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Crufts 2024 REPORT

Compiled by Melanie Thomas

This year we were showing on Thursday the first day of Crufts, not too early and not too late. For Bolognese exhibitors there was no time pressure, not too much hanging around and the weather was dry. So, all set for a stress free day. I haven’t shown much in the last year, so was looking forward to seeing the dogs, owners and seeing the results. Although I have not bred for 5-years now, I am able to support dogs from bitches I have bred and am always tremendously proud that they are doing so well and winning top prizes. I noticed a reduction of Bolognese exhibitors and dogs from previous Crufts and was thinking where is everybody. I was expecting overseas entries to increase numbers and spice things up a little. In fact, there was only 2 overseas exhibitors Shirley Hall-Roberts from France and Lotte Hartung from Denmark. Jan Witham also came over from France and was the breeder of 2 dogs being shown and the owner of one.

From our Bolognese Dog Club members is was lovely to see, Amy Lovell with Obi, Bette Hopkins with Alba & Bijou’s, Chris Thatcher (Devonia Bolognese), Dennis & Carol Mulligan (Donocielo Bolognese), Mark & Diane Whateley (Arkadian Bolognese), Deana Mee (Lyckalotte Bolognese) and Hilary & Peter McArdell (Phendelle Bolognese). Jennie Hegarty spent lots of time with the Bolognese and so did Debbie Taylor. Debbie said, “It was lovely to see all the bollies & catch-up with friends. Such a shame that numbers are down & hoping that new & responsible breeders fall in love with the breed & help it grow in the UK“. Kathy Holliday was showing her Havanese, but made a point of coming over to see the Bolognese as she has 2 at home.

Denise Simpson visited from The Isle of Man saying “I came with a friend who became smitten with the breed. Everyone with a Bolognese was so friendly – we got many cuddles from them including a beautiful puppy”.

Joy & Norman Hough enjoyed their time with the Bolognese and Joy helped with some last minute handling. Joy said, “What a lovely day we had at Crufts visiting the Bolognese ring. It was so nice to catch up with old friends and see all the dogs who were looking very smart. There was a lovely atmosphere around the ring. Congratulations to all who took part and especially to those who managed to win a rosette“. Joy added, “It was sad to see how few competitors were there. We really need to promote the breed and get more people interested in showing these beautiful little dogs“.

Shirley Hewitson was at her first Crufts for 5-years and was able to see progeny from her lines win top awards. There were visitors admiring the dogs, taking pictures and asking about the breed, but the benches were nothing like as busy as pre-COVID days. The ring was lovely as is the norm and it is always a pleasure showing at Crufts.

Our judge Maria Petersen from Denmark was reserved, she went over the dogs to the minimum standard and didn’t give them much chance to move individually. I didn’t get the impression the judge was particularly interested in the breed. We had a low entry of 35, relatively low class number and even the open classes were not very big.

Costantino Di Chiesanova Int Jch, known as ‘Pesto’ (bred by Annalisa Ares Agostini & Carla Perondi) visited from Denmark.  Pesto is a champion in his own country. Although we cannot make up Champions in the UK, Bolognese are awarded championship status in Europe and are able to qualify for crufts in their own country and turn up on the day having sometimes never been shown in the UK before. Pesto took the Open Dog Class and Best Male, but was beaten in the challenge by Best Bitch Enjanicka Toscana Mio ‘Cara’ owned, showed and bred by Jane Towers, for Best of Breed.

Donocielo Seraphina Reserve Best Bitch and Best Veteran with Judge Maria Petersen

Dennis & Carol Mulligan owners of Donocielo Seraphina Best Bitch & Best Veteran said, ” We were really pleased for Seraphina she is almost 10 years old but can still hold her own amongst the other girls in the breed. Very proud of our young boys as well, Meko and Tito”.

Best Puppy Arkadian Alfredo Ferrari with judge Maria Petersen

Mark & Diane Whateley’s youngster Arkadian Alfredo Ferrari known as ‘Dino’ took Best Puppy. Diane Whateley commented, “This year we decided to show 3 dogs our homebred puppy Dino, his sire Enzo and his dam Amy. At just 7.5 months Dino really did us proud, moving with confidence and achieving 1st Puppy Dog and Best Puppy in Breed. An important part of the day was catching up with so many of our friends and fellow Bolognese enthusiasts. There was a nice friendly atmosphere along the benches and ringside“.

Belstown Harry The Potter, first in Limit and Reserve Best Dog

My 5-year old boy Belstown Harry The Potter won the Limit Dog Class and was awarded Reserve Best Dog. Harry really enjoyed his time at Crufts and amazingly he behaved and looked like a pro meaning all the training and coat care came good. Bette Hopkins won both her classes, Limit Bitch with Enjanicka Toscana Ti Adoro and Good Citizen with Lyckalotte Elegante Athena. Phendelle Phyllis Eida owned by Hilary McArdell won the Junior Bitch Class.

Bette Hopkins dogs Bijou and Alba both won their classes at Crufts

Bette Hopkins had some thoughts about the day. Bette said, “At Crufts everyone is in high spirits. I felt we were slightly out on a limb in Hall 4 which was very cold and draughty, but people still came to admire our dogs. I thought the judge could have given a bit more time to the dogs, as a simple up and down doesn’t tell you all. She did not follow their movement around the ring but immediately went to the next dog. I was a bit disappointed that the Danish judge picked the only Danish dog as Best Dog, but showing is always subjective and rather unpredictable. I am pleased with my two first places”.

We asked Deana Mee for her memories and thoughts from the day. Deana said, “What a lovely Crufts 2024 this was the first time I had been since 2020. The dogs all looked lovely and everyone was in good sprits some excellent results for Mark and Diane Whateley very proud of Aimee and Enzos son little Dino winning best Puppy. Hilary Mc Ardell also had a lovely day seeing the young dogs she bred my Otto and her Phyllis both winning their classes. Bette Hopkins winning with Bijou and Alba so very pleased for her and all exhibitors having a share out of the awards on offer from the Judge from Denmark Mrs M Pedersen”. Deana added, “Not forgetting Belstown Harry The Potter taking Reserve Best Dog and Carol & Dennis Mulligan‘s lovely Seraphina winning Best Veteran. What pleased me most was my Felice she was so happy and excited at being back in the show ring“.

Myself and Debbie Taylor managed to capture some lovely shots of the dogs around the benches and Dennis Mulligan took a great group shot of some of the exhibitors in the ring with the judge. Unfortunately some exhibitors were missing from the group shot, even through we tried to gather them together!  People around The World thanked us for sharing our pictures of the day on Facebook and we got some lovely comments and compliments.

Until next Crufts, keep up the good work training and keeping your dogs in show condition they are a credit to you and to the breed.

Melanie Thomas

CLICK HERE for full Crufts results

Melanie Thomas, Chairperson

Melanie Thomas, Chairperson

I live in St Leonards on Sea, East Sussex with 2 Bolognese and I show one of my dogs.