door Karl DonvilLuxembourg Autumn 2017
After so many years since I visit both shows in Luxembourg, it still is surprising how inventive they are here, always on the look for improvement. But this time there was nothing new. Last time, in spring, there were new trophies for the "Best...in shows", nice delicate flowers in glass and a dog statue for the Best in Show. They were here again this time and I expect them to be there every time from now on. The members are very proud about the trophy desk. While a couple of years ago there was always some entertainment in the ring, like agility, there is nothing going on anymore now. Maybe it has to do with the lack of visitors? Indeed, most shows have very few visitors compared to years ago. What has changed to cause this? Most probably it has to do with the social media. With live streaming there is no longer any need to pay for an entry ticket for yourself and/or your family. You can stay at home in your lazy chair in the garden next to the barbeque and have a look from time to time to see when your favorite group is on term. Once you've seen it, you push the button to turn it down or change for something else. You can chat with your friends on the show and via Skype you can ask them to film something you are interested in. Results are shown as fast or faster even then they can appear on any website or screen. The only reason to come to a show is if you want to see breeds in real live, touch them, play with them, feel them, talk to the breeders for info, and do some chopping. Less visitors also means less trade stands. Only those stands that focus on the breeders and exhibitors are surviving. But it must be said that the trade stands did all good business. Social media are also the killers of the established media. More and more magazines suffer a lot to survive. It is a very confusing evolution. Social media offer many opportunities but not always for the best. They are less social than they pretend. They can be used to invite people to come out of their lazy chairs and enjoy a good show, but if with live view they offer us reasons to stay home, they become the most unsocial media that exist.
The committee of Luxembourg offers live streaming of the main ring. Near the entrance of the dogs is a big screen and around the ring and in the pre-judging ring are cameras installed. A professional team of video editors are monitoring everything and it's very nicely done. All dogs that are entered have their number plus a barcode. This barcode is scanned before a dog is entered and on the screen we can see the dogs number and breed name. The results are handled almost in real time also via this barcode. A very nice system and very informative for the spectators. The main ring is nice as usual, well lit, clean carpet and fences. But there is one thing that spoils a lot: the timing. The main ring program is too loaded and it takes too long even when a few items have been dropped. There is no Best Junior in Show any longer, for example. But that makes hardly any difference. Luxembourg is a popular show with many breeds and lots of entries. That makes the minor puppies, puppies, juniors and veterans well covered by most of the breeds. Every single dog has to be scanned and named before entering and not before the previous one is more than half around the big main ring. OK, so far, but as if this is not enough, they are divided up in males and females and after that a "Best" is chosen. It just takes much too long and it misses tempo. The result is an almost empty ringside at 17h and a Best in Show with NO public around but a few supporters. It would make a big difference if in every breed only the best in each category is chosen, be it a male or female. The best can be chosen in the regular ring. It would make a difference of largely over an hour and the Best in Show would see a climax before 18h instead of an anticlimax. Everything would benefit from it. The main ring could start a little later or there could be a small intermezzo with dog dancing or something else to entertain the spectators, and if visitors would stay longer, the stand holders would keep their booths open longer. I can imagine visitors saying now to their children "let's go, this can still take for hours and we still have to eat something and prepare for school tomorrow". But if they see a fluent progress in the program they will be encouraged to stay till the end and supporter for their favorites. This is the only disease this splendid show is suffering from, it just takes too long. This discomfort can be solved with only a few little changes. It's not only my opinion, many judges sigh politely when passing and spectators are more expressively showing signs of irritation.
The show itself was again as successful as could have been expected. Compared to last year's edition there was a considerable increase of entries from 3387 to 3647. The dogs were representing most of the European countries with France leading with 1039 dogs, followed by Germany with 839, Belgium with 615 and the Netherlands wilt 399. These countries represent about 80 % of the dogs. 73 Dogs crossed the Channel from the UK, plus another 6 from Ireland. And besides that there were dogs coming from as far as Israel, Greece and the USA. Russia had 56 entries for this show and they take usually the big cake away, just like this time, the BIS and the 3rd BIS! There were also 29 judges from 11 different countries and they all had their hands full. With a average of 71,5 dogs/judging day it is clear that there was no time to fiddle away. When we don't take Mrs. Elena Wohles into consideration, as she had only one breed and 5 specimen, probably as a new judge, then the numbers are even better with an average of 72,94. This means indeed that every judge had averagely 73 dogs to judge every day! But of course this is an average that says more about the success of the show and the skill to assemble a economically assembled judges panel, and indeed the committee of Luxembourg is unbeaten! It is of course also very important that dogs are also evenly divided over the judges. 7 Judges were officiating only one day. On Saturday that was Mrs. Ruth Wagner who had 75 dogs, 20 Briards included. On Sunday Mr. Paul Jentgen was invited, mainly for Group 7 dogs. He had 107 in total. Other high scores were for Mrs. Blessing from Germany, with 106 dogs, Mr.Hans Grüttner, also from Germany, with 111, Mrs. Cathy Delmar from Ireland with 124 entries, Mr.Nicolas Karagiannis who comes from Greece with 116, Swiss judge Mrs.Lisbeth Mach with 102 dogs and Mr. Istvan Csik from Germany with 108. Besides that there are many with scores above 70. On Sunday it was totally different. Best scoring was Mr. Jentgen followed by Mr.Jean François Vanaken who had 85 dogs and Mrs. Blessing with 81. She was the second best scoring judge of the weekend. It was her husband who got the honor. On Saturday he had 130 dogs in his ring. Along with the 68 of Sunday he had 198 dogs. Together with his wife they had no more than 10% of the dogs.
Best in Show judge was Mr. Otto Schimph from Austria. He placed 3 dogs out of the 10 Group Winners. His 3rd place went to the black Standard Poodle "Da Maya Huffish Trademark" who came from Russia to compete here with 47 other breed companions. Mrs. Lisbeth Mach was their judge. Torsten Lemmer was the judge for the group. This dog was bred in Sweden and is 5 years old. He was entered in Champion class males. It was a Beagle that climbed the other side of the big podium. He was also judged on Saturday. Mrs. Sabine Rouvroy send her dog to Luxemburg to be judged by Mrs. Christine Rossier from Switzerland. But 52 others came also. She dared her chance entering "Mouton Cade de Maxcecan" in youth class males. Nobody would have expected him ending that high. He won his class, won the breed and won at last group VI, judged also by the same dog. No problem, Mr. Schimpf agreed with her and made this young dog the Reserve Best In Show. What a start for his career! Miniature Spitzes are one of the most popular breeds for the moment and they come in big numbers. "Permanent Call to Humble" was one of the 22 to be entered for Mr. Luis Catalan at 5 years in open class. Anuwat Tadtivong and Svetlana Mironenko from Russia jumped in the air when they saw him win the breed. Later Mrs. Heidi Kirschbichler who judged the group gave his ticket for the finals. One of the smallest dogs of the show ended on the biggest podium of the show. Let us hope that the committee will reconsider the main ring program so that a lot more people will attend the finals and supporter for their favorites and applaud for this little fellow.