The Ladies Kennel Association (commonly known as the LKA) is the last major championship dog show of the year for the Irish Wolfhound community, along with many other dog breeds. It has always been a popular show and an opportunity for friends to have a last get together and exchange cards and gifts and is also a qualifying show for Crufts for many of the breeds in attendance. The LKA 2015 had a great entry totalling 74, consisting of both UK and European dogs and this show bucked the trend of many other championship shows this year with only a limited level of absentees (compared to even breed club shows, where absentee rates have been over 50% in some cases). As well as the festive atmosphere at the show, undoubtedly another big draw was breed specialist judge, Maggie Holder (Mascotts) who was delighted to award Best of Breed and the Dog CC to Louise Pinkney’s homebred Hydebeck Imperial Ruler JW and the Reserve Dog CC went to Julie & Chris Amoo’s Sade Tyrion. Top honours in the girls were awarded to the Dukesarum Kennel, whose bitch, Dukesarum Aoife gained the CC and the Reserve CC was taken by Sue Wilkinson’s young girl, Jessica Kate Roan Inish. Debbie and Roger Tebbutt’s lovely puppy, Brachan Dolig Wen Caredig earned the Best Puppy title and Best Veteran was awarded to our own 9 year old Hermine von der Sillerquelle bei Heliodor. Maggie said that she had a fantastic day judging and was constantly delighted with the hounds shown before her:

It was a privilege to judge the Irish Wolfhounds at LKA 2015, I can’t remember ever judging an entry of such quality, where every class gave me challenges and I was spoilt for choice in most classes. I was very impressed with the males, in Postgrad Dog there were dogs I liked which were not placed, the first three in Limit Dog are fine examples of the breed, and my bitch line up was so good that I would have been happy to award CC’s to the Puppy Bitch, Junior Bitch, and 1st and 2nd in Postgrad Bitch along with the Limit winner. There were some very promising youngsters and the veteran winner was quite lovely, being fit and well at 9 years old. My stewards were extremely efficient, keeping everything flowing smoothly and there was a great atmosphere ringside mainly due to the presence of the cake ladies. A memorable day for me, thank you to everyone for your entries.
— Maggie Holder

As well as the top winners there were some fabulous personal achievements for many owners and handlers; Caroline Sheppard’s and Amanda Brown’s huge boy, Ned (Draugfara Taren) was placed first in Open Dog class and simultaneously also gained his Stud Book number (subject to KC confirmation) - a massive milestone for a massive hound! Home grown boy, Bertie (Bonaforte’s Earl Grey) also impressed and gained a second place in a very strong Postgraduate Dog class and Jo Hughes and Miles Kendrick’s youngest Wolfhound, Draken, also ranked second in the Junior Dog class and rounded off a successful showing year for Bonaforte’s Illuminati. Pauline Ashby’s lovely girl, Ashgroave Burleigh Oakey, was also placed second in Junior Bitch class and was sired by another member of the Bonaforte Kennel, Backwoods Samuel von der Oelmuehle. Delightful to see a whole batch of very promising puppies being shown. Lesley and Steve Bradley’s gorgeous girls took 1st and 2nd place in Minor Puppy Bitch: Glengail Ggeraldine At Floydian owned and handled by Debbie Treadwell and Lesley and Steve’s, Glengail Ggwendolyn. There was another pair of litter sisters showing in Puppy Bitch, belonging to the Dukesarum Kennel, amongst some other stunning youngsters bred by renowned Kennels, Rainster and Ravensbeech. Puppy Dog class offered another opportunity to see Sonali Das Purkayastha handling the lovely boy belonging to her and her father, Ravensbeech Romanus Among Neckrebagh. Congratulations to all the Wolfhounds shown this year at LKA, they are all winners in their own right and there are often amazing stories behind many of these dogs. Some of these hounds have overcome great adversity to achieve show results, some have survived serious illness and injury and some have been liberated from appalling situations to go on to flourish in their new homes. These personal stories make just being at the show a massive achievement for the dogs and their owners and the histories of these hounds bring a tear to our eyes - tears of joy. Finally, this time of year is a time for reflection for many of us and all of us at the Bonaforte Kennel have remarked on how much we have enjoyed the social side of the shows over the last months and we could not finish without mentioning and thanking the sensational ‘Cake Ladies’! I think I can speak for everyone in our community in saying a huge thank you to the dedication, talent and generosity of the 'cake ladies'. Not only do we all appreciate a slice of carbohydrate-fuelled delectation, but it is what the cake represents; owners, handlers, breeders, judges and even just visitors joining together on a social level at dog shows. For this reason it has been a great year around the show ring and we sincerely hope this trend continues. There is nothing better to break the ice and meet new people, calm down a stressed dog handler or show your appreciation to someone else, than a slice of cake. As well as offering cake to everyone, the Ladies decided to do a ‘flash raffle’ at the LKA of a superbly decorated Christmas cake, made and donated by Carole Kelly. The raffle was drawn on the day by IWRT Treasurer, Roger Tebbutt and the raffle raised a staggering £150.30, in only a few hours, for Irish Wolfhound Rescue and the actual cake was won by a delighted Sacha Dolling. Irish Wolfhound Cake Ladies - we salute you!

Season’s Greetings from All of us at Bonaforte Wolfhounds