By Pet Age Staff//January 2, 2024//
By: Pet Age Staff//January 2, 2024//
Press release: AKC
GCHP CH Hallmark Jolei Out Of This World, a Shih Tzu known as “Comet” triumphed over more than 5,700 competitors to earn a $50,000 cash prize and the title of Best in Show at the AKC National Championship Presented by Royal Canin, held December 16-17, 2023 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida. “Comet,” owned by Bonnie J Miller, Susan Carter, Luke and Diane Ehricht of Monclova, Ohio and bred by Luke and Diane Ehricht, was crowned “America’s National Champion” by Best in Show judge Clay Coady after a weekend of intense canine competition. The winner is America’s only National Champion.
The overall show totals, which include the AKC® Agility Invitational presented by YuMOVE, the AKC® Obedience Classic, the AKC® Royal Canin National All-Breed Puppy and Junior Stakes, AKC® National Owner-Handled Series Finals, the AKC® Fast CAT® Invitational, the Junior-handler events, and special attraction North America Diving Dogs (NADD) Santa Splash, topped 9,801 entries.
The show aired on the ABC television network on December 31st, and the live stream of all the weekend events is available for replay at AKC.tv®.
Reserve Best in Show and Group Winners
Reserve Best in Show: GCHG CH Kaleef’s Mercedes, a German Shepherd Dog known as “Mercedes,” owned by Cynthian Wilhelmy & Sheree Moses of Bethesda, MD and bred by Sheree Moses Combs, Lauren Arbaugh, Madeline Llewellyn, Jeanne Hamilton.
After winning Best of Breed competitions the following top dogs went on to win in their respective groups and compete for Best in Show:
Sporting: GCHG CH Vjk-Myst Heir To The Throne JH FDC CGCA CGCU TKN BN-V, a German Shorthaired Pointer known as “Phoenix,” owned by Robert Grant & V Atkinson & S Stutz & Y Deterding of Temecula, CA and bred by Susan Stutz, Yvonne Hassler-Deterding, Mrs. Valerie Nunes-Atkinson.
Hound: GCHG CH Zaida Bint Muti Von Haussman, an Afghan Hound known as “Zaida,” owned by Ramon Podesta, Scott Pfeil, J. Donahue, A. Sobrado of Ingleside, IL and bred by Ramon Podesta Valenzuela.
Working: GCHP CH Alcher Tmac Witchcraft V Gentry, a Doberman Pinscher known as “Wicked,” owned by Cheryl Green & Tony Mackenzie of Brentwood, TN and bred by Deborah Romans, Cheryl Green, Tony Mackenzie.
Terrier: GCHG CH First Class Victoria Berland Empress Of Magic, a Bedlington Terrier known as “Tori,” owned and bred by Jacquelyn Fogel of Gardnerville, NV.
Toy: GCHP CH Hallmark Jolei Out Of This World, a Shih Tzu known as “Comet,” owned by Bonnie J Miller, Susan Carter, Luke & Diane Ehricht of Monclova, OH and bred by Luke & Diane Ehricht.
Non-Sporting: GCHG CH Surrey Sage, a Miniature Poodle known as “Sage,” owned by Cathy Gauche of Houston, TX and bred by Kathleen Wallen and Kaz Hosaka.
Herding: GCHG CH Kaleef’s Mercedes, a German Shepherd Dog known as “Mercedes,” owned by Cynthian Wilhelmy & Sheree Moses of Bethesda, MD and bred by Sheree Moses Combs, Lauren Arbaugh, Madeline Llewellyn, Jeanne Hamilton.
Other top dogs awarded during the two-day event included the following:
Best Bred-By-Exhibitor in Show
GCHG CH Telltale Bohemian Rhapsody, an English Springer Spaniel known as “Freddie,” owned by Beth Fink & L Pike & J Vanderlip & T Lowe & S Hatch of Milan, IL was awarded Best Bred-By-Exhibitor in Show out of 1,272 dogs.
AKC Royal Canin National All-Breed Junior of the Year
CH Von Hawes Forever Forward, a Rottweiler known as “Granger,” owned and bred by Peter Hawes & Kathleen Hawes & Erin Maureen Foreman of New Castle, CA. won Junior of the Year out of 1,717 dogs.
AKC National Owner-Handled Series Finals Best in Show
GCHB CH Kinloch So There!, an Irish Setter known as “Stryker” owned by Linda Layfield & Adam Kucera and bred by Patty Fanelli and Mike Fanelli won the AKC National Owner-Handled Series (NOHS) Finals Best in Show, prevailing over an invitation-only entry of 875 dogs.
Best in Miscellaneous Group
Seiunme Go Tamashi Kensha, a Japanese Akitainu known as “Sei,” owned by Dawne Deeley of Surrey BC Canada and bred by Francesco Pallarino won the Miscellaneous Breeds competition.
In the Junior Showmanship competition, for handlers between 9 to 18 years of age, Octavia Stensen with her Norwegian Buhund GCHB CH Cultiva Cruisin For A Bruisin was awarded the coveted title of Best Junior Handler, along with a $5,000 scholarship.
Agility and Obedience Competitions
The 2023 AKC® Obedience Classic and the AKC® Agility Invitational presented by YuMOVE were held in conjunction with the AKC® National Championship. The two events demonstrate the highest level of training and teamwork between dog and handler. The AKC® Obedience and Rally Junior Showcase was held for the 12th year, and the Junior Agility competition for the 13th year.
AKC Obedience Classic
Four obedience dogs and their owners – one dog/handler team in each of the four classes – were crowned at the AKC Obedience Classic, which brought together 217 dogs from across the country.
Placing first in their class (Novice/Preferred Novice, Open/Preferred Open, Utility/Preferred Utility and Masters/Preferred Masters respectively) were:
AKC Obedience & Rally Junior Showcase
The AKC Obedience & Rally Junior Showcase had junior handlers competing in Obedience and/or AKC Rally®. In Obedience, Junior handlers competed in classes based on their dog’s AKC Obedience accomplishments. Placing first in their class were:
Junior Obedience Showcase – Saturday
Junior Obedience Showcase – Sunday
In AKC Rally®, junior handlers competed in Rally Novice, Rally Intermediate, Rally Advanced, Rally Excellent, and/or Rally Master based on the dog’s AKC Rally® accomplishments.
Placing first in their class were:
Junior Rally Showcase – Saturday
Junior Rally Showcase – Sunday
AKC Agility Invitational
Five agility dogs and their owners – one dog/handler team in each of the five height categories – were crowned as the 2023 winners of the AKC Agility Invitational, which brought together 701 dogs from across the country.
Placing first in their height division (8″, 12″, 16″, 20″ and 24″ respectively) were:
AKC Juniors Agility Competition
Juniors who participated in the AKC Juniors Agility Competition competed in either the Junior Excellent or Superior Classes, depending on their age. Handlers who were under the age of 14 on the day of the show competed in the Junior Superior class division, and handlers who were at least 14 years old on the day of the show competed in the Junior Excellent class division.
The overall winners of the Junior Agility Competition were:
AKC Fast CAT Invitational
The fastest dogs in the country were named Pure Speed and Speed of the Breeds Champion, which brought together 429 dogs from across the country.
Pure Speed Division
HC 1: Wildtucks Momentary Lapse of Reason FCAT DE AM TKN, a Whippet known as “Reas,” owned by Lindsay & Matthew Manetti.
HC 1.5: Black Ink FCAT5, an All-American Dog known as “Inky,” owned by Jennifer Smith.
HC 2: Winston Bolt BCAT, a French Bulldog known as “Winston Bolt,” owned by Braden Frederick.
Speed of the Breeds Division: Max English RA FDC DCAT SWA THD CGCA CGCU TKE ATT BN-V FITB, a Lhasa Apso known as “Max,” owned by Debbie English.
AKC Breeder of the Year
Luke and Diane Ehricht were presented with the 2023 AKC Breeder of the Year Award for Hallmark Jolei Shih Tzu at the AKC National Championship on Saturday, December 16, 2023. The annual award honors breeders who have made an impact on their breed and dedicated their lives to improving the health, temperament and quality of purebred dogs.
The fifth annual posthumous Breeder of the Year was awarded to Phyllis and Daniel Hamilburg of Salgray Boxers for their devotion to the breed. The Hamilburgs bred countless Champions and their Boxers were known for their outstanding temperament. Salgray Boxers took the country by storm, and their legacy continues today.
Founded in 1884, the American Kennel Club is a not-for-profit organization which maintains the largest registry of purebred dogs in the world and oversees the sport of purebred dogs in the United States. The AKC is dedicated to upholding the integrity of its registry, promoting the sport of purebred dogs and breeding for type and function. Along with its more than 5,000 licensed and member clubs and its affiliated organizations, the AKC advocates for the purebred dog as a family companion, advances canine health and well-being, works to protect the rights of all dog owners and promotes responsible dog ownership. More than 26,000 competitions for AKC-registered purebred and mixed breed dogs are held under AKC rules and regulations each year including conformation, agility, obedience, rally, tracking, herding, lure coursing, coonhound events, hunt tests, field and earthdog tests.
Affiliate AKC organizations include the AKC Humane Fund, AKC Canine Health Foundation, AKC Reunite, the AKC Museum of the Dog, and the AKC Purebred Preservation Bank.