The 2009 Luxembourg show was the most successful dog show held in that country with an entry of 5,487 dogs. But this year Luxembourg surpassed its own success and finished with no fewer than 5,529 entries. Amazing how a little country like Luxembourg can beat a lot of bigger countries in the neighborhood.

Its success lies in the fact that the title of Luxembourg championship can be won from the Open class, Champion class and Working class. If you win a class twice at this show, your dog can be called a Luxembourg champion. But your dog can also be a Junior or Veteran champion if it receives at least an Excellent 1 score in its class, which is relatively easy. And as you can compete twice in the year, becoming a Luxembourg champion is within many peoples’ reach, depending, of course, on the popularity of the breed and the quality of your own dog.

The top winners at the 2013 spring show in Luxembourg greet the media. All photos by Karl Donvil.

The top winners at the 2013 spring show in Luxembourg greet the media. All photos by Karl Donvil.

Such large entries would suggest that dogs competed from many countries, and in a lot of breeds. No fewer than 34 countries were represented this year, and the best represented country was France, with 1,653 dogs. Germany had 1,099 and Belgium, 956, and if we add the 641 dogs from the Netherlands and 154 dogs from Luxembourg itself, we have more than 80 percent of the dogs that were entered at this show. But still, this means that the remaining 20 percent came from 29 different countries farther away.

Best in Show at Luxembourg Spring 2013 was awarded by judge Mrs. Yolanda Nagler from Israel to Bichon Frise Pamplona Just Magic, bred in the U.K. by Michael Coad and owned by Regina Belstad and Oddvar Havelin of Spain.

Best in Show at Luxembourg Spring 2013 was awarded by judge Mrs. Yolanda Nagler from Israel to Bichon Frise Pamplona Just Magic, bred in the U.K. by Michael Coad and owned by Regina Belstad and Oddvar Havelin of Spain.

Saturday was relatively quiet. The public was not so numerous and “only” 2,573 dogs were judged. All the rest were for Sunday. But still, the rings were relatively large, and it was not too difficult to get around. This show is always run very smoothly, and I can’t remember any incidents. Although there were a lot of visitors on Sunday – I had expected it to be much more crowded – because on Saturday television, there were flashes from the show. Usually television generates more interest in the show as it is free publicity and reminds the locals that something special is going on in the exhibition center. The vendors were satisfied and in general realized nice turnovers. And, of course, the organizers were very satisfied too. Another record was broken thanks to a good team, happy helpers and a spectacular table with trophies. It all contributes to a successful event and a most attractive international reputation.

Only a little farther is Italy, which had 156 representatives, and herein lies a big potential for the future. Spain had 125 dogs entered, a nice number as it is a country that’s been struck very hard by the financial crisis. Denmark, not that far away, but far enough, had 90 entries at the show. If the show date is very well chosen and doesn’t interfere with an important show in Russia, fanciers from there come to Europe in large numbers. Russia comes in fifth place with no fewer than 220 dogs. If we see that the United Kingdom had only 41 entries, then this result is amazing. Of course, a lot of dogs are entered by professional handlers who show dogs from all over Europe and even from across the ocean, as there was one entry from the United States.

The Dutch-owned Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen, Soletrader Bjorn Borg, received second place for owner Gwen Huikeshoven.

For judges, too, it adds to their prestige to be invited to Luxembourg. Altogether 38 came from no fewer than 20 different countries. Judges are treated very nicely, but I can assure you they need to work hard in return. A lot of them have over 80 dogs in a day, some even over 100.

Mr. and Mrs. Spruyt-Vermeire from Belgium had 326 together. Mrs. Vermeire had 111 dogs on Sunday. Mr. and Mrs. Yerusalimsky from Russia had 295 dogs, with Eugene Yerusalimsky having 101 Shepherds to judge. Couples are interesting to invite as they share the room and come together, which is more economic.

Jean Louis Grunheid from France came alone, but judged 102 dogs on Saturday and 99 on Sunday. Liesbeth Mach from Switzerland is also a very popular and appreciated judge. On Saturday she found 52 Newfoundlands (with other breeds totaling 73 dogs), and on Sunday she had a record entry of Chihuahuas, no fewer than 103! Norman Deschuymere from Belgium had 99 dogs on Saturday and 80 on Sunday, Marie Jose Melchior from Luxemburg had 93 on Saturday (including 64 Cane Corsos) and 96 on Sunday. Bill Browne from the United Kingdom had 98 and 86 dogs each day, while Jean François Vanaken had 82 (all Staffies) and 110 on Sunday, including an unusually high number of 49 Havanese. The 112 American Staffordshires were for Nikola Smolic from Croatia. Laurent Heinesche judged Teckels on Saturday, 101 in total, shared with Mr. Victor Lobakin from Azerbaijan who judged 75.

A big show also attracts big numbers of dogs: 73 Boxers and 69 French Bulldogs for German judge Roland Bebber. Zelkjo Gajic from Slovenia judged the remaining 82 French Bulldogs. The 66 Pugs were for Hans Joachim Otto from Germany. He shared the 145 Great Danes on Saturday with Margrit Volver, another compatriot. Hana Ahrens from Austria had 71 Bulldogs on Saturday and 83 Rhodesians on Sunday. Mr. Mile Aleksoski from Macedonia had 117 Golden Retrievers. Amazing! The Labradors were for Mr. Per Iverson from Norway. He had 96 of them, and on Saturday he had another fantastic number – 74 Whippets! Istvan Szekely from Hungary was invited on Sunday only, and he had 139 dogs, the highest score of the day. This number included 82 Border Collies. His compatriot Robert Kotlar also judged on Sunday only. He did all the Aussies, 88 altogether. Katie Sloan came from the United Kingdom also for one day, but it was worth it to judge 98 Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. Top judge for the weekend was Mrs. Adriana Griffa from Italy. She is not the youngest anymore, but certainly the most appreciated as she broke every other judge’s record. On Saturday she had the day record with 121 dogs to judge and on Sunday she had 110, a total of 231 dogs. She is a most adorable person and seemed very tired, but satisfied, after the weekend.

Third place in the final lineup was the Black Cocker Spaniel (American), Pbj’s Back in Black, owned by Michael Kristensen and Lotte Kristensen.

The Best In Show honor was reserved for Mrs. Yolanda Nagler from Israel. She judged the 62 Newfoundland bitches and had time to focus on BIS judging, as on Saturday she had only 54 entries. She has judged in Luxembourg many times and now has finally judged BIS. The Group winners of Saturday were supposed to come back on Sunday. The winner of the Sighthounds, the Afghan Hound, was unable to return, so the second place winner in the Group, the Piccolo Levriero Italiano, took its place.

The first people whom Yolanda made happy were Michael and Lotte Kristensen from Denmark. Their American Cocker Spaniel Pbj’s Back in Black won third place. This dog was an import from the United States and is a 3-year-old male, entered in Champion class judged by Mr. Laurent Heinesche. Mr. Rudy Feyaerts selected him to represent the breed in the Group judging. Gwen Huikenshoven from the Netherlands followed in the main ring to take the second place with her Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen Soletrader Bjorn Borg, bred by Mr. Gavin Robertson of England. Bjorn Borg was entered in Champion class too, along with 12 others. It was Yolanda Nagler who had judged the breed, and Bjorn Borg was the Group winner under Portuguese judge Luis Catalan. The Best In Show was again one of Mrs. Nagler’s Group winners of Sunday. It was a little white dog coming all the way from Spain, Bichon Frisé Pamplona Just Magic. He beat 22 competitors in the ring and was awarded Best of Breed by judge Jean-Francois Vanaken. Pamplona is a 2½-year-old male, bred in the U.K. by Mr. Michael Coad, and owned and handled now by Regina Belstad and Oddvar Havelin from Spain. There was space left on the podium with these three relatively small dogs, and they almost disappeared behind their huge trophies.

I wonder where this success story will bring us at the end? How many more dogs can this show take? Success is addictive, but also encouraging, and the committee and all the helpers will do whatever is possible to host a lot more dogs and people. Luxembourg is a phenomenon in the dog world, a classic. Winning Luxembourg is often the start of a promising career and a must to fill the gap in any dog’s awards. Don’t miss this show next time. Don’t miss it ever.

A complete listing of Group winners 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 – Luxembourg Spring 2013

Group 1 – Sheepdogs and Cattle Dogs, except Swiss Cattle Dogs
Judge Myriam Vermeire, Belgium
1st: Schipperke Monterrez Jingle Belle for Hantraved, owned by Paul, Jean and Kelly Lawless
2nd: Swiss White Shepherd Dog Fashion Monger du Bois des Ternes, owned by Olga Virina
3rd: Bouvier des Flandres Laroz-Unique v/d Vanenblikhoeve, owned by H. Bruintjes-Schaap

Group 2 – Pinschers and Schnauzers, Molossoids and Swiss Mountain Dogs
Judge Marie-Jose Melchior, Luxembourg
1st: Newfoundland New Angels Kisstheboy, owned by Didier Haeck-Dhyne
2nd: Black Miniature Schnauzer Dreamkiss Kleopatra, owned by T. Kaptsova
3rd: Pyrenean Mastiff Asubio de Gaspalleira, owned by Xavier Raja Fernandez

Group 3 – Terrier
Judge Bill Browne-Cole, United Kingdom
1st: Welsh Terrier Heinerle von der Hohen Flur, owned by Jurgen Goethel and Jac Houben
2nd: Cairn Terrier Trumpington’s Memory, owned by Monika and Ninja Knöpfli
3rd: Wire Fox Terrier Luna v.d. Bismarckquelle, owned by Axel Möhrke

Group 4 – Dachshunds
Judge Victor Lobakin, Azerbeijan
1st: Miniature Smooth Dachshund Magik Rainbow Excalibur, owned by Anja Brunstering
2nd: Rabbit Wirehaired Dachshund Rock Me Rita Vitoraz, owned by Jan Busta
3rd: Standard Longhaired Dachshund Knacky Knave’s Monterosso, owned by E. Rhodin and K. Versluis

Group 5 – Spitz and Primitive Types
Judge Barbka Novak, Slovenia
1st: Basenji Kingwanas Hellblazer of d’Guard, owned by Amalie Hindsdal
2nd: Pomeranian Caletto Winningmood 2000 Volts, owned by Ale Figliolia
3rd: Samoyed Cabaka’s Quinto of Gucci, owned by Gitte Morell and Nana Qvist

Group 6 – Scenthounds
Judge Luis Catalan, Portugal
1st: Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen Soletrader Bjorn Borg, owned by Gwen Huikeshoven
2nd: Beagle Ob-La-Di s Mythological Coriakin, owned by Gunta Vlasenko
3rd: Rhodesian Ridgeback Ndoki Etara Kiruna, owned by Claudia Körner

Group 7 – Pointers and Setters
Judge Guy Kips, Luxembourg
1st: Irish Setter Trawricka High Jinks, owned by Frances McKimm
2nd: German Shorthaired Pointer Szafir z Czarnego Dworu, owned by Antal Zsombor
3rd: Spinone Italiano Isole E Olena Dal Podere Antico, owned by Jenneke Van Doorn and Van Lieshout-Pennings

Group 8 – Retrievers, Flushing Dogs and Water Dogs
Judge Rudy Feyaerts, Belgium
1st: Cocker Spaniel (American) Pbj’s Back in Black, owned by Michael Kristensen and Lotte Kristensen
2nd: Clumber Spaniel Wymeswold Tiramisu, owned by Lorella Vismara
3rd: Golden Retriever Forever Yours My Love of Splendour, owned by Ans van Leeuwen

Group 9 – Companion and Toy Dogs
Judge Jean-François Vanaken, Belgium
1st: Bichon Frise Pamplona Just Magic, owned by Regina Belstad and Oddvar Havelin
2nd: Miniature Poodle Canmoy’s Black Magic, owned by Carita Lund and Claudia Papini
3rd: Shih Tzu Letvord Djazz Klassik, owned by Natalja Kuzina

Group 10 – Sighthounds
Judge Per Iversen, Norway
1st: Afghan Hound C’Est Moi du Menuel Galopin, owned by Martial Robin and Yvon Hubert
2nd: Italian Greyhound Lotuseagle of Devils Pigeons, owned by Leona Reynaert and Bart Scheerens
3rd: Whippet Rivarco Antilope, owned by Renato Dal Cero