nouvelles - 25/06/2016 Moscow, World Dog Show 2016 Day 4 - Russie
par Karl DonvilMoscow World Dog Show 2016
Who had expected that the Russian Kennel Club would have a World Dog Show after all the rumors going around about turbulent razia's, etc. Some things were true but it was probably out of proportion and things seem to have settled now. Hardly 45 days were left after the change on the top, but with the help of the FCI and some experienced people like Mr.Stefan Stefic , the RKF build some of the most remarkable World Dog Shows ever seen. In several ways it even surpassed the show of Milano. Anyway, future organizers will find it very difficult to outclass this show.
The venue for this event was the Crocus Expo, about 45 minutes by car, traffic problems taken into account, from Moscow center. As said, the halls were huge, comparable to those of Birmingham and Milano. Four halls were first reserved, but at the end they needed 6 halls to accommodate the 26,500 dogs , the 66 rings, the trade stands and the special rings for the side competitions and world championships. The total area was 84,000 square meters. Around the halls was space for 20,000 cars and outside a big square was created for leaving the dogs out or have a drink. Every hall was decorated all around with big white banners with the nice blue ornaments and the borzoi, symbol of the show. It gave a very bright, clean impression.
It seemed that the Russian Kennel Federation, the organizers of this show, had a good look around visiting other shows like Helsinki and Milano and copied and improved their ideas. The rings were large and very nice, on one side accessible to the visitors, on the side facing inside it was accessible to the exhibitors only and without a badge there was no coming in. It was not totally clear what it was for, probably security reasons. Pickpockets maybe? They can be among the exhibitors as well. I suppose it was only the prevent problems with visitors and dogs as some dogs are not so stranger friendly and many visitors have no idea how to approach them. But it could have practical reasons too. Visitors could now have a clear view on the dogs in the rings, not obstructed by exhibitors trimming dogs or having chats and drinks in large improvised saloons around the rings. On the other hand, the main purpose of dog shows is to bring visitors in contact with breeders and if there is no way to get in contact with them to ask information, it misses its purpose. In between the rings, as said only accessible with a badge, exhibitors could set up tables and cages in demarcated zones leaving open corridors to walk fast around. Long cabinets equipped with electrical outlets were at their disposal to föhn the dogs, absolutely top and safe. Outside every ring was a large screen indicating the numbers and results, the electronic version of the flip over boards, and if that was not enough, every ring had its own camera for life streaming, unique in history! Will this be the future?
All participants were supposed to have read the "Rules of Conduct". Interesting and an example for future shows. It clearly stipulates where exhibitors were supposed to sit, how to conduct, how to behave in the ring, etc. 34 Points, all worth to be read. But I liked the general statement at the bottom most: " Please do not forget that the international dog shows are not only the prizes and titles for your pets. The dog show is not only the best representatives of the breeds, but also the best breeders, who through their passion for animals and a humane attitude to nature serve as the example for new dog amateurs. And they demonstrate the standards of behavior not only at the shows, but also in everyday life!". And that is very important indeed, let's not forget that the 50,000 owners and breeders have their responsibility towards the 100,000 visitors. I have no idea how accurate these numbers are, they were provided by the RKF, but they might be slightly overrated in my opinion. If you take two persons for every dog, you have over 50,000, but aren't we more used to one handler for one or several dogs instead of two handlers for one dog? On the other hand it's very well possible that there have been 100,000 visitors. It was not crowded on Thursday and Friday but Saturday and Sunday were pretty busy. And in halls of this size it's easily underestimated. But compared to Crufts it's not the same. Here it was always pleasant walking and notwithstanding the high outside temperatures of around 30°C, inside it was very comfortable and cool. Tickets for the main ring were rather expensive and the occupation was very low. For Sunday it was decided to drop the price and for the first time the tribunes were as good as full. Signs and Indications in the halls were mostly in Russian, except when it could concern foreign exhibitors. English translation was rather limited but not a big problem overall. On the other hand a lot of multi linguistic volunteers and professional translators were recruited to help the foreign judges in the rings, the info stands and wherever it was needed like in the few foreign trade stand.
There are no exact numbers of entries from foreign countries. They go from 1500 to 30%, unfortunately the website has no page with fact and figures or any other statistics. I'll keep it to 1500. Of course Russia is the biggest country in the world and if we take regions from the western border to the far east, it can be compared with more than Europe. There were 19295 dogs entered for the official FCI World Dog Show and I count 311 different recognized breeds. Most popular were the Labradors with 505 entries, followed by the Siberian Huskies with 456 entries and strangely enough followed by the Cane Corso that seems very popular here with 358 entries. But nothing is more strange than finding no less than 100 Spanish Mastiffs here. I wonder how many shows, even in Spain can show numbers like that. I wonder if that has to do with the Moscow Guard Dog that has many similarities and could be confused. The Moscow guard dog is somewhere in between a Spanish Mastiff and a Saint Bernard. Besides the dogs for the show we also have the competitors of Dog Dancing, Obedience, etc, but also the dogs entered for the specialty shows. And this probably brings the total number to 26.500 dogs. There could have been much more dogs entered if there were not the political problems within the Russian Kennel Club. Too many foreign exhibitors didn't trust it and would not risk money due to eventual cancellation or whatever. And when rumors faded and changed for good news , it was too late for many to get the papers and visas ready. What a pity! What a missed chance.
There was a special catalog for the specialty shows. The most important was the InTerra show for the Terriers. It was the biggest one ever with over 1500 entries! But the other specialty shows were confusing to me. I only brought a catalog with me from June 24, meant for Group V and VI. In here I find almost all the breeds of these groups plus the non-recognized breeds. How can there be a specialty show for breeds that have only one or two entries like the Volpino and the Eurasian? I should have asked explanation, but nobody even mentioned it at the Press conference and for the rest , most information was in Russian only. I only saw it when it was too late. OK, those breeds can participate for the World Show, but a specialty show is meant for a popular breed and is supposed to have a club or so. I don't see the point. On the other hand It would have been interesting to see the many unrecognized breeds. Russia has 22 breeds, but only 9 are recognized, the rest are in this group, Group XI ! There was a Harlequin Miniature (Pinsher with Harlequin color like some Great Danes), 13 Biewers (particolor Yorkshire), 3 Phantom Dogs (kind of black and tan miniature Poodle), A phantom Miniature, and Estonian Hound (large Beagle), etc. In fact most of these breeds are existing breeds that don't fit in the standard due to non recognized colors or size or whatever. Others are regional variations like the Taygan, a breed in between an Afghan and a Saluki. All these entries must bring the total number up to 26.500.
There were not as many trade stands as in Milano and almost all of them were Russian trade stands. Coming to a show from outside Russia had probably so many complications that traders didn't want to take the risk to lose a lot of money. On the other hand, foreign exhibitors did not have problems. On the contrary, there was a lot of help from the RKF and the briefing to the customs and embassies seems to have had positive results. Everybody seemed to have been positively surprised and felt welcome. It was beyond expectations. There was a lot of security all over the place. Without badge there was no coming in and at the entrance there was a luggage scan too. Nobody seemed to make a problem out of this. In the cynological world we are all used to a high tolerance towards gay people and so many were afraid to have problems in Russia but there was no problem at all, certainly not on the showground. Maybe in certain areas in the city or during the night, but that risk exist in all big cities over the world. After all no incidents were reported and the tolerance towards gay people was as exemplary here as in any other show in the canine world.
118 Judges were invited and I count 42 different nationalities. 30 Of them were Russian Judges. Most of the rest were familiar faces scheduled very often on many European and World Shows. They were invited from all over the world including Australia, USA, Uruguay, Malaysia, South Africa and India and many more. Thursday was reserved for Groups V and VI, good for 3081 and 822 entries respectively. Friday was reserved for Group, I with 1854 entries, Group III with 2389 entries and Group IV with 800 entries. On Saturday 4 groups were on term, Group VII with 569 dogs entered, Group VIII with 1284, Group IX with 3110 and Group X with another 605 dogs. That brings the only remaining group to Sunday, Group II with no less than 4779 dogs in competition.
In every hall there was at least one big screen, a really big one, with live stream of the main ring. This ring was in a central hall and again a pass was needed to come in, even during the day. The front stage was reserved for the VIP's while the press was located below of them. The VIP's could only sit there, not like on previous shows, where they had tables and were allowed to eat and drink. I prefer this as it does not show respect for the spectators if they eat and drink in front of them. Their buffet was below the stairs, where they could follow on a large screen. The main ring itself was probably the largest ever seen. The background was an enormous video-wall, beyond imagination. It was clear that prestige was important, representing what the Russian Nation is capable of. And I must admit that it left a deep impression. The company behind it was the very same company that arranged the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi in 2014. The size of the ring was very big, allowing enough space to let the dogs line up and run. The only problem was that it was too blue all around. Blue is the opposite color of yellow, the color of the lights and that can cause strange colorcasts on dogs in the photos. In the far corners where the dogs entered and on the opposite site where they left, was not enough even light, but that had only an impact on the photos, not for the visitors or the video. The first day the judges could do what they wanted in the main ring. Some chose for the long side, some for the short side, some for a round run. From the second day, on request from the photographers, it was asked to keep strictly on one way. It proved that the committee was very sensible to any critique. They wanted to be as close to perfection as possible and it was arranged from then on. All judges were instructed to keep to the very same schedule and were corrected friendly if they tried to do as they liked. Bravo!
The Opening ceremony took more than an hour but it was very entertaining. While the Russian breeds were presented on the large screen in their natural environment, different groups performed several acts, from ballet to acrobatic over modern singing, to primitive tribe dances, one by one very entertaining and high class. Nobody complained about waiting for the finals. On Sunday for the closing ceremony there was another series of acts followed by a moving tribute to the people who left us over the past year and the official part with speeches and the Flag ceremony. Highlights here were the presentation of the Russian winners, lead by a Barzoi, with Russian Eurovision Song Contest participant Sergey Lazarev singing in the background preceded by a choir of kids. Everything that represents the largest country in the world was on display in some way in one of the ceremonies. But one of the top acts was the performance of the President of the RKF , Mr.Aleksandr Inshakov, who is not only a national famous stuntman, but proves to be a good singer too. He was accompanied by a group of 5 singing ladies and received a big applause afterwards. It was really falling from one surprise after another.
The time schedule was followed very well. On Sunday, with one group only to judge in the main ring, there was enough time for entertainment and the ceremonial part. After the magnificent show and relatively short official part, it was time for the finals. Judge was the RKF's first and founding president, Dr. Eugene Yerusalimsky, Dr in Biology and writer of several books including his famous book on Dog Conformation and Improvement. He judged in 52 different countries and is a well known all round judge. Judging Best In Show on this occasion will without any doubt be the highlight of his life. 10 Dogs were selected for him, and now it was his term to crown 4. His 4th place was for the Rhodesian Ridgeback "Makao Line Atuin Art" owned by Ovchinnikov Alexander from Russia. A Belgian Weimaraner was placed 3rd. It was "Doc N Camelot's Heaven Can Wait", a dog co-owned by Edwin Lenaerts, Tonie Finch and Linda Van Der Sichel. Finland took the second place with a Swiss dog, an American Cocker Spaniel "Very Vigie Huluberlulu". He is co-owned by Heidi Cangas, Sanna Vartiainen and Terhi Korhonen. The Best In Show on the contrary, went to a Russian dog, a Russian breed and a Russian owner. It was the Russian Black Terrier "Fine Lady's Zolotogo Grada", owned by E.E.Zaytseva.
It was a fantastic show in every aspect and beyond expectations. Who would have thought that this was possible in 45 days only. A fortune was spend but it was worth every penny. When I asked if the government had sponsored the show, I was told that everything was paid by the RKF itself. Anyway, a magnificent job was done, the result was close to perfection. In general the RKF staff and whole crew people were extremely helpful, efficient and friendly, and all worked very hard. They made you feel at home and succeeded brilliantly! They can be proud on what they realized in such a short time. Congratulations, tenfold !
Text and photos: Karl DONVIL