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Table Talk · May 24, 2023


This is my first Table Talk column of the season written from my screened porch. It is a beautiful sunny day, and I am blessed with the beauty of my garden and my pooches surrounding me as I write this week’s thoughts. I hope every one of you have blessings such as this in your life.

When Westminster Kennel Club announced the Best In Show judge change from Geir Flyckt-Pedersen to Beth Sweigert, I was concerned. I knew Geir would not miss the opportunity to judge Best In Show at Westminster unless the problem was serious. I had the opportunity to spend some time with Geir over the last several months. He was undergoing chemotherapy again, and in true Geir fashion he exhibited bravery and determination. I had not spoken to him recently; and I thought to give him a call when I heard of the judge change but put it off. The opportunity for that last conversation is gone and for that I am very sad. The dog world lost another great one on May 15th. Geir had been fighting cancer on and off for many years and his strength and determination allowed us to have him in our lives for as long as we did. Now, the only thing left to hold on to is his memory. Let this be yet another lesson to us all. Do not put off that phone call, or that visit. You never know when the opportunity will no longer be available.  Rest well, my friend. You put up one heck of a fight.


Just how short is the shortest US specials career? Well, the now famous PBGV Buddy Holly aka CH Soletrader Buddy Holly–the 2023 Westminster Kennel Club Best In Show Winner–is in strong contention for that title. Buddy Holly came across the pond to embark upon a show career in the states several short months ago and just like that, he is retired! Buddy began his career in January, with the expectation that he would be shown in the states for a year or two…4 ½ short months later he won the hearts and minds of so many by being crowned the first PBGV in history to take home the coveted Best In Show prize at Westminster. His handler and co-owner Janice Hayes and “Buddy’s” team have decided to retire him while he’s on top. Janice will bring “Buddy” to some shows to give judges and hound enthusiasts the opportunity to go over him.  Once again, the winner of the Westminster Kennel Club demonstrates true sportsmanship by giving back to the sport of purebred dogs!

Jason Hoke not only served as a commentator for the Fox Sports Network group and Best In Show coverage, but he also judged several breeds at this iconic event. Jason had an interesting observation: four of the six Best of Breed winners in the breeds he judged were Breeder-Owner Handled. Three of the dogs in the Best In Show lineup were bred and handled by their owners, and two were handled by their owners. So, five of the seven dogs in the Westminster Best In Show lineup were Owner-Handled! What a tribute to the dedicated breeders and owners of these dogs.

Thank you to everyone who responded to my query regarding showing newly finished dogs in the classes. I received was the most responses I have had since starting Table Talk many years ago!  Everyone who commented stated that they would move their dog up unless; 1) they had fifteen points and two majors on the nose, and 2) the major was 3 points and would break if they moved their dog up. In the latter case, most everyone stated that they would seek other affected exhibitor’s input before deciding whether to show their dog. They all stated that under no circumstances would they continue to show their finished champion in future weeks in the classes. The dog would either be moved up, or not shown.

This discussion has led to another interesting question. If your dog is close to finishing and your National Specialty is months away, what do you do? Do you hold your dog out to show in the classes at the National, or do you proceed to finish your dog and move him/her up at the National? Please email me at deb.cooper@caninechronicle.com with your thoughts.

Maddie McCue is embarking upon her solo handling career. After spending several years working at Camp Shultz in California, Maddie could not be better prepared for her handling career. Best of luck, Maddie! We look forward to having you back at the shows!

After working for Pat and Chuck Trotter since 2008, Jen Reed is leaving California to return home to Corpus Cristi, Texas. The folks out west will miss you, Jen! Best wishes on the move. The Texas folks are lucky to have you back!

Fanciers celebrating birthdays this week include:  Lisa Blondina, Nancy Smith, Kim Langlands, Tammie Wilcox, Kate DeSanto, Klayton Harris, Burk Crancer-Hughes, Jack McIlwaine, Ric Plaut, Amanda Giles, Adrian Agard, Basil Underwood, Mardee Ward-Fanning and Oliva Hodgkinson.  May you all have a great trip around the sun!

Remember, my friends! If you want it, work for it! It is that simple.

Be safe in your travels. I will see you soon down the road. Until next time…

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