Not long after the show in Liège, Belgium, two years ago, the main hall burned down. Last year extra space was created on the parking area, and it didn’t affect the show’s success. This year the surprise was complete, as the show was held under a new roof, just in time to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Syndicat d’Élevage Canin de Liège, the organizing club.

The interior of the new hall with dining tables. Photo by Karl Donvil.

A new bright and spacious hall was erected since last year’s show, large enough to provide for big rings. In the roof are many windows so that a lot of natural light shines through. This was good for taking photos as there was no need for flash or artificial light. It also saved money for the organization as it did not need to rent that many spotlights. This used to be the darkest hall, while now it is the brightest. However, not everything was perfect. The acoustics are not good at all, but we can live with this, as sound is only needed for the speaker and for the heelwork to music.

Since last year, a beach festival was organized just across the street along the river’s edge. This meant fewer parking spaces and, unfortunately, this also brings along small criminality. A few cars were broken into and in one of the stands all the cash from Saturday was stolen. Whether this is a direct result of the beach festival or not is unclear. Unfortunately, public events always seem to attract small criminality.

An edible Golden Dog Trophy in honor of the 75th anniversary of the Syndicat d’Élevage Canin de Liège. Photo by Karl Donvil.

This show is a festival on its own. I call it the Eurodogshow of Wallonia. It is, in fact, the only remaining show in the Wallonia region. Mouscron is just on the border, and a lot of people used to speak Flemish. Namur is no longer, and Charleroi tries hard to have a show again. Fortunately Liège is still here with its long history of 58 editions. The president, Mr. Yves Bocclinville, and his team have worked really hard to turn this show into a canine gala, where dogs can be admired and the public can learn many aspects of dog sports. There are several demonstrations, including Doggy Dance, the Golden Groomer competition, the Golden Lead for handling, the usual art exhibition and, of course, the Golden Dog Trophy, the show itself.

This year saw a tiny increase in entries of five dogs, with 1,733 dogs in total. Besides that, there were also the entries for the Master Trophy, the gala show held on Saturday evening, a kind of champion of champions show. Here six judges judge the dogs in pairs, and one is always eliminated until only a single dog remains. This competition is open to dogs that have won a BOG, three BOBs or a Belgian championship at a Belgian show, other than open, over the preceding year. A gala dinner in cocktail dress goes along with the competition. Unfortunately, only 24 participants turned up this year. Probably not enough people read the changes in the rules for the competition. For the first time, in order to avoid a good dog being eliminated in the first round, points were given. From then on, the dogs were posed two by two, one on a blue carpet and one on a red. The judges raised a card with the color of their preference. In case of an ex-aequo, or a tie, the captain of the judges decides.

Best of Day Saturday was the Yorkshire Terrier Ch. Hunderwood Don’t Stop The Music, bred by Eric Bernard and owned by Catherine Consten. Photo by Karl Donvil.

Judges were Mrs. L. De Ridder-Onghena (Belgium), Mrs. L. Zake (Latvia), M. N. Deschuymere (Belgium), M. A. Zhuk (Belarus), M. F. Asnaghi (Italy) and M. S. Šinko (Slovakia). The quality was high in general, and finally two dogs stood face to face. On one side was the Lagotto Romagnolo Ch. Gleska Goody Goody, owned by Katrien Van Gemert from Holland, and on the other side the American-bred Pug, Ch. Winsome’s Gold Standard, owned by Sonberg Christine. The Pug finally won the Masters Trophy. Both dogs were outstanding, showed fantastically and ran through the ring with enthusiasm. And thus ended the first night of the show.

The show’s catalog was very complete. A list of the trade stands, statistics and all members that have a kennel are listed with complete addresses, nicely divided per Group. However, I missed the list of judges and was forced to have a look on the website for the show, where I found a range of useful information.

Seventeen countries were represented, with 889 dogs from Belgium, 313 from France, 264 from Holland, 181 from Germany, 23 from the U.K. and even dogs from Spain (9), Russia (2), Denmark (13), Norway (1), Latvia (1) and even Canada (1). The 20 judges were also very international, representing 11 nationalities. Only five were from Belgium.

Best of Day Sunday was the Miniature Poodle Ch. Kudos Lykke Li, bred and owned by Mikael Nilsson. Photo by Karl Donvil.

Mrs. Soleckyi Szpinar from Poland judged the Schnauzers on Saturday, and Spitz and Primitive breeds on Sunday, when she had 71. She had a total of 108 entries. Mrs. Kupriyanova from Slovenia ended with 136 entries in total, and shared Spitz and Primitive breeds on Sunday. On Saturday, however, she had 83 dogs to judge, 38 Great Danes and 45 Bulldogs. Mr. S. Sinko, her husband, had a total of 115 dogs. On Sunday, he had the day’s record with 84 dogs, including 39 Swiss White Shepherds, a breed that enjoys an ever-growing popularity. Mr. Van Raamsdonk, one of Belgium’s new judges and a breeder of French Bulldogs, judged the breed a second time in Belgium this year and had again a nice entry of 52, the second most popular breed of the show. Indeed, the Chihuahuas had one more and were judged by Mrs. Shwalibog from Poland. She was the second most popular judge of the show with a total entry of 144 dogs. Saturday was her busiest day with 80 dogs to judge, all Terrier breeds.

The most popular judge of the show was Mrs. M. O’Gorman from Ireland. She judged the Cocker Spaniels on Saturday, among them 27 English Cockers and 33 Americans. On Sunday, she had dogs from Group 6 (Scenthounds). As this Group includes another popular breed, the Rhodesian Ridgebacks, with 29 in total, she ended that day with 70 dogs or 151 in total.

Let me mention a few other nice numbers: 23 Labradors for Mr. Ionescu from Romania, 39 Golden Retrievers for Mrs. De Ridder-Onghena from Belgium, 48 Dachshunds for Mr. P. Condo from Italy, which is quite good by Belgian standards. Mr. F. Asnaghi from Italy managed to bring 26 Afghans together, while Mrs. A. Brankiviae from Serbia had 33 Am Staffs and Mrs. Delabelle from Belgium had 27 Chinese Cresteds.

The main ring program started every day with the Golden Lead competition for Junior and Senior handling. After that, the regular final judging started, followed by the finals of the Golden Lead and the finals of the Golden Groomer, a competition with international interest. At last, there was the Best of Day judging and the BIS judging on Sunday.

Best in Show at Liège 2012 was the Miniature Poodle Ch. Kudos Lykke Li, bred and owned by Mikael Nilsson. Photo by Karl Donvil.

Mrs. De Ridder-Onghena, Belgian all-rounder judge, was granted the honor of choosing Best in Show. She also picked out the Best of Day, which left her with only two dogs to choose from. On Saturday, her preference went to the Yorkshire Terrier, Ch. Underwood Don’t Stop the Music, a male champion bred by Eric Bernard and owned by Catherine Consten of France. The Yorkie is not yet 4 years old. He won the breed under judge R. Kanas from Slovakia from 18 competitors and the Group under judge Mr. Norman Deschuymere from Belgium. He finished Reserve BIS, as the Golden Dog Trophy went to the Miniature Poodle, Ch. Kudos Lykke Li, a 3-year-old female, bred and owned by Mr. Mikael Nilsson who was so moved and happy. Lykke Li was judged by Mrs. De Ridder during the breed judging and won the Group under Mrs. Kuprianova-Sinko from Slovenia.

A new era has started for the Syndicat d’Élevage Canin de Liège, good for at least another 75 years. The new hall is certainly fantastic, and I am convinced that this news will make even more exhibitors curious to find out for themselves. No problem, as there is still plenty of room to accept another 500 dogs. Next year’s show will be held on July 20 and 21. You will not regret it if you come.

A complete listing of Group winners appears below.

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 – Liège Golden Dog Trophy 2012

Group 1 – Sheepdogs and Cattle Dogs, except Swiss Cattle Dogs
Judge L. Zake, Latvia
1st: Old English Sheepdog Kingsize Aus Dem Elbe-Urstromtal, owned by E. Casteels
2nd: Polish Lowland Sheepdog Country Jo’s Faworyt, owned by Radlgrubber-Wouters
3rd: Cardigan Welsh Corgi Ch. Waggerland Colour Confetti, owned by W.J. Dukhorst

Group II –Pinschers and Schnauzers, Molossoids and Swiss Mountain Dogs
Judge M.A. Zhuk, Belarus
1st:Affenpinscher Ch. Champagne Charly V. Tani Kazari, owned by Mike Cooijmans
2nd: Chinese Shar-Pei Ch. Jade East Catch Me If You Can, owned by Minne-Anders-Esmae Nijholt
3rd: Black Miniature Schnauzer Ch. Ideal Des Diables D’Ebene, owned by Orphal Colleye

Group III – Terrier
Judge M.N. Deschuymere, Belgium
1st: Yorkshire Terrier Ch. Hunderwood Don’t Stop The Music, owned by Catherine Consten
2nd: Airedale Terrier Ch. It Van’t Asbroek, owned by Francois Graulus
3rd: Cairn Terrier Kelwyn Of Highlands Origin, owned by Jos Andries-Vandoren

Group IV – Dachshunds
Judge M.J. Wauben, Netherlands
1st: Miniature Longhaired Dachshund Ch. Kay Von Der Humboldtruh, owned by Brigette Scharfenstein
2nd: Rabbit Wirehaired Dachshund Gitana Du Pouy Des Iris, owned by Frans Vermeiren-Moelans
3rd: Standard Wirehaired Dachshund Ch. Engel Jan-Ole, owned by Huguette Kiszio

Group V – Spitz and Primitive Types
Judge M.A. Ionescu, Romania
1st: Akita Ch. Buckridge’s Yukon Gold, owned by D. Prihodko-Osborn
2nd: Basenji Ch. Akmar Queen Ankhesenamun, owned by Paula Steele
3rd: Alaskan Malamute Ch. Equinox Woodvram Polarni Usvit, owned by Sergio Bebiano

Group VI – Scenthounds
Judge F. Asnaghi, Italy
1st: Petit Bassett Griffon Vendeen Ch. Dehra Amazona Bvlgari, owned by Gwen Huiskeshoven
2nd: Rhodesian Ridgeback Ch. Ridgevalley Farouk African Jewel, owned by Leon Aarts
3rd: Beagle Isis Van ‘T Hof Ter Kreke, owned by Marc Wille

Group VII – Pointers and Setters
Judge M.Z. Brankovic, Serbia
1st: Weimaraner Ch. Grey Classic’s I Kick Azz, owned by Edwin & Kristina Lenaerts
2nd: Irish Red Setter Ch. Trawricka High Jinks, owned by Frances McKimm
3rd: Gordon Setter Ch. Irving John Beautiful Darkness, owned by Manuela Weber

Group VIII – Retrievers, Flushing Dogs and Water Dogs
Judge M.S. Sink, Slovenia
1st: Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever Desire Of Red Glory, owned by Linda De Jong
2nd: Lagotto Romagnolo Ch. Gleska Goody Goody, owned by Katrien Van Gemert
3rd: American Cocker Spaniel Very Vigie Follow Me, owned by Pascale Chevalier

Group IX – Companion and Toy Dogs
Judge Mme. Kuprianova-Sink, Slovenia
1st: Miniature Poodle Ch. Kudos Lykke Li, owned by Mikael Nilsson
2nd: Maltese Ch. White Field Ricjelieu Rio, owned by Monika Kupicova
3rd: Pekingese Vannjty Forever Lady Di, owned by Pascal Lassero-Richard

Group X – Sighthounds
Judge F. Asnaghi, Italy
1st: Irish Wolfhound Just In Time Of First Avenue, owned by G. Janssens
2nd: Saluki Jelani Obi Hadi El Basher, owned by Julie Byloos
3rd: Italian Greyhound Ch. Caele’s It’s Showtime, owned by Margret Veigarsdotti