Welsh Springer Spaniel from Cambridgeshire wins Gamekeepers' Classes at Crufts

River a Welsh Springer Spaniel from Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, handled by Peri Burchmore, who also co-owns River with Mr R Bowd, was declared the overall winner of the Gamekeepers' Classes on Thursday 9 March at Crufts 2023.

River is five years old and triumphed in the category which is confined to working gundogs. Every dog is judged to the breed standard, but major consideration is given to their appearance and conformation as a working gundog. These requirements make the classes totally unique.

River was awarded ‘Best in Gamekeeper Classes’ out of the six class winners who made it through to the main arena judging. River and Peri were awarded the Northesk Memorial Trophy which was presented this year by Ian Grindy, BASC council member, former chairman of the Gamekeepers Advisory Committee, and trustee of the Gamekeepers Welfare Trust.

BASC is responsible for the organisation and running of the Gamekeepers' ring at Crufts and these classes, sponsored by Skinner’s Field & Trial, are always popular with the general public and exhibitors alike.

Six gundogs were in contention for the coveted title with Peri and River emerging the victors under working gundog expert Brian Twigger, himself having previously been a keen competitor in the BASC Gamekeepers’ classes, with his dogs winning the Northesk Memorial Trophy three times.

Peri said: “It feels fantastic to win, this is her fourth time in the main ring having won her class, but it is the first time we’ve ever been placed in the final round, so to win it is fantastic. Although I’ve been in the ring many years, it is still quite nerve-wracking. It’s a big crowd, but I love it and it goes so quickly. It’s just nice to spend time with my dog and for others to see her out in the ring.

“This is the highlight of my year. It’s the world’s biggest dog show and it’s a privilege to take part and to do so well here year after year with her. It’s fantastic, it’s a dream. She’s a fantastic dog and I love her dearly.”

Crufts took place between 9 -12 March 2023 at the NEC, Birmingham. For more information and results from the show, visit the Crufts website.