FCI in transition

We are living in a changeable world. Politically the last 25 years have been characterised by very big changes: New countries have emerged, others have dissolved and new state formations have appeared.

This has of course affected the FCI and our whole organisation. We have become many more members and before long we will probably pass a total of 100 full member countries, associated countries and contract partners. And not many years ago we were “only” 70 countries.
As most people will know, our statutes are based on the principle “one country – one vote” and this principle will surely be challenged in the coming years, as the rapid increase in the number of members with a lot of quite small kennel clubs is diluting the influence of the large and middle-sized countries; those countries that pay for almost the entire running of the FCI (the 5 largest contributors pay more than 1/3 of the total income of the FCI).

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Jørgen Hindse
2013 FCI European Section Show in Geneva

It is tradition that prior to the FCI European Section or World Dog Show, the organising country holds its International Championship Show too. If so many dogs come from all over Europe and even the World, it is a good idea to combine those two shows so that a dog can compete for national Championship as well as for European Championship.

Day 1

The first day of the FCI European Section Show, 2937 dogs were on term : Group I, Group III, Group V and Group VII. The total number of entries for the show was over 8000. The venue is large and located next to the airport. The complex has 8 halls but only one was in use for the show. That can give you an indication of the size of the halls. The public transport in Geneva is excellent and that helps a lot. In the city I have seen some publicity panels to announce the show and in the bus a short video was shown too.

Day 2

Day 2 was another day of sunshine and pleasant weather Once in the halls I was immediately focused on the most crowded ring in the halls. The reason was clear when I approached, it was the ring of the popular Bernese Mountain Dogs. No wonder that there were a lot of spectators around.

© Karl Donvil

It was much easier to walk around than the first day. We had Group II, Group VI and Group X for 2729 entries. Most of the rings were large enough and there were no complaints about it. The dogs were allowed in the halls from as early as 7:30 and the judging started at 9:30, earlier than usual for this kind of shows. The main ring started at 13:30 and the result was that the show day was already over at 17:00, which is very early and unusual. In Bratislava the show days ended around 21:00 and the Finals almost around 22:00. Right before the main ring started there was a group of people giving a small demonstration of Bernese Mountain Dogs and Saint Bernard Dogs pulling chariots and during the final judging on Saturday there were two performances of heelwork to music. I was impressed by an-84-year old lady who did very well for her age and it showed that working with dogs can keep you fit.

I liked the fact that all judges were working in the very same way. The dogs were first lined up around the ring, then a selection was made and those dogs were lined up opposite the VIP-Eukanuba Stand, the Judges on the left side, the Press and Public on the rights side. Very often the judge can do as he likes and then you have the dogs running in all possible directions and that results in very different photos, some being OK, some from an impossible angle. I suppose that the briefing for the judges was very strict. The main ring was very sober, no flowers or so, but the light was correct. One side of the ring was strictly reserved for the judges, the front side was the Eukanuba stand with seats for their VIP’s, and the dogs came in and out from the opposite side. The stairs for the public on the opposite were rather small; unfortunately, for the finals there was not enough room for all the spectators.

© Karl Donvil

The stand holders in general were happy. They were all situated in one corner of the halls and as everything happened in one hall they were visible from everywhere.

On the last day the show started very early again and this time the dogs from Group IV, Group VII and Group IX were on term. I had the impression that there was much more room in the halls, but that was logical as only Group VIII has larger dogs.

Everything was well cleaned up again, inside and outside the halls. The judges stayed in the hotel directly behind the halls and they could easily walk within 5 minutes to the hall which meant no delay from their side either. Most judges were not overloaded and could finish early. During the day everything was focused on the judging and all this together was probably the reason why every day the main ring could start so early and finish well in time.

I had a few interviews during the day and it was amazing that I could not find any complaints, the trade stand holders were happy, the exhibitors, the judges, the president…In the morning we had a final Press Meeting together with the organisers of future World and European Shows. Hardly any question, let stand complaints.

I have tried to compile some interesting numbers that I was able to collect, the best scoring judges/day and the breeds with high numbers.

© Karl Donvil

Friday had a lot of judges with over 100 dogs to judge, Mr Rui Oliveira (Portugal) had 109, Mrs Elisabeth Feuz from Switzerland who had 85 Jack Russels and 40 Parsons. Mr Petru Muntean had several breeds and a total of 114 dogs. Mrs Gitty Schwab, President of the Fédération Cynologique du Luxembourg, had 106 Terriers and Mr Luis Pinto Teixeira from Portugal had 114 entries to Judge. Mr Kari Järvinen (Finland) had a total of 106 entries, 85 Miniature Spitz included, his compatriot Mrs Marja Talvitie had 99 entries, 69 Samoyedes being her highest entry. Mrs Maria Kavcic from Slovenia had two breeds, 62 Akita Inus and 52 Shibas. The Siberian Huskies were 126 all together and divided between Mr Teixeira and Mr Ronny Doedijns (Netherlands). High entry was the Amstaffs, 98 in total.

High attending breeds on Saturday were: 67 Basset Hounds, 86 Whippets, 104 Rhodesian Ridgebacks, 62 Bullmastiffs and 71 Shar Peis. Mrs Monique Van Brempt judged 103 Beagles. The Bernese Mountain Dogs were divided over two judges and outnumbered all other breeds on Saturday. Mrs Regula Bürgi from Switzerland judged the major part, 131 dogs! Mr Stefan Sinko from Slovenia had 86 English Bulldogs, another amazing score while Mr Bojan Matakovic from Croatia judged 85 Cane Corso and 37 Tchiorny Terriers.

On Sunday there was only one judge with over 100 dogs, Mr Hans Van den Berg from the Netherlands had 108 smooth Chihuahuas in his ring. Impressive numbers are 69 Flat Coated Retrievers, 106 Labradors, 119 Golden Retrievers, 98 Pugs, 178 Chihuahuas (both varieties), 64 Pekingese, 154 French Bulldogs, 79 Chinese Crested, 195 Poodles (all varieties) and 350 Dachshunds (all varieties).

This FCI European Section Show was a very good show, without any major complaints. Mrs Müller and Mr Pichard can look back with satisfaction, congratulations to both and their team.

Next FCI European Section Show will be held in Brno in the Czech Republic, from October 23rd till 26th, with probably over 18,000 dogs. The 2014 World Dog Show. It will be organised in Helsinki (Finland) from 8 till 10 August and will probably attract a similar high number of entries. See you there?

Karl Donvil