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Interview CRUFTS Judges 2023

Aimee Davies
& Francesco cochetti

Aimee Davies (Dachidas Chihuahuas, UK) and Francesco Cochetti (Di San Gimignano Chihuahuas, ITALY) have judged the Breed at Crufts 2023, the Smooths for Aimee Davies and the Longs for Francesco Cochetti.
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The International Chihuahua Club is happy to share with you these two short interviews.

As usual ladies first :


ICC:  How were your days before this big event? Rather calm or excited? Can you tell us more. 



A.D.: I always get nervous in a good way a few days before I judge and this was multiplied for Crufts because it is viewed as the greatest dog show in the world.
As a breeder/exhibitor you understand how much it means to people to qualify a dog and the work it takes to get to that point and you want to do the best possible job for every exhibitor who has entered their dog under you. 

You also reflect on your own experiences at Crufts and what they meant to you.
Most of all you think about finding those exhibits which meet your interpretation of the breed standard and best represent our beloved breed on the biggest stage.



ICC: Does Crufts have a special symbolism for you, in relation to your family and the many successes as an exhibitor you had?



A.D.: Yes it does I can vividly remember going to my first Crufts as a child when it was held at Earls Court in London and how excited I was. Crufts was also the only show that my late father Bob always attended, he would get annoyed sometimes with the politics at shows but he always came to Crufts to look after the dogs and even handle a dog on occasion after much arm twisting! 



Over the years we have been fortunate to win BOB in S/C Chihuahuas at Crufts on 10 occasions with 5 different dogs 4 of which were bred by ourselves. Some very special memories for me of Crufts are of course centred around Astro - CH Dachida’s Master Angel who won BOB 4 times and in 2005 won the Toy Group under highly respected all rounder Ms Ferelith Somerfield. I will never forget that feeling of being pulled out for the top stop and Astro taking the winning lap round the ring in his stride as always. We had no expectations that year and even laughed when we pulled up to the benches in the morning and realised that Astro’s ring number was the same as the last four digits of our phone number. I’m very superstitious about ring numbers and I still have Astros from that year.
It was very special to return to the BIS ring a few years later as a spectator to watch his granddaughter strut her stuff following on from winning the group.



ICC: You gave Best Of Breed to the champion male « Ch Parisland Pans Little Man at Manchino », can you tell us in three words the qualities you appreciate in him ?



A.D.: Type, Confirmation and Ears!

(Three words is far too few to do justice to him but I understand the exercise!)



ICC:  Usually, in which "mode" do you write your critiques? Do you prefer to spread the task over several days or finish it in one go? What supports do you use? Personal notes? Pictures? Can you tell us more…



A.D.:  I rely on my notes from the day and my memory. Photos can be deceiving in a good and also a bad way. Also you now have access to the catalogue for the dogs names, owners.and age.



I always do a first full draft as soon as I can after the show I put good and bad in just as I wrote on the day and then go back over the draft and refine the critique. I would never put anything overly negative in a dogs critique, however I do believe there purpose is to inform the exhibitor or a person that wasn’t there on the day why you arrived at the decision you did. 
A pet hate of mine is reading a critique and having no idea why 1 was placed above 2. Even if the two dogs were of equal merit there had to be something that made the difference on that day ie showmanship. size, balance etc.



ICC: Above all the exhibited dogs, is there a general remark (positive and/or negative) that you would like to highlight?



A.D.: Overall I found the depth of quality and more consistent breed type in the bitch classes.
In males there was a greater variance in type and size . In general mouths were good, as were tails and front assembly and movement. Rear movement was troubling with number exhibiting very close rear movement and lack of drive.

However I’m afraid the most worrying aspect for me was the variance of breed type in heads. Heaviness in muzzle was far too prevalent and occasionally was accompanied by actual wrinkling on the muzzle which is most untypical for the breed. Quite often they would have a good skull and eye but then you came to the ears where they should be large and flaring ears which frame and balance the head adding to the desired breed characteristic saucy expression. Instead there were small kitten like ears which only made the heaviness in muzzle look even more uncharacteristic and resembling another breed.


This isn’t something I penalised for however there seems to be a trend now to trim the tail tip off the tail so rather than the tail ending with its natural sickle point you are instead left with a rounded end that resembles a sore finger. Please stop doing this, it doesn’t look good and for me ruins the look of the tail and is so unnecessary.



ICC: Thanks a lot Aimee for sharing with us these fresh and honest words.

 

 

We continue with Francesco Cochetti, Long Coat Chihuahua Judge :

ICC: How were your days before this big event? Rather calm or excited? Can you tell us more.



F.C.: I was visiting Crufts since i was a child and the days before the event have been always exciting and much more this year when I had the appointment to judge there.



ICC: « Have Chihuahuas already been judged at Crufts from a foreign judge ? »
We did not find the correct informations to affirm this or not but one thing is certain: for the past 23 years this has not been the case. What does this mean to you in your career as a judge from Italy?



F.C.: I don't think the breed has ever been judged before by a foreign judge.

It has always been a dream that this year became true. There is not other show like Crufts and England is the mother of our dog world. It is a great achievement for my judge's career.


ICC: You gave Best Of Breed to the champion male « Ch Bramver’s Millionaire ». Can you tell us briefly the qualities you appreciate in him ?



F.C.: A great mover, very sound, not too big, not too small, a true Chihuahua with the elegance of a toy breed. He came inside the ring so proud and was an eye catcher.



ICC: You are used to the FCI system of critics but have already judged in UK; how do you plan to write your Crufts’s critique? Do you prefer to spread the task over several days or finish it in one go? What supports do you use? Personal notes? Pictures? Can you tell us more…



F.C.: In a way is more difficult when you judge without using the grade system. The grade helps to do a first cut. When you have large classes, you need to take some notes, otherwise you could be totally lost. Very difficult, for example, is to remember the bites of the dogs you have examined. You could have a beautiful specimen with a wrong bite. I have written my critiques in a block note and I will check them again in the coming days before to send them. Tuula took the pictures of the winners to have focus on them.



ICC: Above all the exhibited dogs, is there a general remark (positive and/or negative) that you would like to highlight?



F.C. The comments are always positive regarding Crufts. It is "The Show" and every dog lover should visit it, at least once.

About the dogs I have judged, maybe the general quality in our breed is a bit down comparing it with the past, and this happened all over, but you can still find some really nice dogs and this is what you are looking to find when you judge.

ICC: Thanks a lot Francesco too for sharing with us your judging’s experience at Crufts 2023.



Interviews – ICC

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