I am 60 years of age and have been involved in show dogs for the past 36 years. although I grew up with Dogs as my father had gundogs on the family farm.
The breeds that I have been involved in and made up champions are: Old English Sheepdogs, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Bernese Mountain Dogs, Japanese Spitz and Tibetan Spaniels.
Under Irish Kennel Club rules I am now qualified as An All Breeds Judge. I am also a Best in Show Judge and have had this honour in Ireland, Denmark, Italy, France, Norway, Japan, Columbia, Malaysia, Sweden, South Africa, Hong Kong, Philippines, Thailand, Canada and China. I have judged Pup of the Year Competition in Ireland in 1997 and 2007, Dog of the Year in Denmark in 1998 and Show Dog of the Year in Sweden in 2001. Champion of Champions in Prague. In 2017 I will judge Champion of Champions in Estonia.I have judged in most European countries and further afield in Argentina, America, Canada, Australia, Japan, Columbia, New Zealand, Malaysia, South Africa, Hong Kong, China, Phillipines and Thailand. In 2008 I had the great honour of Judging Tibetan Spaniels at the World Dog Show in Sweden. With regards to Old English Sheepdogs I have judged the Breed Speciality Shows in Ireland, Finland, Germany and Denmark. I have also judged the Breed in many countries.
In respect of Cavalier King Charles Spaniels I first judged the Breed in Ireland in 1983 and also over the years in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Germany, and Holland. Argentina, Japan, Australia, Columbia, France, Estonia, Lithuania, Canada, Italy and Spain. My most exciting appointment was in France in 2012 when I was one of six judges for the Cavalier Speciality with an entry of over 600 Cavaliers. I have also judged Breeds Specialities in Sweden and in June of 2015 I judged the Speciality in Los Angeles. In September 2015 I judged CC’s under English Kennel club rules at Belfast Championship Show.
In respect of Japanese Spitz I judged the Breed Speciality in May 2012 in Sweden, in 2013 The Breed Speciality in Finland and The Norwegian Japanese Spitz Speciality in 2014. In August of this yeaR I will judge the Speciality in Sydney Australia. In respect of Bernese Mountain Dogs I have judged Breeds Specialities in Ireland, Argentina, New Zealand and Canada. In 2018 I am one of the 3 judges who will judge The National in America. This is a very big honour for a European judge as was voted by the members.
I have been involved in Show Dogs since 1977 when Michael Forte and I bought an Old English Sheepdog from Stella Harte. We quickly caught the show bug and within 2 years we were showing the Old English sheepdog and Cavaliers. We set up the Kennel Prefix Leonfort and we quickly became known in Cavaliers as we won Best of Breed under Pamela Cross Stern with a ten month old puppy Ch Ronnoc Vicenzo at his first St Patricks Day Show (The Irish Crufts) in 1980. He won again the following year under Russell Roberts. Ch Ronnoc Vicenzo was the top stud dog in the breed for 6 years in a row. We made up 2 other Champions Ch Leonfort Vicenzo and Ch Vandyck Jester of Leonfort who both had wonderful show careers. I was a committee member of The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club of Ireland for approx. 10 years from 1980. In Old English Sheepdogs we made up one champion and bred 2 litters. I was secretary of the club for 4 years and the IKC Representative. In Bernese Mountain Dogs we made up champions and bred litters. We had the breed recognized with the IKC in 1979 and set up the Bernese Mountain Dog Club of Ireland.
I served as Secretary/Treasurer and in 2007 had the honour of been the Judge for their 25th Anniversary show.