Photographs courtesy of Zeljko Novakov and Gabriel Paun
The concept of a world specialty is not something new to the sport of dogs: In fact, it has been around for many years in many other breeds.
In 2011, long-time American Staffordshire Terrier breeders Vladimir Mihaljcic and Mirko Popović worked diligently to bring this idea to the Amstaff fancy. They held their first collaborative specialty in their home country of Serbia, choosing as the judge Dr. Hugh Scott Kellogg, who over the years has been well respected and a favorite among Amstaff breeders and exhibitors worldwide.
That first specialty show, called “Amstaff Major,” had an entry of 164 Amstaffs from many different European countries. This was considered an excellent entry for a debut event, and from there the idea was born to move the specialty around annually to different European countries to ensure a diversity of entrants and give all European exhibitors the opportunity to participate.
Over these past 11 years, Amstaff Major has been held on a regular basis in many different European countries, including Spain, Slovenia, Slovakia, Romania, Russia, Croatia and Hungary. Hungary has hosted the event a few times now, including the 2022 specialty. The Hungarian Kennel Club along with Hungarian breeder-owner-handler Norbet Tibay worked tirelessly to host an exceptional event in their beautiful country.
Amstaff enthusiasts from Serbia.
The Amstaff Major has quickly become, without a doubt, an event with the largest entry of our breed in the world, including the STCA National Specialty, bringing together roughly 200 Amstaffs from all over the globe every year, with entrants from numerous continents and most European countries. Fellow breed enthusiasts bring their best dogs to compete with the best of the best for this epic annual event.
Best in Show winner.
The Amstaff Major 2022 was held on April 16 in the Hungarian city of Szilvasvarad with an entry of 180 dogs, even amid the political climate affecting many of our friends and breeders in the surrounding countries of Russia and Ukraine. Dog show aside, Hungary is arguably one of the most beautiful places in Europe with beautiful sights, exceptional hospitality, diversity and world-class gastronomy. The 2022 judges were breeder-judge Patrik Cederlöf from Sweden and Wood Wornall from the United States, with Mr. Cederlof judging all the males and Best of Breed and Mr. Wornall judging all the females.
Despite the entry of 180 dogs, the Hungarian kennel club designated a single large ring for all entrants. This made it possible for all attendees to enjoy the entire event without missing a class. The event went from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and without a doubt, it was the biggest party of fanciers celebrating the American Staffordshire Terrier! As is done every year, the organization had fantastic handmade trophies for all of the winners by Romanian-born artist Cristina Alexandrescu, who is probably one of the artists who best captures the essence of the breed worldwide!
Best Junior and BOS Junior.
This year’s exceptional winners spanned the globe. The Best in Show winner was GCHG LBK’s Rebel and Proud Party Crasher, coming from the United States, where he is currently the nation’s #1 Amstaff. “Trouble” is handled by Blair Aguillard, bred and owned by Lacey and Luisma Benítez, and owned by Ion Ispas and Jessica Branch. Best of Opposite was a beautiful female from Romania coming from the veteran class, Ch. Ducipal Ringmaster Artemis, bred, owned and handled by Reti Andrei. Best Junior was a lovely young dog from Slovakia, JCh. Skyglows Locked Away, bred and owned by Erika Urgosova. The Best Junior Female was also from the U.S.: Ch. Absolute De Paco XZ Dickies That’s Anybody But You, bred and owned by Blair and Michelle Aguillard, Giuseppe Commisso and Paco Zanoia.
The judges had a tremendous job to pick from so many exceptional dogs.
“For me as a judge and breeder of American Staffordshire Terriers it was an honor to be invited for the Major. There were some really excellent ambassadors,” said judge Patrik Cederlöf of Sweden. “My Best of Breed was of a type that is rare to find these days – just look at his head and expression. He was handled to perfection. My BOS was a veteran bitch, also one of a kind in many ways. The show was well organized and full of sportsmanship from the exhibitors. A memory for life.”
Judge Wood Wornall of the U.S. noted that it was an honor to judge the Amstaff Major. “I had hoped for quality, as I always do when I travel to new places,” he said. “But the overall quality far exceeded my expectations! Overall size and balance were quite good. Nice head pieces. Good front ends. A little help in rear movement is needed. Temperaments were excellent. Good toplines were easily found. I also would like to compliment overall good sportsmanship, with the exception of one exhibitor and her false assumptions. This breed is in wonderful shape for years to come. Again, thank you for the privilege of judging. Also, kudos to you on the choice of my fellow judge, he was very knowledgeable!”