When and how did you get into dog showing?
I grew up in the USA and saw a dog show on television as a child and became interested from that point on.
Do you remember the first time you went to Crufts?
Yes, as a Junior Handler in the international competition representing America in 1997, exactly 20 years prior to Miami’s win!
You are the first person in Crufts history to have won best in show with two dogs which you have bred and owned as well as being the handler in both cases too, how does this feel?
It is more than a dream come true for someone involved in this hobby. It is something that I would have never even considered possible until the moment it happened. I’m proud of the fact the Afterglow Kennel (Michael Gadsby) which I joined after moving to the UK holds this unique record, along with a matching pair of Reserve BIS which Mike won with American Cocker “Dexter” and Standard Poodle “Donny.”
Tell us something that no one might know about you and Miami?
That at 5am on the Saturday of Crufts when it was time to bath Miami for the show, I was still so hungover from a night out with friends I considered going back to bed and missing the show!
What did you do to celebrate your win with Miami?
We were exhausted in the aftermath of over 4 days at Crufts and finally competing in Best in Show that we slept all day Monday!
Other than Crufts what is your favourite show to exhibit at?
Crufts is always a great show to experience but the size and scale make it a bit more challenging for exhibitors than the average show. One of my favourite all breed championship shows is Welsh Kennel Club. I love the setting and the showground has a lot of nice memories for me.
What are your tips for newcomers?
That you only get back from the hobby what you put into it. Putting the care and training of the dogs above everything else is the right way of achieving any kind of success. And to avoid getting caught up in any negativity from others.
What were you thinking when the judge Jeff Horswell picked you out?
Disbelief, then a rush of euphoria, followed by more disbelief!
9. Are you showing any dogs at Crufts 2018?
I hope to be! Possibly with Miami’s first son and daughter, London and Paris!
What do you think made Miami that extra special?
Miami is the result of years of selective breeding with the goal of producing a dog which excels in breed type, general soundness and temperament. It’s easier to get one or two of these but difficult to get everything in one dog. He has a presence which allowed him to shine in the big ring with so little show experience behind him. Crufts was only the 9th show he had attended in his life.
What else does Miami like doing?
Getting dirty! Despite his pristine appearance at Crufts.
Have you got a favourite breed to show?
American Cockers have always been a part of my life, but I love to show Standard Poodles as well.
What was your favourite bit about winning Crufts?
That I was able to share and celebrate the entire experience with Javier Gonzalez Mendikote, the person who had pushed me to believe in Miami’s potential from day one. That was my favourite bit and will be my most lasting memory.
Do you belief in lucky outfits or charms?
The suit, tie and pants I wore in best in show were all borrowed as I didn’t pack enough – he let me keep the pants!