Welsh Junior of the Year has over the last ten years become one of the highlights in the Welsh Dog show calendar, it is held annually at the Drovers Court, Montgomery Pavilion, on the Royal Welsh Showground’s located in Builth Wells Mid Wales, this year it was on Saturday February 25th 2017.

Drovers court on the RWAS site is a super building, and this year it was once again laid out with thought, white railed picket fenced ring, blue and yellow flowers and the welsh flags were prominently displayed on the Judging table and commentator’s tables alike.

Celebration Rosettes donated the Rosettes, and printed the catalogues which this year were once again A5 in color with half a page per dog including pedigree’s, photograph’s, and details about the dogs & owners themselves.

The event receives sponsorship from several extremely generous sources, this year Happy Dog were the main sponsors sending a 15kg sack of food for the main winners and product vouchers for each participating competitor which can be exchanged at any forthcoming event, Dorwest Herbs also donated product vouchers.  Other sponsors were, Our Dogs, Dog World, Ken Andrews, Richard Morris, Nigel Price, Trixhund Hydrotherapy Centre and Heath Veterinary Group.

This competition is now in its tenth year and is organized by Martin Sanders and his team of very well-known and highly recognized Welsh championship show committee members.

The competition is run as a knockout system and competitors are split into two groups, one group judged in the morning and one in the afternoon, each group winner then competes against each other for the overall winner.

Judges are anonymous until their appearance in the ring to draw envelopes to determine the group they are judging, Zena Thorn-Andrews (Drakesleat) drew first and her group was A, leaving Bill Browne-Cole (Travella) to judge in the afternoon group B.

Before each group judging commences, the competitors grace the ring to do a lap of honor, as they leave the ring they are handed gifts that have been donated prior to the pairs being called back in and judged, knocking out one dog each time until there is only two left and the winner of that group is declared.

Zena chose the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Jonsville Crystella Sancana as her group winner, owned by Elaine Williams and Joyce Boardman.

A sit down two course meal is provided for everyone in the lunch break and is followed by the judging of group B, this was Bill’s turn into the big ring that is provided for the competition and he chose the American cocker Spaniel Mischtikals Pole Dancer at Zarcrest owned by Zara Boyle as his group winner.

Before the finale was called the dogs were given a few minutes whilst the cake was cut and distributed with champagne was served to everyone in celebration of the events tenth anniversary.

To complete the day, both Judges are called back into the ring to decide on their overall winner from the two group winners. The dogs are judged again but this time by the other judge before a discussion announces the overall winner, this year it was the American Cocker Spaniel.

This is the second time that the winner has been an American Cocker Spaniel, the first time was in 2015 under Paul and Maria Harding, when Pole Dancer’s sire Sh Ch Mischtikals Texas YW14, W14, W16 took the top prize who has since gone onto win his title.

Texas is owned by Our Dogs Photographer Will Harris but at the time he won this competition he was is co-ownership with Zara Boyle and his breeder Jenny Ward.

This has made history at the event, with Zara Boyle being the only person to win the competition twice so far, with a Father and Daughter and Jenny Ward as breeder of both the 2015 and 2017 winners.

Mischtikals Pole Dancer at Zarcrest has already won a CC, 3 RCC’s, a BOB and been group shortlisted, she followed this win with the RBCC at the Home Counties American Cocker Spaniel club championship show, and the BCC with RBOB at Crufts 2017 all within a fortnight of achieving this title.

Report: Zara Boyle