KCP Visiting Judges

Diane Stewart Ritchie, Ireland FCI Judge

I was born and bred in Northern Ireland and come from a family steeped in a love for one of our country’s native breeds – The Irish Setter. Born into a family who showed Irish Setters, this breed has been my childhood love and my passion. I have taken what was then a small kennel of very moderate success to many new achievements, including Top Dog UK, Top Bitch UK, Top Brood Bitch, Top Puppy and of course any breeders dream, Top Breeder UK. This particular achievement is one I am particularly proud of. We have been the Top Irish Setter Breeders in UK for 12 years since 2005. One of our recent highlights was being selected as one of the final three nominees for the Pawscars Top Breeder Awards in 2016. To have been chosen for this nomination by one’s peers throughout the dog showing world of many great breeders makes us extremely proud. We have grown our success to allow us to enjoy the pleasures of being in the Top 10 breeders of All Breeds in the UK on a number of occasions of late, finishing 2017 once again in fourth place. I have won Best of Breed and CC’s at Crufts and many Group wins and places also over the years. Our Irish Setters alone have amassed well over 180 CC’s to date.

Gwendariff Irish Setters have amassed 19 GB Show Champions and many more Champions throughout Europe. Campaigning dogs in the UK is a great commitment and this makes it more difficult to also campaign in Ireland. We have however brought over 20 dogs to their titles here, winning multiple Groups and Best in Shows along the way. Top Dog All Breeds was another new achievement for us in 2015.

We are also a kennel known for our Whippets and have made up Champions in this breed as well. I have also campaigned to their titles a Hungarian Vizsla and a Weimaraner. Although having bred Whippets and Weimaraners in the early years it is with our Gwendariff Irish Setters that we have become world renowned. Now aged 52, I took early retirement from my previous profession, which also involved dogs. For almost thirty years I worked and trained numerous breeds for various disciplines within the Security industry. Dog Training is something I have enjoyed and had great pleasure from. This I believe always aided my thought process when viewing dogs of different breeds as a judge. I have lived with and worked German Shepherds, Belgian Shepherds, Labradors, Springer Spaniels, Weimaraners and occasionally German Pointers. To carefully watch a young raw dog evolve into a highly trained working unit is a pleasure I have thoroughly enjoyed and felt privileged to have an insight into.

I have been approved to award Challenge Certificates in Irish Setters, Irish Red & White Setters, Weimaraners, Cocker Spaniels and Golden Retrievers in the UK. I have judged extensively throughout Europe – Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Hungary, Latvia, Estonia, Slovenia, Gibraltar, Ireland, Belgium, Luxemborg, Germany, Italy, Russia and Pakistan are countries where I had the pleasure to officiate. I am FCI approved to judge all of Group 6, Group 7, Group 8, Group 10 and part of Group 1 breeds and Best In Show. Future countries contracted to judge in include Norway, Finland, Czech Republic as well as some of the above I have already visited. To judge is an honour, to receive an invitation to judge outside of ones own continent is both and honour and a privilege. I look forward with great anticipation to extending my experience and sharing my love of the pedigree dog with other canine enthusiasts in your part of the world.