Bernese News 19th July 2018

The Bernese entry for Leeds Championship Show 2018 has been announced as 40 entries for breed specialist judge Linda Stephenson (Durrbach)

For comparison the entry at Leeds 2017 was 72 entries with 23 absentees for breed specialist judge Gary Lewthwaite (Gartwaite).


At a sweltering East of England Championship Show 2018 there were no CCs on offer for Bernese this year but breed specialist Neil Heslam (Feorena) attracted 31 entries with 13 absentees across 14 classes.

Best of Breed was awarded to Karen Bird & Shandy Bridges' Ch Kernow Something ShCM who was bred by Shandy and he went on to win Group 4 under all-rounder Rodney Oldham.

Best Bitch went to Jaybiem Burli Shassi, owned and bred by June Miles.

Best Puppy went to Jesterbrock Dragonstone, a bitch bred by Wendy Westlake and owned by the Worralls,

Best Veteran was awarded to Julie Ann Wright's Materabern Good Friday bred by Kathy Pawlyszin and
Best Special Beginner went to James and Cathy Connelly's Shirdees Top Gun bred by Shirley King and Julie Bramble. Congratulations.


The July 2018 edition of the Kennel Club Journal contains a few items of particular interest to Bernese folk.

Confirmed Championship Show judging appointments

Belfast 2018 Mr Espen Engh
Windsor 2019 Kevin Newhouse
National Working & Pastoral Breeds 2019 Liz Cartledge
Southern BMD Club 2020 Sandra Hallam.

Junior Warrant Certificate awarded
Padiky Starr Studded Skye
Owned and bred by Diana and Paige Spencer
Sire: Pol Ch Star Is Coming Z Deikowej Doliny
Dam: Waldershelf Ethels Way At Padiky JW ShCM.

Kennel Name - Joint Interest
Meadowpark - Mrs Carole Hartley-Mair & Mr Gary Dybdall.


All-rounder judge Willy Dobbin made the trip over from Ireland to find 48 entries with 12 absentees across 14 classes at National Working & Pastoral Breeds Championship Show 2018.

Carole Hartley-Mair and Gary Dybdall's record-breaking Ch Meadowpark High Class won his 42nd CC and also Best of Breed, and the same owners' were awarded a 2nd CC for their Meadowpark Picture Perfect (Ch Guiness Record From Christofland To Fortonpark (Imp Cze) x Ch Meadowpark Perfect Blend). Carole owns and bred the Reserve Bitch CC winner too, Meadowpark Touch Of Class who is sired by the Best of Breed winner x Meadowpark Breezing On and then Carole and Bernice Mair also bred Annie New's Meadowpark Just Dreamy (Ch Meadowpark Vertigo JW x Ch Meadowpark Just A Dream who won Best Special Beginner and went on to be placed Working Special Beginner Group 2 under all-rounder J Broadberry.

The Reserve Dog CC was awarded to Jackie Green and Rebecca King's Nld import Joseph Vom Durrbachler Wald At Arvella. He is rising 2 years old, bred by Marieke de Wold and sired by Int & Multi Ch Gorgeous Mc-Gregor V Rummelsbach x Emarli V Durrbachler Wald.

Julie Baldwin's homebred Fortonpark Sez I'm Classy added another Best Puppy to her tally and Sue Flanagan's homebred Collansues Rosebud was Best Veteran. Congratulations.


Three Bernese popped up on UK TV screens last week.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex visited President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina at their official residence in Dublin and their two Bernese, Shadow (or Sioda as sometimes spelled) and Brod joined them all for a walk in the grounds, during the rest of the visit and hogged the limelight in the photo shoot too. These sociable and friendly dogs gave a good account of the wonderful temperament and loyal companionship that an authentic, typical Bernese can bring to a household - even a household as enormous and grand as that one!

A short video of the Duke and Duchess with the Bernese can be viewed here;

The new 2018 TV advert for Macmillan also features a Bernese - this time it is Sandra Hallam's Fizz who I believe was bred by Di Atherton and Fizz also looks friendly and happy so another positive glimpse of a happy friendly Bernese.


The TV advert featuring the Bernese can be viewed here;

Of course, as we have experienced in the past, the reaction to Bernese appearing in the media was mixed because historically the consequences of some of those past Bernese TV appearances have prompted problems. Some folk are delighted to see our breed in any context whilst others are fearful of the negative impact that promotion and exposure of our breed might attract. I doubt that too much damage or increased exploitation of Bernese will be caused by such short exposure of those dogs in these two events mentioned above but we should be thankful that an opportunist hasn't featured Bernese puppies for media exploitation which could prompt unwanted knee-jerk reactions and consequently an increased demand from the ill-informed "I-must-have--one-of- those" viewers.


Bernd Guenter emailed to tell me that the 2019 Bernese calendar published by Avonside is now available and consists of more wonderful photos taken by Bernd.

Full details can be viewed on the Avonside website here;


With the show season storming along at full pelt discussions regarding judging and judges are ongoing. I saw this well-thought out article and thought it very relevant so it is reproduced below, in it's entirety, with permission from the author Maureen Mitchell.

MAINTAINING CONSISTENCY OF TYPE AND QUALITY.....                     by Maureen Mitchell

"Looking at the principles of judging as a whole, what makes the system a good or bad one? Is it purely the judging system or is it the way judges are being selected and consequently their approach and attitude to the way they judge? Are they merely in pursuit of their own aims, and do they really care about the dogs they are judging, and the effect they may have on the breeds and their future? Are we creating generic judges who just follow like sheep the latest trends and fashions?

"Taking on the role of a judge should be an honour and we should have pride and respect for the position, the exhibitors who have taken the time and money to enter for our honest opinion, and most importantly the breeds themselves. As the saying goes, there is no such thing as the perfect dog, but even so, the intention should always be to produce the best specimens we can. It is extremely important also, to have the same sincere objectives when judging by rewarding without fear or favour, the best examples; ideally, a sound, balanced, well constructed dog which conforms as near to the breed standard as possible for type and quality, and it is this which should firmly be at the forefront of our minds.

"Judges and breeders alike have a duty of care, as our actions play a substantial role in keeping breeds on the right track in their future development. As breeders we can change the whole fabric of a breed when a certain ‘type’ can become influential. It is a breeder’s responsibility to know what makes their stock worthy of being bred from and to have the skill to carefully consider and ably choose what to breed to, and with all the complexities which go into producing good stock, will hopefully compliment their chosen breed and give something worthwhile back which is of correct type, soundness and quality. This will be of significant value to long-term breed development and strategy as a measure of what will inevitably end up in the show ring.
Being ‘fit for purpose’ is not a cliché; it is the building-block behind all breeds in relation to their original development which enabled them to function in the nature of their work. In some breeds that function is no longer a requirement, but the basic engineering still applies.

"So what is the point of Breed Standards if they are being interpreted differently in the show ring? It is only natural that opinions will vary to a small degree as they are based on our personal view. But it is the increasing level of variation in type, when defining features start to digress outside the parameters of the standard and a style or trend is introduced and rewarded to which our eye is drawn and becomes accustomed. Then further variances and exaggerations occur and continue to develop. And so begins the slippery slope, when breed type starts to change, faults which are constantly rewarded become established and accepted as the norm and are judged to be the best, and as a consequence are bred from. Our next generation of judges are then stepping into the ring, applying what they consider to be correct on the basis of what they have seen, and a whole breed is changed, not overnight, but gradually and subtly eroded over a period of time.

"The Breed Standard is a blueprint, a plan of the ideal specimen which provides the defined level of quality and excellence against which all our breeds are judged, and is necessary for the long-term and continuing strategy for the future, to retain and maintain reliable consistency and conserve essential breed specific characteristics. Once you start to tamper with those standards is when those building blocks start to crack and things start to fail. The dog should fit the Standard, we should not change the Standard to fit the dog so if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

"It isn’t just a matter of learning the Breed Standard off by heart. We have to fully understand the meaning and recognise it when it is presented to us so that wider ranging differences of opinion do not occur. To be successful, we should express a never-ending willingness to learn from every source available to us and ask questions, listen and take note from those with more experience and knowledge than ourselves. It is so important to our future development and understanding in both our dog showing and judging careers and eventual long-term breeding programmes.

"A point worth considering, it doesn’t necessarily follow that we will inevitably be suited to judging dogs just because we show them. Aspirant judges should be encouraged if they show a certain inclination and aptitude for it, which should lead to a natural progression, but it isn’t for everyone and it certainly isn’t for the faint-hearted. There is no rush to step into those judging shoes; learn the tools of the trade, and gain the confidence and ability necessary to do a decent job. If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well.
So what factors determine the quality of our future judges and make them ‘fit for purpose’? In my opinion it is of great importance in the first instance to have an eye for a dog and this to me has to be one of the most basic requirements; having the ability to instinctively recognize and appreciate the qualities, characteristics and attributes which make a dog distinctive. Secondly, to have a good understanding of conformation and movement; the identifiable form, anatomy and basic structure and shape of a breed and the mechanism which gives them the power of locomotion. Thirdly, having the skill and ability as a judge, to assimilate and evaluate the breed standard and accurately apply those guidelines, by making fair, informed and balanced decisions. As a judge, when assessing a dog’s static and kinetic conformation in the ring we should form a mental picture of the standard. To run our hands over a dog and feel, but more importantly, understand and acknowledge what is beneath, from the tip of its nose to the end of its tail (this is also why I feel we need to have our hands-on as many dogs as we can in order to understand their faults and virtues). Our observations should hopefully be endorsed when we see the dog in action on the move, then in conclusion, taking everything into account, we should judge and critique accordingly.

"You cannot, however, judge a single facet by itself, as each feature has to be assessed in relation to all the other component parts and then applied as a whole, bringing together in harmony a coherence of all the characteristics which make a dog typical and therefore a good specimen and representative of its breed; like a well oiled machine! Your decisions may not suit everyone as our opinions can be subjective and no one is perfect, but that final line up should show in essence the characteristics of breed type in evidence, and should give a clear indication of your personal view in earnest as far as is humanly and justifiably possible on the day; and that is all we can ask of a judge. Of course we can only judge the dogs we have in front of us, so we have to be clear in our understanding of our breeds and their precise make-up, and take into account the good and not so good points in order to judge fairly and appropriately.

"We hear repeatedly that if we continue in the direction we are heading, the end result will be nothing more than a collection of generic dogs that are lacking in quality and do not relate to their specific breed type. This sadly is becoming more evident, but we should not be allowing it to become prevalent. Consistency, therefore, is essential to maintain the standard with minimal variation and can only be achieved by acquiring knowledge, skill, training and experience, which doesn’t come overnight and shouldn’t come without effort.

"We should not be teaching judges just to pass seminars. It is vitally important that we have credible judges who are appreciated for their value and worth to the future of their breeds and to dog showing in general and should be evaluated on their ability and experience. They should inspire confidence by showing that they are impartial, and their opinions are sound and have the capability to make sensible decisions formed by their own personal judgment, based on their assessment on the merit and performance of each and every dog on the day in accordance with the standard. Not on any previously held views or opinions of someone else. Any pre-conceived ideas should be left outside the ring, leaving room only for rational thinking and objective reasoning. That comprehensive understanding and ability to identify and reward the virtues and penalise the faults by using skill and judgment based on real experience and reliable information together with a keen eye for detail.

"It is our responsibility to safeguard our breeds for the future. So when we stand centre-ring, we have to show a passion and give our breeds the respect they deserve by having the courage of our convictions in expressing the confidence and credibility to judge the dogs as befits their standards, and maintain consistency of breed type and improve breed quality for future generations to come. To judge in any other way is unacceptable.

"Whichever route our judges and breeders take today can set the trend for what our future judges and breeders do tomorrow. The future advancement of dog showing and more importantly our dogs’ future is without question in our hands, as the archetypal breed type may be disappearing down the wrong path. To get it back, if they ever do, may take a lifetime with the returning path being a long and arduous one.

"Yes, we do have many competent judges in this country with firm principles who are devoted to getting it right and tread within the guidelines that were set down before them by their predecessors; and breeders who are continually in pursuit of quality and excellence, because they could not imagine or conceive it any other way. But clearly, the Kennel Club are concerned enough about the judging issue to consider it necessary to look at measures to try and improve the system and draw us back into our declining sport. But unless they can reach and satisfy the heart of the dog showing fraternity, the grass roots, there may never be a true solution to finding a way to encourage new exhibitors and keep them and the current ones involved. There's a need to develop a balanced and wide-ranging approach to bringing on judges who will motivate us with a new optimism, and bring with it the passion, enthusiasm and integrity to inspire not only this generation, but the next.
Maureen Mitchell ©

Jude Simonds


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