by Meg Purnell-Carpenter, March 1, 2001
As we look around ringside and note the vigor and health of elder judges, we should count our blessings that we are a part of showing dogs. There's much we can learn from those senior judges who remain involved and engaged. Dogs do keep us healthy!
Best In Show at Crufts 2001 will be judged by Mrs. Ann Arch. Ann is one of Britain’s most popular and respected judges. She awards Challenge Certificates in more than forty-eight breeds, is much in demand all over the world, not only for her knowledge and expertise, but also her practical and honest approach to judging.
Ann is a very down to earth and approachable lady who is always willing to listen to everyone's problems and help them to solve them. Hence she receives many telephone calls well into the night from dog people asking for her guidance and advice of which she so willingly gives. Her life is very full, not only is she kept extremely busy with her judging appointments at home and abroad, she is a member of the English Kennel Clubs General Committee, Chairman of The Kennel Club Show Executive Sub Committee, also a member of the Kennel Clubs Working Party Committee. If that is not enough, she is Secretary of National Working and Pastoral Breeds Society, Chairman of the Hungarian Puli-Club of Great Britain and President of several breed clubs.
Born in High Wycombe, not far from London, Ann lived in the same house there until she married. At 10 years of age Ann informed her mother she would like a dog to show, after discussions the local vet, Mr. Anderson, suggested a Cairn Terrier, and taking his advice a puppy of this breed was purchased (unfortunately) from a very commercial area in Leicester for the grand sum 13 guineas. He was registered as Templond Emperor and was a source of income to the vet until the dog died at an early age without being shown. Not to be deterred, Ann and her mother purchased her next dog from a sub postmaster and his wife. This Cairn was called Normanhurst The Joker (Mac to his friends) Ann still has the third prize card which he won at The Ladies Kennel Association Championship Show in the Novice class, the judge was the late Diana Hamilton, Mrs. Ferelith Somerfields (another of our top all rounders) mother. Mac did well in the show ring and was still alive when Ann married at 19 years of age.
Ann has a son and a daughter, it seems that through her son Bill, Ann became involved in Old English Sheepdogs. Bill had a toy Old English on wheels, which he loved. Unfortunately for some unknown reason he was very nervous of real dogs and because of this Ann and her husband decided to purchase an Old English Sheepdog puppy. This they purchased from the famous Miss Tilley of the Shepton Kennels costing them 15 guineas. Shepton Magic was his registered name, but to Ann's son he was “Butch.” Ann remembers the puppy on the back seat of the car on the way home with her son curled up beside him. This dog lived until he was 14 years old and his closest companion was - yes - you’ve guessed, it was Ann’s son Bill. Ann progressed with her Old English Sheepdogs by purchasing a bitch who had been bred by the Reculver Kennels called Champion Reculver’s Little Rascal (Cuddles). The bitch campaigned by Ann achieved her title and won Reserve Best In Show and Best Opposite Sex at the Three Counties Championship Show. Unfortunately she never produced any puppies, so undeterred, Ann purchased a bitch bred by Norman Harrison. This bitch was mated to Somerset Chieftan and she produced a litter, which included World Champion Loakespark Brandy Soda. Also Australian Champion Loakespark Sportsman - this dog was the first Old English Sheepdog to gain his Australian Championship in four straight challenges. This litter was the first to carry the Loakespark prefix. Sportsman’s photograph was in the popular dog series book of the Old English Sheepdog for over 25 years.
Unfortunately due to problems with her hands Ann reluctantly had to give up her Old English Sheepdogs as she was unable to do the necessary grooming. This was when she discovered the Komondor, very much like the Old English but without the coat grooming, She acquired Herceqvaros Cica of Borgvaale & Loakespark. Kitten as she was called, came from New Jersey, U.S.A. she was sired by the top winning Komondor at that time - American Champion Szentivanic Ingo. To this day Kitten has been the only one of the Breed to win a group at a championship show in the U.K. Sadly she was never bred from, as at the time the only dog available was her brother.
Kitten won the Pedigree Chum Veteran Stakes at 13 years of age. Her photograph is still used in the Kennel Clubs Illustrated Breed Standards book. She lived until she was 14 years old. Ann still has some of her cords to this day. In the early 1970's Ann purchased a Shih Tzu for her daughter Alexandra called Loakespark Antarctica Luk-Kee who won a Best In Show at 10 months. Ann still has a Shih Tzu today called Bertie. Her interest in Hungarian Pulis began when she hand reared a litter for Nancy Tomlin who then gave Ann a puppy from the litter called Zulu. Ann then purchased her first show Puli from Pat Lanz of the Borgevaale Pulis, this bitch was called Ch Borgvaale Polly Peachflowa at Loakespark. This bitch became the first and only black masked apricot U.K. Champion. She established firmly the now famous Loakespark Line of Pulis. Her son Champion Loakespark Polynesian Boy (Danny) was the first of the Breed to win a group at a Championship Show. Whilst his sister Champion Loakespark Polly-esta (Esta) still holds the bitch record with 23 C.C.'s to her credit.
Although Ann still has two Pulis living at home, daughter Alexandra who lives in Virginia, U.S.A. has the centre of the Loakespark Pulis with her where certainly they are making their presence felt in the American show ring.
One of Ann’s other passions outside of the world of dogs has always been motor racing to which she freely admits to being rather addicted. She attended the first Grand Prix which was held at Silverstone after the war even though afterwards she had to sit until 10pm in the car park until she could get out. She used to go time-keeping in the pits at both Goodwood and Silverstone. She still follows the sport with great interest - but usually from a chair in front of the television.
Asking Ann what had been her most memorable and enjoyable judging appointment, without hesitation she told me it was the Newfoundland Club Show in Denmark where there were so many wonderful dogs that she was spoilt for choice. I asked her what she gets from the dog world, other than her love of dogs, her answer was meeting lots of genuine hobbyist people.
As for what she would like to see - it would be -in her words - less politics and more acceptance to learn before making decisions. You cannot buy experience, only time gives you this. The dog world has deteriorated, many people think that money can buy anything, they are not prepared to serve an apprenticeship.
You may all wonder what the Best In Show Judge at Crufts will be doing leading up to this great appointment, you would imagine her living a life of glamour and luxury, not so, I can tell you she will be where she is happiest, being practical and down to earth. Helping to set up the Hungarian Puli Club stand at Discover Dog section of Crufts. You will probably find her there on the days leading up to the Best in Show helping out and talking to visitors about her breed. She will then drive to the airport to collect her daughter Alexandra who is flying in to watch her mum on this special day. This is what makes Ann a special person, she always has to keep herself busy and helpful. She is a true dog fancier, with her feet firmly on the ground.
On Monday, May 28th 2001, Ann will take centre stage at the greatest dog show in the world, there will be millions of people all over the world watching her make that final decision on the dog or bitch from 21,000 entries - who is to be awarded Best In Show - Crufts 2001.
Enjoy your finest day Ann, we love you for your honesty, integrity and experience, we will all be there with you. We are proud and privileged to know you as a true friend and a great judge.
You may wonder how I managed to interview a lady who is as busy as Ann. Well this was done on an express train as we traveled into Milan, Italy where Ann was judging at the International Show earlier this year. I was lucky enough to be her traveling companion for this trip. As we boarded the Malpensa Express I asked Ann what she was judging - and to my amazement she told me she had not been informed. Looking through the 'What’s on in Milan' which is a free booklet giving the information on all events I read that Ann was to be judging Best In Show, as well as Several breeds on both days. When we arrived she was welcomed by the ‘Committee’ who confirmed this. The following morning she was informed that she was not now judging Best In Show as the F.C.I. had turned her down! It seemed strange that this had happened over night also that she had judged Best In Show the previous week under F.C.I ruling in another country. I was horrified at the treatment to this highly qualified and respected judge who, not only was she more than capable of Judging this Italian show, she was contracted to judge Best In Show at Crufts Dog Show in England, where the size of this show 21,000 make the Milan International look like a match - and a small one at that. But Ann, the lady that she is, did not falter once, and accepted the rejection with all the grace that one expects from her. I have to say I don't think the Italians will ever persuade her to Judge at their shows again.