Question of the Week
I feel like I absolutely have to respond to this question.
Having lived overseas while I was military, I dove head first into the foreign arena of dog shows and learned how FCI works. Stationed in Germany, I was fortunate to befriend a Scottish Terrier breeder who mentored me on the ways of European shows and the differences between them and the U.S. The main difference, of course, was the amount of grooming performed at shows, which was sometimes non-existent. You basically came to the show with a crate, leash, your dog and a brush/comb. For my Scotties, maybe some Vaseline to use to keep the eyebrows in place, but no foreign substance of any kind was allowed, and neither were grooming arms. It depended on the country, but for the most part, you groomed your dogs at home or the hotel, and then came to the show.
I lived a total of nine years overseas in Germany and Japan between 2000 and 2009, and I still continue to travel overseas today. I encourage many to think outside the box and take a trip to Crufts or the World Dog Show. Yes, it’s different, but there is so much to offer, and although breed standards may differ, it’s good to get another view.
I have forged some lifelong friendships from living overseas and continuing to participate in FCI events, and I am grateful. Without the dogs I acquired while in Germany, I would not be where I am today; some of our top-winning Scottish Terriers trace back to the very stud dog I imported almost 23 years ago.
I bred and co-own a young English Setter who has shown in multiple countries. As a long-time breeder, I'm still in shock over the results and reception he has received. First weekend out in the baby class with a very large entry — all breed — resulted in four BIS.
He has his own fan club throughout the world and is still very much a puppy; his favorite thing to do is take his victory lap carrying his rosette or looking for attention from the judges when you try to take a serious picture.
To date he has 14 BIS in eight countries, three BISS wins and is a champion in 10 countries. His last win is the one I am proudest of … RBIS at the World Dog Show in Geneva with an entry of 13,500.
Every breeder dreams of that once-in-a-lifetime dog who walks in the ring and owns it … “Melandes” (GCh. Quantum Clos Erasmus Spirit World) is that dog. Little did we know his name would align perfectly with his show career … true “Spirit” of an English Setter loved around the “World.”
I own a Smooth Fox Terrier bred and born in France. She completed her AKC championship quickly and is a Silver Grand Champion and multi-specialty winner. When the World Dog Show was held in Amsterdam we flew over, and met up with friends and many Smooth Fox breeders. Our girl held her own and won Best of Breed on Terrier day. She came home with two CCs. The experience was fun, exciting and worthwhile. The competition was excellent, and the judges were knowledgeable. I have attended several World Dog Shows, but showing my own dog sired by a male I own was worth the effort and expense. The best part was that the French breeders were there to enjoy it all, too.
Los Angeles, California
Interestingly — at THAT show, they do not use ring ropes but instead use groups of chairs attached to each other. There are various openings, and one may enter the ring at any opening — a real challenge for the ring stewards. It’s more like mass chaos. They don’t then get in numerical order. Oh — and there are people sitting in those seats. Figure that is so they can quickly redesign the ring each day to make larger or smaller and then they have up-close seating for spectators. From what I could ascertain, this is unique to Crufts.
I currently have a dog that is exhibiting in the U.K. and Europe. I personally went over in March to show him at Crufts. We had tremendous success, garnering Best of Breed. Crufts is a most amazing show. I strongly suggest that you experience it at least once in your life — with or without an entry. I will say that for my breed (Canaan Dogs) in the U.K., sportsmanship is somewhat lacking. This same dog recently was awarded Best of Breed at the FCI World Dog Show. He was handled by his U.K. co-owner for this win. I'm very proud to be able to present a dog of correct type and temperament that is competitive both in the U.S. and abroad.
Acworth New Hampshire
I remember showing a lovely bitch of Miss Noble, Justina of Ardkinglas, at Birmingham. She was a favorite of mine and Elin’s and was one of the more renowned coursing/working Deerhounds in modern times as well as a lovely type.
The judge had not placed her in the proceeding class, which we thought was an error in judgment. Elin and I took to her coat with brush and comb, and dressed her up a bit. “Tina” was in a succeeding class and placed in the “already having been seen” lineup. When the judge went down the lineup, he did a double-take at a rather well turned out, properly groomed Deerhound. I was pleased, and that was my limited experience in the show ring in Britain. Great fun.
Since I am a breeder and owner of Portuguese Water Dogs, I am fortunate to have a good friend and partner in Portugal who was introduced to me by Carla Molinari. It makes it less daunting to be with someone who understands the FCI system.
Showing a dog in its native country means a lot to me, and I have Canadian, American and Portuguese champions. Getting a championship in Portugal is not easy, and requires returning to specific shows for specific points.
Showing in the European countries can also point out that sometimes the best dogs do not come from their native countries.
I have had my dogs entered in several World Dog Shows and European Winner shows as well. It is always fascinating to see breeds that we don’t see here and different judges under FCI rules. The judges face the same challenges as they do in North America, but more breeds and usually more dogs. The quality of the judges is also the same — some knowledgeable, and some not. Since the dogs are coming from a large area it is very competitive, so if your dogs are in that class they have as much chance of a ribbon as the others.
The size of the shows and entries is very impressive and huge compared to here. One show I remember well was in Finland. It was a regular show on a regular weekend, and there were 7,000 entries. The exhibitors are mostly owner-handlers and they bring the whole family, being proud of their dogs and their sport and happy to be social with like-minded people.
I have been to the U.K. numerous times and have occasionally handled a dog for a friend. But the absolute highlight for me happened just this past Friday, September 8, at the Richmond show in England. I was visiting a fellow Cairn Terrier breeder who is a long-time breeder and exhibitor. She had two really lovely dogs entered and they both won the CCs (her first time ever "doing the double"), so she needed me to handle one of her winners. She was hoping to win Best of Breed with her bitch, but the dog I was showing won the breed! I was thrilled to be there to witness this rare occurrence.
Peggy McCoy MD
My Cardigan Welsh Corgi, MBIS MRBIS MBISS GCHP XIV Karat Come Hell or High Water CGCA TKN (“Noah”) and I attended the Crufts 2023 competition in Birmingham, England, in March of this year. It was an amazing event, with 25,000 dogs in attendance in various competitions, along with their owners. The show was extremely well run. The vendors were incredible. Of course, the highlight for my co-owner, Sherri Hurst, and I was that Noah won Best of Breed at the show!
Janice and Ron Mcclary
Hacienda Heights, California
Our first trip was to Mexico City … followed by trips to Puerto Rico, Columbia, Peru, Costa Rica, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, the Bahamas, France, Monaco, Italy, Spain, Prague, the Netherlands, England and Canada. I'm sure there are others … we have won more than 150 titles on our Old English Sheepdogs. (That first trip to Mexico City would never have happened without Fresh Pond Travel. They took such good care of us and their group of dog-show people and their dogs. We asked them about other trips and the rest is history.)
Our first trip was in mid-1980s. We only stopped our travels abroad when the kennel clubs banned cropping and docking.
Ron and I are so grateful that we were able to travel with our OES. It was much easier years ago ... and less expensive. Now we only travel abroad for judging assignments.
I had the pleasure of showing a dog of my breeding at Crufts several years ago. She made the cut in a huge class, and I was pretty elated.
My Whippet lived there and later became the one and only American-bred AKC and English champion Whippet ever.
It was fun to be directly behind the bitch in the cut that went on to win the bitch CC, owned by a dear friend.
It was a great deal of fun to show her at this one-of-a-kind event and I wound up going to Crufts the next year just to watch, connected with a great breeder and was able to import a fabulous English champion bitch to incorporate into my breeding program.
I love the Whippets of the United Kingdom, as this is the mother land of my breed, and they are indeed still very strong.
Easley, South Carolina
I have shown dogs in Bermuda, and it was a great experience. Small dog show, a very beautiful island and American judges. Bermuda is not exactly a foreign country, but it is not a part of the U.S. I think 99 percent of the exhibitors were from the U.S.
I have had nothing but wonderful experiences when showing my Dandie Dinmonts internationally.
In 2003, when the Pet Passport replaced quarantine for North American dogs, Can/Am Ch. Glahms Golden Legacy (“Dawson”) became the first dog from North America to win a championship club breed specialty show. I then took him to Torino, Italy, where well-known handler Richard Hellman was so helpful, translating the announcements and lending me equipment. Legacy won the Terrier Group, and went on to BIS 3, which I almost missed, had it not been for Richard (who was beside us on the podium, as he won BIS).
The following year I returned to Britain, where Legacy achieved his U.K. championship with two more BOBs, culminating by winning the Terrier Group at the prestigious Windsor Dog Show. Again, I was given encouragement and sincere congratulations from the other competitors.
In 2005 we flew to Buenos Aires to the World Show. Handler Hugo Quevedo met me at the airport, took me by taxi to my hotel, loaned me his grooming table, and even knocked on the hotel-room door to inform me about the smoke bomb that disrupted the event. Legacy won the Terrier Group the first day of the World Show and was awarded BIS 4.
Had it not been for the encouragement and generosity of these wonderful people, I am certain I would not have had such a glorious time in those three years. We came home adding more championship titles to total nine. He was now officially known as Canadian, American, British, International, Latin American, Argentinian, Argentinian Grand Champion, Las Americas & Caribe Winner (05) and World (05) Champion Glahms Golden Legacy CGN.
The only negative was that on the way to Argentina a drunken passenger had to be removed from the plane in Trinidad, and the unexpected landing and delay meant that Legacy went 19 hours without urinating. The look on his sweet face when we came out of the airport to finally relieve himself on a piece of grass was priceless!