An Interview with the Utility Group Winner 2018


Chanel a Akita from Prenton, Merseyside, won the Utility Group title at Crufts 2018

The five-year old Utility breed, whose full name is Ch Stecal’s Love at First Sight JW was handled in the Best in Show ring by one of her owners Faye Bevis. 

We interviewed Faye to find out more about what she did after Chanel won and tips she had for newcomers.

When and how did you get into dog showing?

My mum started showing as a child with her pet Labrador at local companion shows. This become an addiction and when she was in a position to have her own dog, she purchased her first Akita (I was about 4 months old). The rest is really history, watching my mum and other top Kennels in the ring gave me the bug to want to do it. I started handling from the Junior Handling classes here and there but it was never for me and I concentrated more on the breed with my first proper show dog ‘’Ch Stecal’s Step Out With Style’’ who went onto win 29CCs and many other incredible wins.

Do you remember the first time you went to Crufts?

Not exactly, it was a very early age when I first went to Crufts. I can remember the first time I handled at Crufts.

Tell us something that no one might know about you and Chanel?

Chanel is a great all round dog, she trains really hard to keep her in tip top condition but she’s very much a big daft Akita! She’s quite obsessed with me, she will watch every move I make at a show and become a bit jealous when there’s other dogs to be shown.

What did you do to celebrate your win with Chanel?

I’ll be honest we went home and crashed, we were all exhausted! Being at Crufts one day is full on 100mph but we were down there for 3 days this time. The weekend after we went out for a meal and some drinks to celebrate.

Other than Crufts what is your favourite show to exhibit at?

Windsor is my favourite summer show! There’s nothing quite like it. LKA is my favourite indoor show, it feels just like a smaller Crufts with a great Christmas atmosphere and lots of shopping.

More recently we took Chanel to America for the Nationals, probably one of my new favourite shows . Like Crufts, it is all go and 100mph every day. The only difference is the Nationals is for a week! It has definitely given us the bug to go back again.

What are your tips for newcomers?

Do your research, go to as many shows as you can and find a type of dog you like. I know my mum did a lot of research into breeders such as Liz Dunhill when she first started showing. She would video Liz in the ring and watch how she handled the dog. Personally I think it’s a genius idea and I do the same today. I’m forever still looking at how to improve.

What do you think made Chanel that extra special?

Chanel is one of a kind in our opinion and many other judges feel the same. We picked her at 4 weeks old when the owner of the sire visited us so they could see the litter. She strutted around the arm chair into the room like she owned the place already. From then on it truly was ‘’Love At First Sight’’ for us.

What else does Chanel like doing?

Chanel comes to the salon with me and takes turns with all the other dogs in doing so. She loves walking and does the water treadmill once or twice a week with the vet nurse at our surgery - she loves it!

Are you still showing Chanel?

Yes she has just turned 5 and is in the best shape she has ever been in. At her last show she took the Breed Record with her 43rd CC. She went to America in October with her younger half-brother both unbeaten in their respected classes at the Akita Nationals.

What dog breeds do you have?

At home she lives with two Mini Long Dachshunds who she adores and is around every day.

Do you believe in lucky outfits or charms?

Yes - who doesn’t!! I hate wearing new suits. We are all so superstitious when it comes to new suits, even underwear can be lucky charms!

I like to wear a new suit at Crufts each year. Recently I brought two new St John suits over from America. I have a bracelet that my mum bought me years ago that I wear at every show. Recently I had a necklace that I wore and it spelt Akita. However it broke, so I am now thinking of having it melted down and made into something different. Lastly I have the same lucky knickers that I wear, we always joke at what will happen when they can’t be worn anymore. 

Is there anything else you would like to say?

Thank you to all the judges who have thought so highly of Chanel and the other dogs. We have some real exciting plans for the coming years with new lines coming in from America and Europe. We are blessed to have the most wonderful friends and co-owners in our team.