bear Dog, and he is continuing his winning streak across the ocean in Italy in 2013.

“For me, every win is special, and I mean that,” Deeley says. “I think far too few people appreciate just how difficult it is to truly ‘hit the stars’ with a rare breed, let alone one that isn’t recognized south of the Canadian border. Kosto is now sitting on 50 BIS wins. I cried myself ‘dry’ when Richard Hellman, his handler in Europe, called to tell me he’d won number 49; it was his first weekend back in Italy after being in Canada for two and a half years. The Milano International is one of Italy’s largest dog shows, and it put Kosto at the head of their top dog race.”

As for Belter, he says that “without a great breeder like Dawne, none of this could have taken place. Being able to say ‘thank you’ to a BIS judge and add ‘he’s mine’ is one of the most incredible feelings.”


No. 3 All Breeds

Borzoi Am. Can. Ch. Taugo’s Ulric

‘Boo,’ as he is affectionately known, is owned by Wanda Konski and Ken Cook, bred by Merla Thomson and handled by Shannon Scheer. Although he did not break the breed records held by Ch. Kishniga’s Desert Song, Boo was shown for only one year and is still young enough, at 4 years of age, to continue adding to his record. He is the first Borzoi in more than 35 years to achieve this level of success, though. Boo won 17 BIS, 12 Reserve BIS and multiple specialties in 2012 despite the limitations of campaigning a giant breed that cannot be flown.

“All of our wins were very special to us,” Scheer states. “Being honored by breeder-judges was such a compliment, as it justified what we thought this dog exemplified. Boo’s American title was completed with all majors and three breed wins from the classes. Boo and myself are undefeated in the US.” Scheer says that Boo’s most memorable wins include “his first major at the US National, going Best of Winners in 2012 under Patti Neale and, following a Group 1st from Dr. Dick Meen, a Best in Show awarded by John Rowton — all three are well-known breeder-judges.”

While his movement and attitude made him a winner in the ring, it is his sweet personality that makes him so adored by his family. Boo will continue to be shown occasionally and has puppies beginning to hit the ring as well.


No. 4 All Breeds

Keeshond Am. Can. Ch. Cinnakees Christian Louboutin

‘Chris’ was breeder/owner-handled by Cathy and Garry Cinnamon of Cinnakees Keeshonds. No. 4 all breeds is the highest a Keeshond has ever finished. Chris broke the record for Best in Shows in a single year and also the lifetime record for Group wins, which was previously held by his grandsire. It was a very special year for Cathy, Garry and Chris.

“We never planned on campaigning Chris in 2012, as he was only 2 years old,” Cathy Cinnamon says. “Chris started to constantly win Groups, and then he started to win Best in Shows. Then my husband was diagnosed with cancer, and it became his mission to show Chris, trying to set new records in the breed. Good thing Chris was up to the challenge. Garry knew that Chris was good enough to do it, and he wanted to see it. We had no idea that he would end up in the top 10 of all breeds in Canada. That was the icing on the cake. All the wins were memorable and had a special meaning to us. Winning five out of the six Best in Shows in White Horse was a thrill. We were able to celebrate all of Chris’ wins with our dog show family, and that was special to both of us.”

Chris is continuing his quest in 2013, according to Cathy. “This year (2013) Chris broke the record for the most Best in Shows in a lifetime for a Keeshond. The record was set in 1977. Chris now has 30 Best in Show awards and is only 31Ú2 years old. The plan is the same as every year: Start out the year and see where he ends up. He is a family member first. This year work is getting in the way of showing him, but we are still going to go and have fun. My husband said it was the best year of his life! We did it together, went to every show, and as tired as I was, the dog never gave up. He showed in the heat or the rain; it did not matter to him. All of our dog show family showed great support. Without the people we met along the way, this dream would have never come true.”


No. 5 All Breeds

West Highland White Terrier NZ Am. Can. Ch. Whitebriar Jaw Dropper

‘JD’ was bred by Maureen Murphy and Vanessa Edwards of Whitebriar West Highland White Terriers in New Zealand. He came to Canada as a young adult and is owned by June Fraser. He began his Canadian career in the classes in May of 2012. His rise to the top Terrier and No. 5 all breeds was nothing less than meteoric.

His handler, Westie specialist David Gignac, says it best, “JD had a lot of great wins last year, including finishing his championship with a BIS from the classes, winning BIS at Canada’s largest indoor show, Lower Mainland, and his BIS at CKOC in December, which elevated him into the Top Terrier position. Our Best of Breed at Crufts in 2013 was an amazing win! With a dog like this, all wins are exciting, each and every one!”
JD has continued his quest for the top in 2013. He has managed to break all records for the breed this year and is currently one of Canada’s top dogs.


No. 6 All Breeds

English Setter Am. Ch. Can. GCh. Sagebrush Bull Mtn’s Judee CGN

‘Judee’ was bred by Bill Potts and Judee Wargo. Bill co-owns her with mother-daughter handlers Hilary and Sabrina Oakes, who are also English Setter breeders. Judee began 2012 with a Best in Show and three Group wins, which vaulted her into the top 10 Sporting dogs. Her owners decided to see where 2012 would take them and began showing her in earnest.

“Judee holds a special spot in our hearts because she was bred by a dear friend of ours who passed away before she could see the amazing litter,” says Sabrina Oakes. “We named Judee in memory of her breeder so that we would always remember her. Our friend Judee was a caring and thoughtful person, and this litter was her dream litter; any breeder would have loved to have bred it. About four years ago, Judee was looking to find a stud dog for her beautiful female ‘Merit.’ Hilary and I were watching the specials males at the California national and fell in love with Set’r Ridge’s Amazing Grace. We told Judee to have a look at him, and she loved him too. When Merit was about three weeks from having her puppies, Judee passed away. We were heartbroken, and we decided that our puppy would be named Judee, and she would live with us forever. It was a good thing she was so pretty because she was going to stay at our house regardless.”

Judee will be attending some English Setter specialties in 2013. She also has added motherhood to her list of accomplishments, and her puppies will be hitting the ring later this year.


No. 7 All Breeds

Welsh Terrier Am. Can. GCh. Darwyn’s I’m Not Arguing That

Bred and owned by Larisa Hotchin, ‘Joe’ was handled in 2012 by Milton Lopes and Ash Oldfield. Joe holds the record for the most Best in Shows for a Welsh Terrier in Canada, with 28 BIS in Canada and one in the US. The previous record was 13 BIS. He is also the only Welsh Terrier to make the top 10 all breeds in Canada, and he did it in both 2011 and 2012.

“Campaigning Joe just happened naturally,” says Hotchin. “At just under 2 years of age, Joe went to the US to gain his title. When he got Group wins, Group placements and BOB over specials almost every weekend from the classes in California, we kept showing him because it was fun for everyone — including Joe! But it really was when he won the BOB and Group 2 at our US specialty on Montgomery weekend, where he defeated 1,000 Terriers in the Group, that we decided that he should be seen properly in Canada. And, in the six months he was shown in the US, the few times he lost the breed, it was almost always to his sire ‘Spyder,’ who himself had 13 US BIS. Joe and Spyder had approximately a 50-50 record of getting the breed over each other. It was great (nail-biting!) competition to watch, and many in the dog fancy would come over to the ring for it!”
This year Joe is taking it easy, although he may yet return to the ring. He has puppies that are just starting their show careers and showing lots of promise.


No. 8 All Breeds

Alaskan Malamute Am. GCh. Can. GChEx. Mytuk’s Technical Knock Out CGN

‘Sugar Ray’ is bred, owned and handled by Dave and Annette Milburn. He is co-owned and handled by Jessie Clark. Although Sugar Ray didn’t break any Alaskan Malamute records (his dad still holds them), he had a very impressive year. He took his first Best in Show at the age of 18 months on the same weekend as the Canadian national specialty and hasn’t looked back since then. For his owners, the most memorable wins are those that occur on specialty weekends when there is a lot of breed competition. His unusual color makes him memorable, although it is likely his structure and movement that make the biggest impression on judges. One judge noted that if he was stuck in a snowstorm, Sugar Ray is the dog he would want to pull him out.

In 2013, Sugar Ray will dabble in US competition before retiring completely from the ring.


No. 9 All Breeds

Pembroke Welsh Corgi Am. Can. Ch. Coventry How High The Moon

‘V,’ as he is called, is not owner Darlene Borrow’s first dog in the top 10, although he is her first Pembroke Welsh Corgi, and he is handler David g’s second entry in the top 10 for 2012.

Borrow explains, “I started showing dogs in 1965 and was very active in the dog show ring for quite a few years. In 1984 we showed our Maltese, Am. Can. Ch. Myi Cariboo Seeker ‘Cody,’ to No. 1 Toy dog and No. 9 all breeds. Taffe (Walker) McFadden was our handler, and at that time she was assisted by David Gignac and Heidi Gervais. Then in the early ’90s, my husband and I started breeding and showing Hereford cattle, which took up the majority of our time, so the dog show ring went by the wayside for a time. I decided in 2007 that I would like to get back into the dog show ring and started the search for a Corgi. I was fortunate enough to find V, and Bill Shelton, Steve Leyerly, Beckie Williams and Deborah Salow, V’s breeders, were kind enough to allow him to come and live with us. David and Pat Gignac came back into our lives and showed V to perfection. We can’t thank them enough for their care and presentation, V loves them, and that is what matters the most to us.”

V is currently in training for the obedience ring and continues to melt hearts.


No. 10 All Breeds

Standard Poodle Am. Can. GCh. Vetset Kate WinsIt CGN

Breeder-owner Dr. Elly Holowaychuk and handler Allison Foley, CPHA, had decided to use 2012 as a warm-up year for ‘Kate.’ So, after going Best of Variety at Westminster under Poodle breeder Doris Cozart, this Standard Poodle bitch took a break before returning to Foley in July. In four months she amassed 16 BIS and two specialty wins. She also picked up two AOMs at the Poodle Club of America specialties. Showing off not just great conformation but also exceptional temperament, Kate helped Allison’s assistant Colton O’Shea win the Canadian Junior Handling Nationals this summer as well.

“Although Kate is away from home,” Holowaychuk says, “she continues to be the resident princess with Allison and Todd Foley and their extended family. We are most grateful to all of the judges who have appreciated Kate’s merits, and we are especially grateful to Allison and her team for their expertise and grace in exhibiting our girl. For us, it has been something that dreams are made of.” Allison is equally thrilled to be working with a breeder with the eye to find the correct structure and type in her program.

In 2013, Kate will continue her quest for top dog before tackling motherhood and continuing the circle.


From the August 2013 issue of Dogs in Review magazine. Purchase the August 2013 digital back issue or subscribe to receive 12 months of Dogs in Review magazine.

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