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nieuws - 27/07/2019
Liège 2019 Benelux Winner  -  België

honden fokkers en hond foto's door Karl Donvil
LIEGE 2019 Records are broken! With lots of pride Mr.Boclinville, the president of the club ”Syndicatd’ElevageCanin de Liège”, told me that he had a record entry this year. I was somewhat suspicious as this was a double show and committees use to count up the entries of both shows in order to make it look more successful. But when I saw the real numbers of entries I must admit that this edition was one that really passed the, in my opinion, minimum requirements for a double show or a single CACIB showand that is 1500 entries. Only a couple of years ago shows in Belgium with over 2000 entries were no rarities. Here we reached even 1834 entries on Saturday and 1579 for Sunday. The reason why Saturday was better is that it counted for the Benelux Winner where you can win this title. Every year one show in one of the 3 different countries, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg, have one show that counts for Benelux Winner. If you win 3 titles in 3 different countries and under 3 different judges the dog can cash the title of Benelux Champion. Winning twice is enough to win the title of Benelux Veteran Winner and Benelux Junior Winner. The success of this competition proves my statement that people are searching for an extra challenge in order to distance them from the CACIB that is often obtained too easily and not always a guarantee for top quality, at least that is my opinion. In 2017 this show had another good result with 1721/1620 entries, but last year was poor with only around 1300 entries for each day/show. It was obviously a relieve for the organization and a nice treat as it was the 65th edition of this show.

Double shows have a loaded program for the finals for the simple reason that all the breeds are on turn every day and that counts for Junior Class and Veteran Class too. But Liège has more traditions to keep alive, the Golden Lead and the Golden Groomer competition. Both competitions have a strong reputation and are well attended from far over the borders. I have no numbers of the Grooming part but every day there were at least 15 tables with groomers busy modeling their subjects. The grooming competition is separate from the show with its own tribune and finals, but the Best Groomers have to present their work in the main ring of the show for the ultimate finals just before Best In Show is chosen. The Golden Lead Is no longer for Juniors only. There are the young ones till the age of 13, the ones till 18 years of age, Open Class from 18 years on and Senior Class from 40 years on. All are judged in the main ring challenging for Best Handler of day and Best Handler in Show. The Golden Lead had competitors entered from 7 different nationalities. And besides that, there is still the honoring of the Sighthounds who are performing on the race track and are according to the standard and able to compete in a regular sho. This Challenge is called Beauty and Performance. If you want to have all this done well in time it is important to start in time and hold on to a very strict time table. And they managed on both days, although the Junior Class sometimes I had the impression that things had to go on too fast.

The catalog was very complete, maybe a floorplan of the showground could have made it perfect, but I suppose no-one really needs it. For the rest, It had statistics, explanation about the titles, addresses of the exhibitors and trade stand holders, and this is one of the shows that tributes to their breeder-members so that visitors could get in contact with trustworthy breeders.

There were 22 nationalities present among the exhibitors and of course most were from Belgium, 725 on Saturday and 640 on Sunday, the Netherlands send 347 on Saturday but only 234 on Sunday, a big difference which emphasizes the importance of the title for exhibitors of the Benelux countries. If we compare to France with 280/273, Germany with 239/200 and the UK 100/100 it is obvious that for those exhibitors it doesn’t make so much difference. We see the same in more remote countries. 9 Countries had as many exhibitors on Saturday as on Sunday. I must also mention one entry from as far as Australia!

Only 23 judges were invited and I wonder if that had to do with the unexpected result in entries or f that was clearly calculated. The Dogs/judging day rate was exceptionally high with 77,5, in other words, there was an average of 77,5 dogs for every judge each day. But of course, nothing is so nicely balanced like that. But it was amazing to see that on Saturday, except for a novice judge, there was only one judge with 58 dogs to judge and even that was good. Eliza Dr.Loizou from Cyprus was welcoming 100 entries in her ring on Saturday including 32 Miniature Spitzes who are now very popular and belong to the most popular breeds over here. Jos De Cuyper was also one of the top judges on Saturday with no less than 115 entries for him. On Sunday, and probably again thanks to the Miniature Spitzes, Mr Alessandro Zeppi from Italy had the best score of Sunday with 101 dogs altogether and the second-best score of the weekend with 196 dogs in total. Mr.OzanBelkis from Turkey was the overall best scoring judge of the weekend with 230 dogs in total, 100 on Sunday and 130 on Saturday when he was the best scoring judge that day.

There were no flashing numbers when it comes to certain breeds, on the contrary, I had the impression that the number of dogs was sometimes remarkably low. There were only 9 American Cockers, 28 Golden Retrievers and 31 Labradors. Other breeds that are very popular now were also poorly represented like the “only” 12 American Staffordshire Terriers, the 33 Chihuahuas, 29 French Bulldogs, and 15 Pugs and except for the Miniature Spitzes, there are apparently no new star breeds coming up for the moment. Although I was surprised to find 26 Irish Wolfhounds entered for Mrs. Hanna Wozna-Gill from Poland, I don’t see this as a trend yet. For those interested in rarities and new breeds, there was a Miniature American Shepherd, a Barbado Da Terceira, a Continental Bulldog, and a Markiesje.

On Saturday it was Mr.Jos De Cuyper who was granted the honor to chose the Best In Show. His 3rd place went to the Miniature Spitz “Dan-Star-Kom Secret Male Of Love”, a Russian “3-year old male that was entered in Open class by Julie Van Varenberg-Van Den Brant for Mrs.ElizaDR.Loizou. His Group was judged by Mr.J.Serafimov from Macedonia. Second place was for the American Cocker Spaniel “Very Vigie Nobody Is Perfect”, owned by Simon Whincup from the United Kingdom. The dog was bred by Mr.Pichard, is 2 years old and entered in Champion Class for Mr.AlessandroZeppi from Italy. Mr.Belkis was the Group judge. The Best In Show title wend to the Irish Red Setter “Nucky of McBirdy”. This male was entered in Open Class for Mrs.CatrielPauna from Romania. He won from 15 competitors and was chosen Best of Group by Mr.Pauna again. Nucky is 5 and was bred by Mr& Mrs. Duhant-Keteleers and is owned by Lauwers, Milligan-Bott, Bott. On Sunday Mr. Igor Viguzov was the VIP judge. His 3rd place went to the Shih-Tzu “Saffron Sherhy Revolution For Chodon”, a female entered in intermediate Class for Mr. Vyguzov himself. This Russian dog was bred by Irina Cherkasova and the dog is now keeping company to Mrs.Dorien Van Slycke. Mrs.MyrianVermeire gave the ticket for the ultimate finals. Runner up to Best In Show was for the Kaninchen Dachshund Longhair “Rodels Magic Moonlight”, a two year old bitch bred by Perttu Stahlberg and owned by AncaGiura from Romania. The breed judge was Arianna Giorgi from Italy and she judged the Group too. The Best In Show was for the runner up of Saturday, the American Cocker Spaniel “Very Vigie Nobody Is Perfect”. He was now judged by Mrs.ElizaDR.Loizou and got his ticket for the Best In Show Judging from Mr.Zeppi. A British Victory this time!

I just hope that Liège will keep this standard if they want to go on with double shows and that it does not affect the small shows too much. The next edition will be on 25 and 26 of July 2020. Enter your dogs as you can probably expect fine competition and that is what makes winning much more fun!

Text and Photos: Karl DONVIL

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