Interview with Crufts Best in Show winner 2019

Kathleen Roosen won Crufts 2019

Kathleen Roosens won Crufts 2019 with Dylan the Villain her Papillon. We caught up with her to find out more about how she got into dogs and what it felt like winning at Crufts. The full interview will be in the Crufts Show Guide which is available to pre order with your tickets or buy at the show.

How did you get into Papillons?

When I was around 6 years old, for my first communion my parents asked me what I wanted as a present, my answer was either a little brother, sister or a dog - I got a dog.

My father met an older lady with a Papillon, and it had caught his eye. After a talk with her, he went to visit the breeder and three months later we had our first Papillon named Lus.  A year later my parents got a second dog. The breeder had been very successful in shows and my parents ended up going to visit a show and trying it out.

At what age did you start handling the dogs?

I started showing at the age of ten. I loved competing in junior handling and I was the Belgian Champion Junior Handler in 1999 and 2000 and also the Monaco Junior Handling Champion in 2000. I represented my country twice at the International Junior Handling competition at Crufts, in 2000 and 2001 and I made the shortlist top 10. This experience made me fall deeply in love with Crufts!

Have you shown any other breeds?

When I met my boyfriend, Jens Goessens, I was the owner of a Pomeranian, but this little dog was very attached to me and didn’t give much attention to Jens, so he wanted another dog. Easy solution for me, I just had to drive home to my father and pick one, and I chose the fantastic Manne. Jens agrees the Papillon is the perfect breed – a very versatile dog with the biggest will to please in a small toy deluxe package.

Had you ever considered that one day you might win BIS at Crufts or wondered what it might be like?

Being such a big Crufts fan, always! Crufts Best in Show is the ultimate win, the ultimate dream. I do believe in dreams and I do know with the right dog in the right time you can achieve lovely things, but to win Crufts Best in Show was always a dream. I had seen my father win Toy Group at Crufts in 2009 with his Papillon, Ricky so I know magic really can happen, but we always thought that his win was a once in a lifetime deal and that it would be most unlikely to ever do it again!

What did it feel like competing in the Best in Show ring at Crufts?

Competing in that BIS ring is the best.  I only wish that it could happen to me a second time so that I could try and experience everything and every emotion again!

What did it feel like when the judge Dan Ericsson pointed to Dylan?  

I could hear the audience cheering as Mr Ericcson was walking to the middle of the line.   When he turned around and the audience seemed restless, I remember looking back and I couldn’t help giggling, because it was so funny to hear how the whole arena was experiencing the judging. As I free-stack my Papillons, I could not see at all what or where Dan was and I didn’t see him coming. Next time I looked, I was looking straight into his eyes and I realised he had just made our dream come true!

Did Dylan receive a special treat after his win?

You do know the saying: winner winner chicken dinner!