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2023 Top Show Dogs

Full Results PDF

The Top Show Dogs system awards one point for every dog defeated from Best of Breed competition to Best in Show. Top Dogs are ranked according to the Top 5 in each breed, the Top 10 in each group, and the Top 10 all breeds.

Canada’s number one show dog 2023 for All Breeds is Atari, a handsome and spirited West Highland White Terrier! Atari was Canada’s number two show dog in 2022 and is now number one! We caught up with the owners of Canada’s Top 10 Show Dogs to find more about these Conformation stars.

#1 – GChG Skyehigh’s Video Game

Call Name: Atari
West Highland White Terrier
Date of Birth: May 26, 2019
Breeders: Lindy Barrow
Owners: Lindy Barrow & Celso Mollo
Handler: David Gignac and owners

Lindy Barrow: 

It is with incredible gratitude that I write about Skyehigh’s Video Game, Atari. From his birth in 2019 we knew we may have something very special in this litter. As he matured it became clear that he had exceptional breed qualities. From his first show as a puppy, he also displayed the attitude which is required in a show Westie.

Atari was piloted by the very talented David Gignac from 2021 until late in 2023. During this time, he became #2 All Breed in 2022 and #1 All Breed for 2023 with a remarkable 113 BIS and 75 RBIS. He did have a few weekends handled by his owners who have now taken over the reins. To say our ride so far with Atari has been exciting would be an understatement. Every single win has meant so much to us. Atari also would get very excited when he was awarded a big ribbon. It was very cute to see him jump up for the ribbon, which became a trait for him.

Competing at the Top Dog level can also have its stresses much like a top athlete performing at any high level. Your competition is also of high quality and their handlers have worked hard to have their dogs in top condition. If this were not so, the wins would not be as exciting.

Our most sincere thank you to all of the judges who awarded Atari his points and all of the entities involved in helping Atari achieve this milestone.


#2 – GCHG GCHEX Negra Consentida (Arena) SDN NTD

Call Name: Atzi
Xoloitzcuintli (Standard)
Date of Birth: November 14, 2021
Breeder: Maria Guadalupe Arena
Owner: Jannine Kowalchuk
Handlers: Jannine Kowalchuk, Emily Burdon & Team

Janine Kowalchuk:

Atzi came from the world-renowned Arena Xoloitzcuintle in Mexico. Her pedigree is full of some of the world’s top Xolos.

As she had such an amazing puppy career (#3 Puppy All Breed and #11 Non-Sporting Dog in 2022), I decided to send her out with Guillermo Fano to get a good start 2023. To say she had a good start would be an understatement, her 1st show she was awarded 2 BIS & 1 RBIS! For the 1st half of the year, she was shown by Fano and myself. I’ve handled her to 4 BIS which was really special as an owner handler.

After a spectacular weekend at the AKC Summer Classic where she was awarded 1 BIS and 2 RBIS she headed East with Emily Burdon. It was a difficult decision to send such a young dog away, but Atzi and Emily have developed a special bond and Atzi loves showing for her. By September, Atzi was ranked #1 Bitch All Breed and #2 Dog All Breed and stayed there till the end of the year.

Atzi has set many breed records here in Canada, to date she has 32 BIS, 22 RBIS, 116 Group 1 & 166 total Group placements. She became a GChEx at the age of 19 months and GChG at 22 months old. She is truly a once in a lifetime dog!

Thank you to all the Judges who have and continue to award Atzi so highly. She has been awarded BIS by Judges from all over the world, including from her home county of Mexico. Special thanks to Emily and Graeme Burdon who welcomed Atzi into their home and to everyone on Team Burdon who has helped with Atzi to make sure she is looking her best and ready for the ring! To her breeder, Maria Guadalupe Arena thank you for your support and always believing in us! Thank you to everyone who continues to support Team Atzi! It has been an honor to be able to introduce this special breed to so many people from coast to coast.

I am excited to see what the future holds for Atzi as I’m sure the best is yet to come!


#3 – GChG Marinella’s The Thunder Roll

Call name:  Clark
Portuguese Water Dog
Date of birth:  January 27th 2018
Breeders:  Kristle Maragon, Tasha Kramlich, Jennifer Holmberg Baggonstos & Tiffany Skinner
Owners:  Byron Fulkerth & Kristle Maragon
Handler:  Byron Fulkerth

Byron Fulkerth:

 2023 is was a year we won’t soon forget! Clark and I set out with the hope to win our first Best in Show and we finished the year with 17 Best in Shows and 14 Reserve Best in Shows. We are looking forward to selectively show in 2024! He deserves a few more laps around the ring this year. 

#4 – GCHG GCHEX Oeste’s Askin For Kisses CGN RN

Call name:  Kaidi
Date of birth:  Jan 25, 2021
Breeders:  Dr Adam King DVM DACVO
Owners:  Jaime Larkman, Mary King, Rafe Schindler, Taffe McFadden & Julie Vogel
Handler:  Jaime Larkman
Jaime Larkman:
Everything happens for a reason. 
I met Kaidi as an 11-month-old puppy and fell in love immediately. The border was finally allowing non-essential travel post Covid so I headed to the Portland shows to visit Taffe and Bill McFadden and took my 16-year-old Shih Tzu with me as she was my constant companion and on borrowed time. This is where I met Kaidi. My old girl passed away shortly after and I was dogless for the first time in as long as I could remember. I felt like I had no purpose to my days, so I called Taffe and asked if Kaidi could be mine. It took some discussion with all of “Team Kaidi” but it was soon agreed upon that I would be picking Kaidi up and she’d be coming home to be my pet! We knew she was destined for greatness but our goal started with wanting a Best in Show. She’s now won 27 Best in Shows, 24 Reserve Best in Shows, National and Regional specialties and is my constant sidekick. As they say the rest is history…

#5 – GChG Runway Down to the River 

Call name: River
Australian Shepherd
Date of birth: February 6, 2020
Breeders: Maren Smith & Elly Matesic
Owners: Maren Smith & Elly Matesic. Supported by Amy Lewis.
Handler: Chelby Marling
Chelby Marling:
River is the nation’s Top Point Earning Australian Shepherd in the history of the breed and 2023 was a year we will never forget. 
I remember the day Maren graciously agreed to send River to Canada for the year. I would scroll through my camera roll and see all of the photos I had saved as his career began. The true power of manifestation was happening before my eyes. 
Maren warned me that River is a one-person kind of dog, and that Maren was that person. The first time we stepped foot in the ring after collecting River from his mom just the day before, he looked at me as though I were a stranger. Because I was. His true breed characteristics of wanting to please were minimal at the time because I was the unknown. This was short lived. 
River quickly became not only my bed dog, but then my shadow. To the point I was unable to use the bathroom or shower without him being right by my side. I took him to run errands and to the end of our laneway twice daily to drop off and pick up my daughter from the bus. She loved this. Trust is everything. Connection is powerful. 
River’s Canadian career consisted of some pretty incredible wins. 23 all-breed Best in Shows, 19 Reserve Best in Shows, and a massive AKC Best in Specialty win amongst over 100 quality Aussies. But all ribbons aside, he became my best friend. We created memories together that I will cherish forever. 
There is nothing quite like the bond between a handler and their dog. The early mornings and long nights. The highs and lows. The hurdles that you overcome together makes for such a special connection and I’m just so grateful for all this dog has taught me. 
River’s ability to connect with his people is like nothing I have ever experienced in a dog. I think that’s something judges could feel from him. His undeniable conformation wasn’t the only reason to point to him in rings filled with deserving dogs. He demands attention and reels you in. It’s his magic that got us to where we are.


#6 – GChG Rudolf Valentino du Grand Fresnoy

Call Name:  Channing
Date of Birth:  February 12, 2020
Breeder:  Marie-Helene Combis 
Owners:  Karen Fasciano & Cody Longworth
Handler:  Cody Longworth

Karen Fasciano:
Channing was a singleton puppy born in France during Covid.  I worried he might have Covid Puppy Syndrome, but from the moment his paws hit the ground in Canada he made it clear that the world revolved around him.  We are so proud of his accomplishments.  He was the first and so far, the only Borzoi to achieve Grand Champion Gold.  With 43 Best in Show wins and 22 Reserve Best in Show wins before the age of four he is Canada’s All Time Best in Show winning Borzoi.  Cody and Channing are the perfect team and I always get goosebumps watching the two of them in the ring.  I am so grateful to Cody for all he has done for Channing and we are both grateful to my dear friend Marie-Helene for always sending me her best.  Channing loves his people and it is never a surprise to see children and sometimes adults curled up with him in his pen.  His supporters are the best and we are so blessed to have them in our lives.  And of course, we are grateful to the many judges both domestic and foreign who have honoured him with these wins.  He truly is a once in a lifetime dog.

#7 – GChG Necesse's Defendo Dominus

Call name:  Dominic
Scottish Deerhound
Date of birth:  April 10 2000
Breeders:  Pia Erasmie
Owners:  Lynne Bruce & Heidi Gervais
Handler:  Heidi Gervais
Lynne Bruce:

We feel blessed that once again in his second year of being shown he made it to the top ten all-breed, despite his absences from many shows that year for his trysts with lovely deerhound bitches which as breeders is very meaningful to us. A huge thank you to Pia Erasmie, breeder, for allowing Dominic to come from Sweden to Canada and live with us. We just love his goofy personality and his willingness to do his job in rain and shine.


#8 – GCHG Eirene’s Chase N’ Chicks NTD

Call name:  Hefner
Breed:  Golden Retriever
Date of birth:  March 24th, 2019
Breeders:  Shannon Scheer
Owners:    Shannon Scheer
Handler:    Shannon Scheer

Shannon Scheer:

 From the beginning, Hefner was destined for great things. He is sired by, Am GCh Osprey’s On Angels’ Wings “Chase” and his dam is Am Can Ch Brio’s Hotsicle “Chick”.  In 2017, Chick became the first Golden bitch to achieve a standing in the Top Ten All Breeds as number nine. 

The combination of Chase and Chick made it relatively easy for me to name Hefner!

Shown a total of five weekends as a puppy during 2019 and three weekends in 2020, Hefner became Canada’s #2 All Breed Puppy

This is Hefner’s second year to be included in a beautiful line up of Canada’s Top Dogs. In 2021 Hefner had just turned two. We were able to compete for thirteen weekends and became the Top Sporting Dog and number nine all breeds. We then took 2022 off to mature. During this time, we obtained his American Championship in seven consecutive days from Bred By, including a hat trick of majors during a specialty weekend. Later that year we were honored to be the only Canadian dog to receive an Award of Merit at our USA National with 203 specials competing.

2023 went above my expectations, which again saw us being rewarded with Top Sporting and #8 All breeds.  This was no easy feat considering the quality in our breed who were all being campaigned at the same time across Canada.

Hefner will soon turn five and is retiring with a career total of eighteen Best in Shows and sixteen Reserve Bests.

I am very proud to be the top breeder owner handler for 2023.
I wish to thank all of the judges, my family, my friends, breeders and Hefner’s fans who honoured us with memories that will last a lifetime.


#9 – GChG Roaneden's Shorelander NTD

Call name:  Luca 
Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever 
Date of birth:  May 27, 2021 
Breeders:  Christine and Robert Jones     
Owners:  Christine and Robert Jones 
Handler:  Christine Jones 
Christine Jones:  

Luca has been one of those special puppies that has been a standout from the very beginning.  He is the product of a breeding that I have waited a decade to do! Luca is linebred on the one and only “Harvey” MNBISS MBISS MBIS MRBIS MBPIS BPISS AmGCH / CanGCH Ex Roaneden’s Int’l Harvester CGN WCI JH”, who was the very first Toller in Breed History to be recognized as Top Sporting Dog in Canada and Top 10 Dog of All Breeds. 

Luca has continued what we started with Harvey and has set a new legacy. Luca was recognized early on by many judges both here in Canada and the USA.  Luca is the first Toller to have won Best in Show both in Canada (CKC) and the USA (AKC). Proudly breeder/owner handled.  We are so proud of how he represents our wonderful Canadian breed wherever we go.   
This past year held so many highlights, winning our first AKC Best in Show with an entry of 820 dogs, setting a new record for most Best in Show wins for a Toller in Canada (18) and winning Best of Breed at Westminster to name just a few.   

 Luca is proudly breeder owner handled and was #1 owner handled Dog of All Breeds.  I appreciate all the support of the judges who have recognized how special and important Luca is for this breed.  Breeding is the combination of passion, science, art and a little luck. Showing a dog you have bred and raised generations before him is really a journey. I am so excited to be able to share Luca with the fancy and share the passion I have of this breed.  It's such an honour to have him recognized.  I feel like we are just getting started. 


#10 – GCHG GCHEX Ambertru's R U Lonesome Tonight CD CGN

Call name: Cayde
Golden retriever 
Date of birth:  December 27, 2019
Breeder: Connie Johnson
Owners:  Gwen Taylor & Connie Johnson 
Handlers:  Emily Burdon & Team - Chris Downing and Graeme Burdon 

Gwen Taylor:

2023 - what a whirlwind year it was! It was not a difficult decision about campaigning Cayde. He has it all - structure, movement, temperament and, most importantly, loves the show ring. Cayde has ATTITUDE and gave 200% every time he went in the ring. Emily Burdon, professional handler, had Cayde groomed to perfection, ready mentally/physically and made life fun! I'm sure everyone will remember the "Cayde roll" and the laughs it brought to all! On the reality side, it is not easy campaigning your dog. The ups and downs, the emotions, the tears and the fears. I once pulled off the 401 to watch Cayde win a HUGE Best in Show. I was hooting and hollering and sure that people thought I was crazy!  I also missed a Golden specialty Best in Show and then an all-breed Best in Show the next day. Connie was there cheering on our boy. 

Campaigning a dog takes an amazing team and he had it.  Handlers Emily Burdon, Graeme Burdon, Chris Downing, Violet Wales (best play buddy and walking friend), Jen Rantz,  Kelly Cartier,  Katie McCartney and Matt. 

Cayde finished off the year as #1 Golden Retriever breed points, #2 Golden Retriever,  #3 Sporting Dog and #10 All breed in Canada.  2023 Goldens, Hefner and Cayde each earned more top dog points than any other Golden in history - that's one for the books! Cayde's breed points are also a historical high. Cayde made history! Cayde will also be the Golden Retriever Club of Canada's Top Show Dog for the 3rd consecutive year along with being awarded his Show Dog Hall of Fame and Versatility certificate in 2023. 

In 2024, Cayde will concentrate on performance events, dabble in the show ring and just be a dog! Thank you to ALL for your love and support for this very special boy!



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