Again the European Dog Show started very early, and this time the dogs from Group IV, the Dachshunds; Group VII, the Retrievers and Waterdogs; and Group IX, the Companion Dogs, were on term. I had the impression that there was much more room in the halls, but that is logical as only Group VIII has larger dogs and even then they are not that large. Funny that this can make such another impression.
Everything was well cleaned up again, inside the halls and outside. I would not be late tonight as all other days the main ring started at 2:30 p.m. and ended before 6, and the judging in the morning started at 9:30. The judges stayed in the hotel directly behind the halls, and they could easily walk within five minutes to the hall. Most judges were not overloaded and could finish early. Compared to other editions, there was not much going on in the main ring during the day. Everything was focused on the judging, and all this together was probably the reason why every day the main ring could start in time. And as the judging went on so smoothly, the judges were asked to slow down a bit in order not to be ahead in time of the schedule.
I had a few interviews during the day, and it was amazing that I could not find any complaints. The trade stand holders were happy, as were the exhibitors, the judges, the president… In the morning we had a final press meeting together with the organizers of future World and European Shows. There were hardly any questions, let alone complaints, except for the Russian Kennel Club that organizes the World Show in 2016.
They asked the president how many American dogs were entered for the show. The answer was around 10 only. The Russian Kennel Club is not very happy with all the bad publicity they have to cash. Of course they want to focus on the fact that the American blogs and AKC started campaigning to put the FCI under pressure to reschedule the WDS 2016 to another country with regard to the new anti-gay propaganda laws in Russia. Of course there are gay communities in other countries too, but I understood their frustration. When I later had a talk with the Russian Kennel Club spokesman, he stressed that there are still shows every weekend where many gay judges are invited and where gay handlers make no problem of it all. The law is only focusing on gay prostitution and influencing adolescents, not on the fact that people are gay or lesbian. I think this storm will go over soon unless the first arrest will tell who is right or wrong in this discussion. Anyway, the FCI cannot reschedule a World Show as the FCI has no legal possibilities to do that. It is the board of committees that decides and votes, and the legal responsibilities remain in the country that organizes the show.
I’m afraid I cannot give comments to any statistics for this edition of the European Dog show as there are none, although they had it on the presentation for the judges. I don’t see why then it could be so difficult to put them somewhere on the website or distribute it in a printed version? I have heard at the press conference that Italy had the most entries and that there were over 1,000 dogs entered from Russia. The whole show was in the hands of two people, Mr. Laurent Pichard and Mrs. Barbara Müller, plus a handful of assistants. Sure, they did a fantastic job if you see the result, but is that enough for a show of this size and importance?
The main ring was very sober, no flowers, no ornaments, but all by all OK and correct, and the light was good. The information was poor, emails were not replied to, statistics missing, and the press brochure had only information that we all knew already. These are all signs that the staff is much too small for a European Dog Show, but again, after all it was not too bad and turned out into a good overall show, the size of a big show like the Bundessieger in Germany.
I have tried to compile some interesting numbers that I was able to collect, the best scoring judges by day and the breeds with high numbers.
Friday had a lot of judges with over 100 dogs to judge: Mr. Uir Oliveire had 109, and Mrs. Elisabeth Feuz from Switzerland had 85 Jack Russells and 40 Parsons. Mr. Petru Muntean had several breeds and a total of 114 dogs. Mrs. Gitty Schwab, president of the Luxembourg Kennel Club, had 106 Terriers and Mr. Luis Pinto Teixeira from Portugal had 114 entries to judge. Mr. Kari Jarvinen from Finland had a total of 106 entries, 85 Miniature Spitz included, and his compatriot Mrs. Marja Talvitie had 99 entries, with 69 Samoyeds as her highest entry. Mrs. Maria Kavcic from Slovenia had two breeds, 62 Akita Inus and 52 Shibas. The Siberian Huskies were 126 altogether and divided between Mr. Teixeiro and Mr. Ronny Doedijns from Holland. High scoring were the AmStaffs, 98 in total.
High Scoring breeds on Saturday were these: 67 Basset Hounds, 86 Whippets, 104 Rhodesian Ridgebacks, 62 Bullmastiffs and 71 Shar-Pei. Mrs. Monique Van Brempt judged the Beagles and scored very well, 103. The Bernese Mountain Dogs were divided over two judges and outnumbered all other breeds on Saturday. Mrs. Regula Bürgi from Switzerland judged the major part, 131 dogs! Mr. Stefan Sinko from Slovenia had 86 English Bulldogs, another amazing score, while Mr. Bojan Matakovic from Croatia judged 85 Cane Corsos and 37 Tchiorny Terriers.
On Sunday there was only one judge with over 100 dogs, Mr. Hans Van den Berg from Holland had 108 smooth Chihuahuas in his ring. Impressive numbers in the breeds are 69 Flat Coated Retrievers, 106 Labradors, 119 Golden Retrievers, 98 Pugs, 178 Chihuahuas of both varieties, 64 Pekingese, 154 French Bulldogs, 79 Chinese Cresteds, 195 Poodles of all varieties and 350 Dachshunds, all varieties. So, this helped a little to get rid of my frustrations of not having any statistics.
The next European Dog Show will be in Brno in the Czech Republic, and that will probably be one with over 18,000 dogs, from October 23-26, 2014. The World Dog Show is earlier next year, in Helsinki, Finland, from August 8-10 and probably with a similar high number of entries. See you there? Or see you on this fabulous website, www.bestinshowdaily.com.
At your service!
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.