Fri, 05/13/2022 - 10:30pm

French Connection

The continent's dog fancy reunites for the European Dog Show in Paris

A major international event organized by the French Kennel Club, the Société Central Canine (SCC), took place in Paris at the end of April, and it was good to see after so many Covid-related problems for the dog-show world over the last two years.

Best in Show on Sunday night was the popular Greyhound, International and Multi-Ch. Ina's Fashion Desirable, seen here with her breeder, co-owner and handler from Germany, Ina Koulermou. Co-owners are Olaf Knauber and Jimmy Cabailo.



Aya is quite a record breaker with this win.



Funfair Foxhouse, the Wire Fox Terrier, took Reserve in Best in Show, handled by owner-breeder Davide Valli from Italy.



In third spot was the Portuguese Water Dog Casa Hoya’s Shoot for The Moon, bred and owned by Ilona Griffioen-van Beek from the Netherlands and handled by Priscilla van Oosten – three winners from three different nations.

The show ran concurrently with the French Championships, which took place on Friday and Saturday, and was won on by a Tibetan Mastiff handled by Frenchman Cedric Jegou.


BIS winner of the Championship of France, Tibetan Mastiff.


A number of U.K. exhibitors were in attendance, although Brexit and all the attendant rules do not make this easy anymore. The show took place at the Parc des Exposition to the north of Paris in a purpose-built show venue.




Even though there had been a World Show in 2021 in Brno, Czech Republic, and a European Show in Budapest at the end of December, there was a feeling among judges, exhibitors and organizers that the international European Dog Show in Paris marked a return to normal … with fewer Covid restrictions and an entry drawn from many countries. We had sunny and mild weather throughout, and that always improves people’s attitudes!


Welcome to Paris … Vince Hogan and Karl Donvil of the World Dog Press Association pose in front of one of the backdrops for exhibitor photographs.


The main ring set up was by P1 dog shows, a now familiar style at many events in Europe. Large trophies were on offer each day for both the European Dog Show and the French Championships, which ran concurrently on Friday and Saturday, with the final of the French Championship on Saturday. That meant a late start (10.30 p.m.) for the gala dinner back at the Hyatt hotel and base for the judges and kennel club representatives.

To find your way around the two vast halls, there were some large maps on display in vantage points on the showgrounds. The general signage was a little lacking in that people struggled to find the official photo booth, the official prize stand for rosettes and where to buy catalogs. I know, as they kept asking me!


Attending the show were Ukrainian Kennel Union (UKU) president Georgy Onischenko (second from right) and vice president Helen Skiliarova. Flanking them are Vince Hogan and Charles Allen of Birdbrook Rosettes, who organized the fund-raising sale of rosettes at Crufts for Ukraine.


There was a good cross-section of international entries, although again Russian exhibitors were banned at this show, as at others, due to the conflict in Ukraine. No doubt that some shows will miss those Russian buses and the many Russian exhibitors who travel long distances to shows around Europe, but it is what it is …




In a very strong BIS line-up on Sunday night, we had a record-breaking winner in “the Greyhound from Germany,” as Aya is becoming known as. She is the first Greyhound ever to win the Best in Show at the FCI European Dog Show and the fourth Greyhound in the history of Crufts to win the Hound Group, which she did just a few weeks ago in the U.K.

There is a great bond between breeder-handler Ina Koulermou and her dog.

“I look at her in the eyes and I ask her … “If not you then who? She definitely knows!” Ina said. “Regally she shakes her tail, I can see the spark in her eye and off she goes around the big ring showing everyone that she deserves this! She is a Queen!”

BIS SBIS INT UK Multi Ch. Ina’s Fashion Desirable has achieved a lot already … look at the recent record: Crufts Winner 2020 and European Winner 2022; Best of Breed at the French Championship under Sighthound specialist Frédéric Maison of “Grand Chien de Culann” Wolfhound Kennel, and at the European Dog Show 2022 under Jorge Nallem of the famous “El Retorno” kennel (Uruguay); Best in Group 2022 at the French Championship by Jean-Louis Brassat Lappeyriere (France); Best in Group at European Dog show under Frédéric Maison, and finally all-breed Best in Show FCI European Dog Show 2022 under Jacques Médard Mangin, also from France. What a weekend and a very popular win all round.

Ina added, “I would like to thank everyone who has been cheering for us, supporting us and joining us on an incredible journey! Also, a huge thanks to everyone on social media who posts videos, photos and writing really amazing comments. I am trying to catch up with everything while being truly overwhelmed.”


Davide Valli.


Italy provided the second-place winner for BIS on Sunday night with Davide Valli and his Wire Fox Terrier Funfair Foxhouse.

A delighted Davide said, “In the dog-show world, everyone thinks that his dog is the best. But when everybody thinks that your dog is the best is something different … I would like to say thank you to the breed judge Jorge Nallem from Uruguay, as without him my dream could not have started.

“Then the group judge, Escoffier Jean-Louis, who kept me dreaming, and last but not least, the BIS judge Jacques Medard Mangin, who made me wake up with the Reserve BIS trophy in my hands.”

Davide had recently been showing at the famous National Terrier event in the U.K. a few weeks earlier … busy chap!

In third spot we had “Leena” the Portuguese Water Dog, owned by Ilona Van Beek from the Netherlands. Leena is a Dutch, Belgian, Luxembourg, Benelux and International champion, and while shown with her brother mostly, so lots of BOS, she also won group placements when she did make it to BOB.

Leena and her handler Priscilla have a great record and have been together through Priscilla’s early career as a junior handler. She was Dutch Champion Junior Handling 2016 among Best 10 Junior Handlers WDS 2017, then World Champion Junior Handling 2018.

Leena turned eight years old on April 7.

Priscilla said she had tears of joy welling up as she relived the moments after the show.

Ronnie Doedijns of the Dutch Kennel Club was equally proud of his country and their dog owners, saying, “The Netherlands did very well during the European Dog Show 2022. Many titles were won by Dutch exhibitors and breeders – big congratulations to you all. Ilona Griffioen-van Beek ended on the podium for the final of the EDS in third spot.”

It all just went to prove that not always is it the case that the top awards go to people from the host country with this 1/2/3 from Germany, Italy and Holland.




To get a rounded view of affairs, I talked to a well-travelled international judge, Andrew Burt from Australia.

Andrew described his feelings on the show, saying, “What an honor to be invited to this event by the Société Central Canine! To be honest, due to COVID, I was not sure the trip would eventuate, but everything fell into place as time progressed.

“The hospitality was excellent, and it was a great chance to catch up with many colleagues after a three-year hiatus from international travel.

“I judged Australian breeds (Australian Cattle Dog, Australian Kelpie, Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog, Australian Terrier, Australian Silky Terrier) plus Basenji and Border Terriers at the EDS, together with Bulldog males and BOB at the French Championship. There were some quality dogs in all breeds, along with mixed quality throughout.

“I think the highlight in my judging was awarding the magnificent Yorkshire Terrier the group at the French Championship – I loved him! Quality dog in every way – construction, head and coat, with typical movement as well. Judging these special dogs gives the judge a very rewarding experience.

“The main ring was exceptionally well organized; the P1 team headed by Richard Volarik did an outstanding job of presenting the winners to the spectators and the world via live stream. Linda Voláriková was so professional with her commentary of proceedings.

“Overall, this was a trip to long remember, and one that begins our return to some normality after several years of darker times.”

For exhibitors it was an expensive show, with entry costs for one dog around 100 Euros, which is about $105 … nearly one to one, in fact. The show was held in just two halls, but big! So, if you had more than one breed to show, it was important that you knew where to go and not to miss your class … not at those prices, anyway! 
Also, when doing shows in France, try and speak some of the language because it’s not always the case that English is spoken, even though it is largely the international language of the dog-showing community!




French Kennel Club president Alexandre Balzer had these words of reflection after the show.

“When we applied for this European Dog Show, we were not yet aware of the health crisis that was awaiting us and of all the changes that it has caused. The success of our indoor event, one of the first major international events since the end of this crisis, is the symbol of a dog world who finally meets around the rings. We are proud to have been able to organize this magnificent event after more than a year of preparation, intensified during the last six months.

“We thank you all for coming to France and for the quality of the dogs presented. I would like to sincerely thank all the teams who took part in this event, the ACT Île-de-France for its warm welcome, the elected representatives of the Centrale Canine, the employees of many Kennel Club’s departments who were mobilized for the event, and all the volunteers who gave of themselves without counting to make our dog sports shine.

“Thanks again to all the participants who shone during these three days and to the judges, French and foreigners, who officiated to put forward the most beautiful dogs in Paris.

“Our next French Championship will be held outdoors in Dijon, as in 2020. We are delighted to find this beautiful site and to work again with the ACT of Burgundy to organize our next big event.

“I look forward to seeing you again in France!”





This show is of course part of the European Section of the FCI; the other sections of the FCI include the Americas (Mexico, South America, etc.) and Asia Pacific/Middle East. As usual at such shows a General Assembly and various meetings take place after the dog show itself.

Some of the points arising from the meetings included the confirmation that Hungary will organize the show awarding the European Winner title for the 10 breeds that cannot participate in Denmark at the European Dog show in 2023. (Docked and cropped dogs mainly.)
This is an unusual situation that has not cropped up before (unintentional pun!) and arises with the ever-increasing legislation in Europe against what some countries vets and politicians describe as “torture breeding.” There is a growing trend to ban many of these breeds, so it is somewhat ironic that a special show is being arranged to celebrate them. Watch this space as Germany becomes the latest country to fall foul of activists and politicians who create some rather bizarre laws that are now hitting dog people at shows.


Bidding for the World Dog Show in 2025 and 2026 are Finland and Italy … a joint bid for Helsinki and then Milan.


The next European Dog shows were also announced and will be in Slovenia (2024), the Czech Republic (2025) and Sweden (2026). The flag ceremony on Sunday passed the baton/FCI flag on to Denmark for the 2023 European show in Herning in the north of the country.


Denmark will host the European Dog Show in 2023.


The newly elected Section President is Jørgen Hindse, who has served in this position for a number of years. The section board members elected were: Ioanna Galanos (Greece),

Sean Delmar (Ireland), Laurent Pichard (Switzerland) and Herdís Hallmarsdóttir (Iceland).




Onward to Madrid in Spain, and the many times cancelled and moved on World Dog Show, which is due to take place in June 2022, but still billed as the 2020 show. The “other” World Dog Show in 2022 will be in Sao Paulo, Brazil, in December.


June 2022 sees the World Show in Madrid, where the kennel-club president is Jose Doval (right). In 2023 we head to Geneva for the World Dog Show in Switzerland with Laurent Pichard and Barbara Muller.




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