The show of Hoogstraten, Belgium, had its 40th edition later than usual this year. The reason this show needs to change its date every two years has to do with the scheduling of the show in Gent that takes place every two years. As there is no show in Gent this year, Hoogstraten could be held in February, but when Gent has a show, it needs to take place in January.

However on the closing date to enter a dog, the committee was in a panic as only 1,200 dogs were entered. That would have been a complete disaster as last year the show had 1,764 entries. The organizers were forced to extend the closure date by a few extra days. At the end they had an entry number of 1,619 dogs. I seriously wonder where this evolution will end. Which show will have the courage to be the first to say, “The closure date is the closure date, and every dog that is entered after the closure date will not be accepted?” This is, in my opinion, the only possibility of stopping this evolution.

This phenomenon is not typical for Belgian shows, but counts for a lot of shows in Europe, and probably throughout the world. We have to keep in mind that the organizations need time to control the entry fees and compile the catalog. They are busy with everything that a show demands. Even now a lot of organizations have already shortened the time between the closure date and the show itself. It is incorrect to think that now that we can enter a dog online via a show’s website and pay with credit cards, nothing more needs to be done. I can well imagine the panic that was caused when only 1,200 dogs were entered at first. If the closing date would not have been extended, judges would have had to be canceled, and there would not be enough income to cover the expenses already made.

Best in Show at Hoogstraten 2013 was awarded by judge Walter Van Den Broek to Weimaraner Grey Classic’s I Kick Azz, owned by Edwin and Kristina Lenaerts of Belgium. Photos by Karl Donvil.

Best in Show at Hoogstraten 2013 was awarded by judge Walter Van Den Broek to Weimaraner Grey Classic’s I Kick Azz, owned by Edwin and Kristina Lenaerts of Belgium. Photos by Karl Donvil.

Twenty-three judges were invited this year, six from Belgium and nine from other countries in Europe. They came from as far as Gibraltar. As I could not find any statistics in the catalog, I cannot tell you the number of nationalities of the exhibitors, but Hoogstraten is close to the border with Holland. This automatically attracts many dogs from the Netherlands. But not only Holland, but France and Germany as well were very well represented. And even dogs from the United Kingdom were in competition.
In order to celebrate the show’s 40th edition, an extra prize was given to every 40th dog in the catalog. Although the catalog was nicely made, I missed the statistics and also a link to the website of the club. That should absolutely be arranged by next time, because exhibitors keep their catalogs in order to look up things, especially contact information.

The Belgian-owned White Swiss Shepherd, Guanche of Luna Legacy, received second place for owner Melody Gason.

The Belgian-owned White Swiss Shepherd, Guanche of Luna Legacy, received second place for owner Melody Gason.

Saturday was not that busy as only 726 dogs had to be judged, including the Shepherds Group, Terriers, Pointers, Retrievers and Sighthounds. The halls of Hoogstraten are very spacious with big rings, and this is why Saturday gave a very quiet impression. Sunday, on the other hand, was much more busy, although no judge had too many dogs to judge on the day.

The setup of the main ring was quite inventive, with only one exit that passed through the trade stand of the main sponsor. The entrance to the main ring was on the opposite side, and there was only one. The result was a main ring wherein it was comfortable for the press people to work, as visitors could not just jump in to take photos too. Contrary to other shows, where the main ring is covered with carpet, Hoogstraten has a main ring covered with carpet tiles. Very inventive! If dogs – and puppies in particular – have an accident in the main ring, the affected tiles are removed and replaced with clean ones. This is a very hygienic solution that takes a matter of seconds to make the ring look like new again.

At most shows, it is common to place only three dogs on the podium, or four, but Hoogstraten chose to place five. And all five went home with a stylish souvenir made of crystal. This is, of course, expensive, but it is very much appreciated by the winners.

As mentioned, Saturday was quiet also for the judges, and there were hardly any big numbers to mention. Mr. Jochem Eberhardt from Germany had the highest score, 66 dogs. But three judges from the U.K. had nice entries too. They were judging on Saturday only. Mr. Keith Young judged the Setters and the Pointers, and had a nice number of 30 Irish Setters. Mr. Tony Coddington did the Labradors, 55, while Mr. Anthony Hird judged the 40 Golden Retrievers. It looks like in Belgium the Labradors have again become more popular than the Goldens.

Sunday was much more busy, with more than 200 additional dogs. This makes a big difference and counts also for the number of judges. Mr. Jan Coppens from the Netherlands had only 52 dogs to judge, but amongst them a nice number of Dalmatians, 21. Mrs. Elizabeth Gonzalez from Gibraltar was in a similar situation. She had 60 entries, including a nice number of 32 Rhodesian Ridgebacks. Mr. Horst Kliebenstein from Germany took all the Pinshers and Schnauzers for his account and finished with 57 dogs in his ring. Mrs. Miriam Vermeire from Belgium had 35 Bulldogs to judge, a nice score in relation to the total number of entries at the show. That goes for the 50 French Bulldogs that showed up to be judged by Belgium’s famous all rounder, Mr. Norman Deschuymere. He had the third best score of the weekend, 107 entries. Mrs. Petra Schultheiss cared for the 50 Swiss Mountain breeds, while Mrs. Claudia Kleisters took all the Dachshunds for her account. Both ladies were invited from Germany. Another Belgian judge with a nice score, who only judged on Sunday, was Mr. Paul D’hooge. He had 51 Great Danes and 27 Leonbergers. Mr. Eberhardt had another busy day on Sunday. His 83 entries for Sunday included 32 Newfoundlands and 20 Rottweilers. Together with Saturday, he had the best score of the weekend with no fewer than 149 dogs. Mr. Zidar Miroslav from Slovenia came very close to that number with a final score 119 for the whole weekend. He had the best single day score for Sunday with 87 dogs, all belonging to Group 2 – Pinschers and Schnauzers, Molossoids and Swiss Mountain Dogs.

Third place in the final lineup was the Bloodhound, Hector of Lufon Royal Pride, owned by Fonnie De Vadder.

Third place in the final lineup was the Bloodhound, Hector of Lufon Royal Pride, owned by Fonnie De Vadder.

Mr. Walter Van Den Broek, the club’s secretary, has one of the longest services on the committee and is also a judge. For this special occasion, the 40th edition of the show, he was granted the honor to judge Best in Show. All Group winners from Saturday came back for the finals on Sunday, and all 10 dogs needed to be placed, something that gives me mixed feelings. Nobody wants to be 10th place, or even ninth, eighth or seventh. They all won their Group and had a Number 1 in front of them at that point. I prefer the practice of placing only three on the podium and leaving the rest ex-eaquo, or equal.

I will start my final lineup with Number 3, the 4-year-old Bloodhound, Hector of Lufon Royal Pride, handled and owned by Fonnie De Vadder who entered him in Champion class with six other competitors. Mr. Coppens was his judge in the breed ring, while his Group judge was Mr. Eberhardt. The Swiss White Shepherd, Guanche of Luna Legacy, came along with her mistress, Mrs. Melody Gason, from France. She won her breed on Saturday under judge Kliebenstein. Mrs. Vermeire awarded her Best of Group. ‘Guanche’ is a champion and almost 6 years old.

It was no surprise to me to see the Weimaraner finish on the highest podium. Mr. Van Den Broek likes this breed a lot. Seven were entered for the show and were also judged by Mr. Eberhardt. His choice went to Grey Classics I Kick Azz, a champion male bred and owned by Edwin and Kristina Lenaerts from Belgium, and a little over 3 years old. Mr. Eberhardt was also the Group judge. On Sunday, when he needed to come back for BIS, he was not handled by his owner but by another professional handler, and didn’t look very comfortable on the podium without his master. But after all, he felt comfortable enough to win the ultimate honor, Best in Show!

Next year the show will be held in January, only one week after New Year’s. Let us hope that the weather will not cause problems. And enter your dog well in time! By the end of December you will run out of money anyway, buying all the presents for Christmas. It is better to enter your dog prior to your shopping.

A complete listing of Group winners by Paula Dictus appears below and at

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 – Hoogstraten 2013

Group 1 – Sheepdogs and Cattle Dogs, except Swiss Cattle Dogs
Judge M. Vermeire, Belgium
1st: Swiss White Shepherd Dog Guanche of Luna Legacy, owned by Melody Gason
2nd: Bouvier des Flandres Kayo, owned by M. Debacker
3rd: Rough Collie Kissoffire of Montegue Meadows, owned by G. Devriendt and S. Verhaert

Group 2 – Pinschers and Schnauzers, Molossoids and Swiss Mountain Dogs
Judge Z. Miroslav, Slovenia
1st: Miniature Schnauzer Leonieke’s Niels-Nalynn, owned by Leonie Verbruggen
2nd: Rottweiler Jordan Vom Schloss Ouwen, owned by J. Geboers
3rd: Bernese Mountain Dog Just Enjoy van ‘t Stokerybos, owned by Ivan Delrue-Vandewalle

Group 3 – Terrier
Judge N. Deschuymere, Belgium
1st: Border Terrier Karimaen U Two, owned by Martineau Patricia
2nd: West Highland White Terrier Bellevue Town DJ, owned by K. And S. Veen
3rd: Airedale Terrier Klassico van T’Asbroeck, owned by François Graulus

Group 4 – Dachshunds
Judge H. Kliebenstein, Germany
1st: Standard Smooth Dachshund, Joury Of Lady Joan, owned by J. Holtappels
2nd: Standard Wirehaired Dachshund, Goldfee, owned by Doornenbal Nicolaas Clemens
3rd: Standard Longhaired Dachshund, Isabelle v.d. Tongelaar, owed by Nicolaas Aghina

Group 5 – Spitz and Primitive Types
Judge N. Deschuymere, Belgium
1st: Eurasier Cylacs Von Valliberg, owned by Patricia Martineau
2nd: Siberian Husky Innesfree Sienna Rose, owned by Nadja Robien
3rd: Pomeranian Touch of Angel Little Stars Poms, owned by Frans Weijers

Group 6 – Scenthounds
Judge Jochem Eberhardt, Germany
1st: Bloodhound Hector of Lufon Royal Pride, owned by Fonnie De Vadder
2nd: Beagle Cold Cuba Libre Vom Marschallfeld, owned by Michaela Smulders
3rd: Basset Hound Elliot Du Haras De La Vergne, owned by Fonnie De Vadder

Group 7 – Pointers and Setters
Judge Jochem Eberhardt, Germany
1st: Weimaraner Grey Classic’s I Kick Azz, owned by K. and E. Lenaerts
2nd: German Wirehaired Pointer Xanto III V. D. Lonsbirke, owned by CornelieVerheugt-Meyer
3rd: Vizsla Howard Van De Verre Hoeve, owned by Dirk Lenaerts

Group 8 – Retrievers, Flushing Dogs and Water Dogs
Judge K. Young, U.K.
1st: Cocker Spaniel (American) Chicomy’s Quite Sexy, owned by Wilma Weijmans
2nd: Golden Retriever Hotline No Hills, owned by Dirk Peeters and Ilse Van Nunen
3rd: English Cocker Spaniel Manaca’s Up in The Sky, owned by Sarah Finet

Group 9 – Companion and Toy Dogs
Judge D. Spruyt, Belgium
1st: French Bulldog Jarretelle De La Parure, owned by D. Van Raamsdonk and J. Dzikiewicz
2nd: Pug Kingpoint Catwalk, owned by Christine Sonberg
3rd: Papillon Halsakots Someone Is On Fire, owned by Margret Veigarsdottir

Group 10 – Sighthounds
Judge Jan Coppens, Netherlands
1st: Saluki Habib Ter Doolen, owned by Arlette Ternest
2nd: Scottish Deerhound Cairnesund’s Pearl Y Prince, owned by J. and J. De Vos-Brugman
3rd: Irish Wolfhound Pitlochry’s Darragh, owned by Conn Fernhout