The results for Day 1 of the European Dog Show in Geneva, Switzerland, finally came on the website during the night, but still no statistics as promised. But it was another day of sunshine and pleasant weather, and that made the start of the day more than OK. I forgot about the weekend schedule for the public city transport, and I had bad connections and arrived much later than I had hoped.
Once in the hall, I immediately was focused on the most crowded ring in the hall. The reason was clear when I approached; it was the ring of the popular Bernese Mountain Dogs. No wonder there were a lot of spectators around.It was much easier to walk around than on the first day. Today we had Group II, the Guard and Protecting Dogs; Group VI, the Scenthounds; and Group X, the Sighthounds, good for 2,729 entries. Most of the rings were large enough, and I have heard no complaints about them. The dogs were allowed in the halls as early as 7:30 a.m., and the judging started at 9:30, earlier than usual. The main ring program started at 1:30 p.m., and the result was that the show day ended at 5 – very early. In Bratislava the show days ended around 9 p.m. and the finals at nearly 10. Most unusual! The entertainment in the main ring was somewhat poor. There was an ensemble of three people playing Alp horns. It is a very special sound and the horns are huge, but it is not something that wakes you up or distracts you. Before the main ring started, there was a group of people giving a small demonstration of Bernese Mountain Dogs and Saint Bernard dogs pulling carts. During the final judging, there were two intermezzos with heelwork to music. I was impressed by an 84-year-old lady who did very well for her age, and it showed that working with dogs can keep you fit. I liked the fact that all judges were working in the very same way. The dogs were first lined up around the ring, then a selection was made and those dogs were lined up opposite the VIP-Eukanuba stand with the judges on the left side and the press and the public on the right side. That works better. Very often the judge can do as he likes and then you have the dogs running from north to south, vice versa, and from east to west and vice versa. I suppose that the briefing for the judges was very strict.
The main ring was very sober, no flowers or such, but the light was correct. The stairs for the public were maybe too small, and I’m worried about tomorrow for the finals as there will not be enough room for all the spectators. One side of the ring is strictly reserved for the judges, the front side is the Eukanuba stand with seats for their VIPs, and the opposite side is where the dogs come in and out. Only one long side is for the public and even here the front seats are partly reserved for the press. I cross my fingers.
The traders in general are happy, notwithstanding the huge prices they need to pay per square meter. They are all situated in one corner of the hall and as everything happens in one hall, they are visible from every place in the hall and that is very important for them.
Tomorrow we have already the finals, and as I don’t have statistics to share with you, I might come back with that in a special report, at least if we ever get them.
Karl Donvil lives in Belgium, where he is a freelance photographer and reporter specializing in dogs. He founded the World Dog Press Association in 2001 and is the current CEO. He is a member of the editorial board of the FCI newsletter and covers shows throughout Europe, including Crufts and the World Dog Show.