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'Liège 2016 a new record!'
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news - 23/07/2016
Liège 2016 a new record!  -  Belgium

dogs breeders dog pictures by Karl Donvil
LIEGE 2016, an unexpected success! For its 62nd edition, the organizers panicked at first. 3 Days before the closing date of the show, there were not even 1000 dogs entered. It looked like a nightmare, and the nightmare came, but in another form. Within the 3 days the entries rose to a new record of 2275! A lot of work to be done very close to the show, but the enthusiasm helped to bring this to a happy end. Liège proved again to be the biggest show of Wallonia, and probably the best too. Problems with the regulations are the main reason why there will be no show in Libramont this year, the ambitious show that was the big concurrent for Liège. But Liège has its classics on offer, his Golden Groomer trophy, a trophy that tops the palates of many successful groomers, its Golden Leash, an international competition for handling, its "dogs in art" expo, and every two years its Masters Trophy.

I can hardly remember an edition of this show in typical Belgian weather. Every time Liège has good weather and this year it was very good, warm, sunny, but without being hot. The dogs were comfortable as were the people at the show. The organizers had a printed a cartoonlike message to warn the people not to leave dogs in cars. And fortunately, there were no incidents. There are enough halls to create large rings, leaving enough space for the grooming competition and the main ring to be used for the several demonstrations during the day. Tradition too are the clowns to entertain the children. Liège is always a small festival!

The 2275 entries were composed of entries from 16 different countries. Belgium was good for 52% of the entries, but that also means that Liège is a very international show. Compared to other shows, there are not only a few "foreign dogs", but more than 1000! France entered 413 dogs, the Netherlands 379 and Germany 259. 50 UK dogs were in competition, plus some handlers for the Golden Leash. There were also 3 Irish entries. The Irish have no alternative to come over but by boat or plane. If not there would certainly be a lot more here. From the remote countries, two dogs were entered from Russia, 2 from Romania , 3 from Sweden and one from Serbia. The catalog is very complete, including statistics and a list with contact information from all the Club's breeders. I always like it when a club does something in return for its members. But I always miss something in all the catalogs, not just this one from Liège. Visitors don't know what to do with a catalog, there is no explanation whatsoever. How can you expect visitors to follow what is going on! Who is winning, why are so different breeds competing for BIS, what is the meaning of a show in general? Who is winning and where can the results be found., what does a CACIB mean, what is a BOB, BOS, BOG, etc. It is not fair to sell a catalog to the visitors, paying 5 EURO or more to find a program on the first page and a lot of question marks for all the following pages. Maybe the Royal Society Saint Hubert should make a brochure that is inserted in the catalogs for sale to the visitors. One clear explanation of what's and who's and when's about dog shows and a calendar of the upcoming shows. There is one more important thing to mention for this edition, for the first time in Belgium and probably any other country outside France a Cursinu was entered. The Cursinu, seems to be an old breed from Corsica that was almost extinct. The breed is classified in group V but is very versatile like a real farming dog. He can be used for hunting, herding, guarding and retrieving (of lost cattle). (see photo).

Notwithstanding the big success of this show, no judge was overloaded. The D/jd (Dogs per judging day) score was 71 and that is higher than Luxembourg and this including a few novice judges and a breed specialist with only one breed. From the 18 judges invited, only 5 were Belgians. The rest came from France (3), Germany (2), Slovenia (2) and from Slovakia, Serbia, Russia, Cyprus, Poland and Italy one each. Mr.Igor Vyguroz from Russia was top scoring judge with 104 dogs (Schnauzers and Mastiff breeds ) on Saturday and 112 dogs on Sunday when his best scoring breeds were 71 Chihuahuas and 41 Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. With his total of 216 entries he had almost 10% of the dogs for him to judge. Top scoring judge of Saturday was Mrs. Dorota Witkowska when she judged all the Dachshunds. She had 117. On Sunday she had 41 Rhodesian Ridgebacks and 14 Beagles plus several more breeds, a total of 62. Mr.Zlatko Jojkic from Serbia had 95 dogs on Saturday, all hunting breeds. Mr.Giancarlo Sambucco from Italy shared more hunting breeds, including 44 English Cockers. His day was finished after 85 entries. On Sunday he had more popular breeds like the 33 Aussies and the 31 Shelties. He finished that day with 115 dogs, crowning him the second best scoring judge of the weekend with 200 dogs Mrs.Maja Korosec from Slovenia judged the Beardies and Border Collies on Sunday and that resulted in another good score of 91. She judged along with her husband Mr.Darko Korosec , and together they took 302 dogs for their account. 4 Judges were officiating only one day. One of them was Mr.Klaus Strack from Germany who was invited to judge a few Sighthound breeds and some primitiv breeds. With 28 Afgan Hounds. He scored 118 entries and that was the best score on Sunday. Mrs. Marie-Christine Amand judged sighthounds too. She had a nice number of Whippets, 40 in total, and 23 Irish Wolfhounds and a total score of 91.

Best In Show judge was vice president Jean François Vanaken. He had judged Terrier breeds on Saturday and all Poodles plus the Boston Terriers and the Coton de Tuléar on Sunday. His weekend score was 161. But he was not finished as he had to pick out the Best of every day and the Best In Show on Sunday. His winning dog on Saturday was Eric Bernard's Yorkshire Terrier "HUNDERWOOD IDOL", a 3 year old male, entered in Open class to be judged by Mr.Vanaken himself. He won from 15 competitors. Mr. Chapiro was the Group judge. On Sunday it was good old "BEARDIE CONNECTIONS KENJI" who became best of day. He had 22 competitors to beat under judge Mrs.Maja Korosec. Her husband judged the group later in the main ring. Mr.Vanaken's final decision was to title Idol as his Best In Show.

We see each other probably again next year on July 22 and 23. There will be no Masters Trophy next year. And due to the poor success of this concept it is not sure that there will be another edition in 2018. This concept has certainly it's fans, but organizing it is a rather complex and expensive matter. But never say never. The winners this year are: the Hovawart, CH. GOTHAM DES ILES DU LAGON BLEU, owned by GARDES Benoit from France, Reserve was for the Leonberger, AMICUS OPTIMUS VITALIS, owned by MIKHOLEVA Anna from Russia.

Text and photos: Karl DONVIL

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