Today the serious work starts. It is the first day of the European Dog Show in Geneva, Switzerland.
Nearly 3,000 dogs – 2,937 to be exact – are on term today: Group I, the Shepherd Dogs; Group III, the Terriers; Group V, the Spitz and Primitive Breeds; and Group VII, the Pointing Dogs.As we are still waiting for detailed statistics, I cannot tell you exactly how many dogs are actually entered for the show, but it must be around 8,000. Compared to a show like Luxembourg Spring, it is not a spectacular number as Luxembourg had more than 5,000 in two days. But again, prices are very high here. Renting a table for a trade stand costs 200 Swiss Francs, a chair, 50. At the Belgian Promotion Stand, they went to Ikea and bought a set for a fraction of the price of renting. The administration is also far from efficient. When I came in this morning, I went to Press Registration and they could not find my name in a list of five pages, notwithstanding the fact that I registered via the Internet weeks before! If you don’t take care as an organization, you end up with lots of people who presume to be press in order to get free entrance and catalogs, etc., and that is a big loss for the organizers. A good and efficient administration can save a lot of money and time. For example, if you have an efficient team of collaborators, you can have your results online before the show is over! The Swiss Kennel Club is a relatively small club. Without help from other clubs and countries, it is impossible to organize a show of this size. I heard that they even had ring stewards from as far as from Finland to help. The main ring was a little chaotic at the start. Yesterday they forgot to reserve a special corner for the press. So it was decided that today the press should take places on the front rows of the stairs for the public, opposite the VIP side. But it took only a few minutes before people and children with mobile phones came in to take photos too and with the iPads and other tablets I can assure you that you need to fight for a gap to make a proper photo with a regular camera. After a while, the problem was solved when we got permission to create a secure Press Corner to work. After that things went better.
Let us see how it will work out tomorrow – if we will have the promised statistics, the results in time and proper places to make good photos to show you. I keep on saying that too much attention goes to the VIPs and too often too little to the press. Of course the VIPs need to be taken care of, but you, the readers of hundreds of magazines, like to have a nice view through our lenses too, and that is often forgotten.
Tomorrow I will try to focus a little more on the rings and things that happen during the day, and try to pick up some impressions from exhibitors, handlers and visitors.
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.