Belgium has several shows, most of them in Flanders. Kortrijk is probably the most famous, and Brussels is its biggest challenger. Shows in Wallonia have struggled, and some disappeared like La Louvière and Namur. Charleroi is back, but still recovering. Two remaining shows, however, are doing very well: Liège on one side of the linguistic border that divides Belgium, and Mouscron on the other. The success of Mouscron is lasting now for 40 years already, and it’s time to celebrate!
It is interesting to find out what makes a show a success and what does not. The Union Canine Mouscronnoise, or Mouscron, started in 1974 with a small show for dogs of Group 1 and 2 only on The Nekker sports center grounds in large tents and had a modest entry of 130 dogs. The second edition was a Certificat d’Aptitude au Championnat (CAC) and was held in a Fiat garage, enough to hold 425 dogs. That accommodation proved too small after three years, even when in the meantime the show was spread over two days. Another location was found to accommodate the show for the coming years as it was still growing. A closed factory offered a solution, large enough to accept no fewer than 2,014 entries in 1983, the largest entry ever.
For many years, the club felt comfortable here, but then it had to move again. In 1984 it moved to the cozy restored factory where it is now, with one exception in 1990 when the show was held in Tournai. In ’94, ’96, ’98 and 2000, the show was spread over three days. If I remember well, it had to do with the new rules in Belgium with regard to the minimum space that was required per dog. But this proved not such a popular formula. The rules changed again, and from then on the show was always held on two days only. Since 2002 it has always been a Certificat d’Aptitude au Championnat International de Beauté (CACIB) show, growing from 1,264 entries year after year to 1,808 dogs in 2013, three dogs more than last year.
The current expo halls are charming and cozy, but parking is a real problem and space is limited. On Sunday, however, the nearby supermarkets open their parking areas to offer more spaces. A very nice gesture, as on Saturday, when supermarkets used to have their top days, they need the space for their customers. But as they don’t have enough parking space themselves, the Expo parking is open for them too when there is nothing happening in the expo center during the week. Still, every spot in an area of one kilometer around the halls is occupied by cars.
What intrigues me most is that an overcrowded show attracts so many visitors. Many shows can only dream of the number of visitors that come to this show. Sometimes it is almost impossible to move around, and still the show attracts so many visitors. M most stay until the very end to see who won. I just have no reasonable explanation for this phenomenon. Is it for the good food that is available at democratic prices? Is it because dog sports are very popular in the area? I was told that people from Wallonia are more “foire” (fair) minded, and that is probably the most reasonable and acceptable explanation.
It is always very crowded at this show, but here you can clearly see how selfish some exhibitors can be, the main reason for this problem. I have seen some exhibitors bringing five Toy dogs to the show and taking more space than others who exhibit five Irish Wolfhounds. They bring the whole family with them, a long chair for each, a table, cool boxes, a few crates and two separate tables to groom their dogs. I wonder why they don’t use the grooming area that was provided, and I also wonder why they all need to have their crates next to the rings so that visitors cannot see anything but from a distance. They block the passage for others and bring people and dogs into danger. If this show keeps on growing I think that the only solution will be to forbid any crates around the rings, only standing places would be allowed. Funny enough, at around one o’clock most exhibitors start moving back away from the rings, which proves that there is enough space in the crate area. If your dog is on term (scheduled to show) at noon, there is no need to have your crates and everything right next to the ring at 9 in the morning. Leave room to those we are on term first.
A look at the catalog shows us much respect for all those who are no longer with us, but who contributed a lot to the success of this show, honorary members and presidents. They all get their place in the catalog and are not forgotten this way. This is a very nice gesture. A place is also reserved for the winner of the last edition. Not with a photo, but mentioned anyway are the helpers, ring stewards, the much appreciated restaurant staff, breeders and judges who are members of the club. Unfortunately, the only flaw is that there are no statistics. So I need to go over the participants’ list to have an idea.
My eyes fall immediately on a few entries from the United Kingdom, some from Russia and several Finns, which was probably due to the three Finnish judges. Foreign judges always bring some compatriot-exhibitors with them, a chance for them to become a champion of that country. But a massive number of exhibitors crossed the southern border, the usual phenomenon here in Mouscron, a border town to France. The influence from the Netherlands and Germany was nothing compared to other Belgian shows.
On Saturday, due to the discomfort caused by the lack of parking, smaller groups were planned and it worked as only 763 dogs were on term that day. Due to the bad weather that day, many of them didn’t turn up. The weather forecast for Sunday was better, but the morning could still cause serious trouble, and it did – frozen glass. The committee gave orders to open the doors an hour earlier, but even that was not enough to prevent a queue waiting to enter the halls. It promised to be a very busy day as the remaining more than thousand dogs were on term.
But to face these problems, a strong team of judges was invited, 17 in total: eight Belgians, three Finns, and one each from Israel, Norway, Russia, Slovenia, Ireland and Latvia. Some judges were kept very, very busy, like Mrs. De Ridder from Belgium. She had 108 dogs on Sunday, not an abnormal number if you know that she had 36 Chinese Cresteds and 41 Chihuahuas. She finished the weekend as the second most popular judge of the weekend with 163 dogs. Mr. Deschuymere, secretary of the Mouscron club, came very close. He was relaxed on Saturday with only 25 dogs, but a hundred more were waiting for him on Sunday, including 43 Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. With 125 dogs on one day, he was the best scoring judge for Sunday, and he finished with 150 dogs for the weekend.
Another good scoring judge was Mrs. J. Klucniece from Latvia. She had 29 Bulldogs and 32 Great Danes on Saturday, and 99 dogs on Sunday – 62 French Bulldogs – the best scoring breed, and 29 Pugs. Mrs. M. Kavcic from Slovenia was pretty busy on Saturday when she had 86 dogs. Her popular breed that day was the Newfoundlander with 38 specimens. With the 71 dogs of Sunday, she had a total score of 157 entries. Mr. and Mrs. Lehkonen-Heikkinen from Finland were the hit of the weekend. They were good for 330 dogs or over 18 percent of the entries. Mr. Lehkonen had no less than 109 dogs on Saturday, the best score on Saturday. These popular breeds helped him to reach this number: 22 Bull Terriers, 33 Staffordshire Bull Terriers and 42 American Staffordshire Terriers. Sunday didn’t bring him any relief. He had 102 entries then, including 46 Labradors and 50 Golden Retrievers. His total for the weekend was 211, which made him finish in first place. Best in Show judging was an honor granted to Mrs. A. Ganami-Kertes from Israel. She 68 dogs on Saturday and managed to attract 26 Bordeaux Dogues and 17 Mastiffs to Mouscron. On Sunday Mrs. Ganami had 78 dogs when she did all the Poodle varieties and some companion breeds. With a total of 146 entries, she proved to have been a good investment.
Mrs. Ganami was asked to select only two dogs, the BIS and the Reserve BIS. Her Reserve went to the Weimaraner, “Grey Classic’s I Kick Azz,” a 2-year old champion male, bred by Kristina and Edwin Lenaerts from Belgium. The dog was judged by Mrs. P. Heikkinen, who also selected him for the finals when judging the Group in the main ring.
The title of BIS went to France, where Pascal and Eric Lassero-Richard are taking care of Vannjty Guillaume The Conqueror, the 17-month-old Pekingese male. Mr. Deschuymere judged him on Sunday when he won from eight competitors. Mrs. J. Klucniece from Latvia offered him the cup of the Group and his ticket for the finals. The owners could take him home safely, as on Sunday afternoon the sun showed up, announcing the end of the Belgian winter. I can give you the dates for next year, January 25 and 26, so that you can reserve that date right now.
A complete listing of Group winners appears below and at www.dogshowonline.be.
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.
Main Ring Results – Mouscron 2013
Group 1 – Sheepdogs and Cattle Dogs, except Swiss Cattle Dogs
Judge A. Kelly, Ireland
1st: Bouvier des Flandres Hero von Gewdraa Oel, owned by Peter Aerts
2nd: Swiss White Shepherd Dog Juan Aiko P’Tits Loups d’Amour, owned by Francoise Bouschbacher
3rd: Old English Sheepdog Brwyn’s Ginetta, owned by Rosita Guerand
Group 2 – Pinschers and Schnauzers, Molossoids and Swiss Mountain Dogs
Judge L. Hjorth, Norway
1st: Bullmastiff Fantastic Bumblebarns des Hauts de Gaumont, owned by Monique Joos
2nd: Bernese Mountain Dog Just Enjoy van ‘t Stokerybos, owned by Ivan Delrue
3rd: Dogo Argentino Flash des Larmes du Soleil, owned by Jacques Sousa
Group 3 – Terrier
Judge H. Lehkonen, Finland
1st: Airedale Terrier Navigator of Dustmountain, owned by Jan Stofbergen
2nd: Yorkshire Terrier Foreign-Affair du Domaine de Monderlay, owned by Marc Mansuet
3rd: Cairn Terrier Splinterhill’s Jingle Bells, owned by Marijke De Vries
Group 4 – Dachshunds
Judge P. Heikkinen-Lehkonen, Finland
1st: Miniature Smooth Dachshund Eleazard de Ker-Ki-Douar, owned by E. Mercier-Le Chat
2nd: Miniature Wirehaired Dachshund Karafka von Lotenthal, owned by Patrick Cacquaeert
3rd: Standard Longhaired Dachshund Colonel de Crislaure, owned by E. Mercier-Le Chat
Group 5 – Spitz and Primitive Types
Judge M. Kavcic, Slovenia
1st: Finnish Lapphund Elbereth Matkamies, owned by Deroucker-Picot
2nd: Akitahiba Kayamaru Tokimitsu, owned by Wilma Van Der Meer
3rd: Alaskan Malamute Zulem Spanish Dancer, owned by Suzi Vosters
Group 6 – Scenthounds
Judge N. Deschuymere, Belgium
1st: Beagle Houdini van de Mansveldhoeve, owned by Philip Jackson
2nd: Rhodesian Ridgeback Villagedogs Ka Makana, owned by Catharina Hoebeke
3rd: Dalmatian Good Girl Guusje the Astonishing, owned by Dian Jacobs
Group 7 – Pointers and Setters
Judge P. Heikkinen-Lehkonen, Finland
1st: Weimaraner Grey Classic’s I Kick Azz, owned by K. and E. Lenaerts
2nd: Pointer Weimpoint Keep Smilin’, owned by K. and E. Lenaerts
3rd: German Wirehaired Pointer Vaycka v/d Tuindershof, owned by D.Toore-Boen
Group 8 – Retrievers, Flushing Dogs and Water Dogs
Judge P. Heikkinen-Lehkonen, Finland
1st:Golden Retriever Hotline No Hills, owned by Peeters and Van Nunen
2nd: Cocker Spaniel (American) Sundust Somethin to Declare, owned by JessicaVan Den Boom
3rd: Sussex Spaniel Jubilant of Yachtsman’s Lodge, owned by Kaija Braid
Group 9 – Companion and Toy Dogs
Judge V. Klucniece, Latvia
1st: Pekingese, Guillaume the Conqueror Vannjty, owned by Richard Lassero
2nd: Pug Pitch Black Face Pugs Hocus Pocus, owned by Stephanie Thomas
3rd: Miniature Poodle Fabulous Gang Generation Top, owned by Laura Chappaz
Group 10 – Sighthounds
Judge V. Ivanischeva, Russia
1st: Borzoi Riband Wave Modnyabistru, owned by Jeanne Kluiters
2nd: Whippet Gloss and Lipstick of Swala Pala, owned by Dominique Delabelle
3rd: Irish Wolfhound Howard Hughes of Kirld Ground Castle, owned by Elsa Paulian