Back to the Future
Photos by Yossi Guy
One of the consequences of the Covid pandemic was the cancellation of a substantial number of dog shows during the two years since the virus broke out. That included Crufts 2020, which was cancelled, and Westminster, which was rescheduled.
This also happened with the World Dog Show that was to have taken place two years ago in Madrid. Since Spain suffered severely from the pandemic, the Spanish Kennel Club decided to postpone it – twice.
So, this year – 2022 – there will be two World Shows, the one that just took place in Madrid at the end of June (which is for all intents and purposes the 2020 show) and the one that is scheduled for Brazil in December, the actual 2022 show.
As a special gesture, the FCI has decided to award a special title for dogs that succeed in both shows, even though the number of dogs that fly across the ocean in both directions is not really large.
As is typical with this kind of event, there were three shows in which dogs that won the appropriate classes could win the Spanish championship title. There was a one-day all-breed show on the first day, Thursday, June 23, at IFEMA MADRID, the largest exhibition complex in the country. After that was the three-day World Dog Show from Friday through Sunday, June 24 to 26, with special shows for various breeds on the same days.
The judging panel comprised many judges from around the world, including Europe, the Far East and the Americas. Dogs also arrived from many countries. There was a substantial lack of Russian and Ukrainian entries – quite expected – but some dogs were still entered, and their handlers/owners had to travel through countries like Turkey in order to reach Spain, paying atrocious amounts of money for their tickets.
In general, the show was run with a friendly atmosphere, a meeting place for worldwide friends. However, one thing that was quite obvious was the lack of English speakers. Most ring staff didn't know English, but then people working in the tourist business don't really communicate in this international language either, making it more difficult to find one's way around.
One of the highlights of the show was the visit from Spain’s queen, Her Majesty Queen Sofía, who inaugurated the World Dog Show and who, it turns out, loves dogs. (Perhaps related somehow to Queen Elizabeth?) She is a real dog enthusiast and dog owner, having attended the previous two World Dog Shows held in Spain: Madrid (1983) and Valencia (1992). She was expected to come for one hour, but she remained for several hours during the Best in Show program, showing deep interest in information relating to the FCI and various breeds.
"Great to see a leader actively supporting civilian courage and activity,” commented FCI President Tamas Jakkel. “The people's love for her was almost palpable."
Her Majesty toured the different pavilions, ending in the Ring of Honor, where the opening ceremony was held and the place where the best dog in the world was chosen on Sunday at the culmination of the show. She was accompanied during the opening ceremony by Sergio García, general director of Animal Rights of the Ministry of Social Rights and the 2030 Agenda; Tamás Jakkel, president of the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI); José Miguel Doval, president of the Spanish kennel club, the Real Sociedad Canina de España (RSCE); and many other officials.
On the final day, the queen also presented the award for the best Spanish breed at the show to the Valencian Ratter. She was supposed to have presented the trophy to the BIS, but had to leave earlier.
More than 16,500 dogs from 65 countries representing 250 of the 400 FCI-recognized breeds were judged. Among them were some 30 rare breeds that are scarce even in their countries of origin. The 10 group winners that entered the ring of honor came from several countries, although Italian dogs were on top.
A Wire Fox Terrier named Funfair Foxhouse, bred and owned by Davide Valli from Italy, went Best in Show and was crowned absolute world champion. The judge was Rafael Malo Alcrudo, an experienced and well-respected Spanish judge who dressed for the occasion in a special suit with t national colors of red and yellow. Triumphing at the major canine event in the FCI world, this dog thus obtained the most important award related to purebred dogs: prestige. This Fox Terrier had been awarded Reserve Best in Show at the European Dog Show that took place in Paris in April.
Second place went to an English Bulldog named Amen Ra Palo Seco; third place to an Old English Sheepdog, Bottom Shaker the Greatest Picture, and fourth place to a Miniature Wirehaired Dachshund.
Spain occupied a place of honor in the grand finale with that fourth-place mini Dachshund named Almarxils Tuatara, whose breeder and owner is the Spaniard Noel Garrigos Mateo. Almarxils was already third at the 2021 World Dog Show in Brno (Czech Republic), and this year she has been named Dog of the Year in Spain.
Portuguese judge Jose Homem de Melho, who judged Group 6 in the main ring, said that the show had “beautiful lineups with excellent halls and rings.” When asked on what he based his decision when placing the dogs, his response was, “Typicity, movement and presentation were my filters.”
Italian judge Francesco Cochetti told Dog News: “It was a nice show, and even if the entries were not high, the quality in many breeds was excellent.”
Katja Rauhut of Germany was extremely happy when her female became the first Tibetan Terrier ever to win a group at a World Dog Show.
“You are writing history, my little girl,” she wrote. “And you just turned two. We whelped you and we raised you. I knew you were special from the day we decided to keep you. You are full of energy, and to be honest you are one crazy girl on fire. Sometimes I can’t even believe you can stand still for two seconds. You love everyone and we love you. I mean, how can you not?”
Jose M. Doval, president of the Spanish Kennel Club, summed up his experience this way:
“I’ve been going to World Dog Shows almost every year since 1992. I’ve participated as a spectator, exhibitor, judge and photographer, but this time I had a different role.
“I’m on the board of the Spanish Kennel Club [RSCE] since December 2017, so I was there when we started to prepare everything for Madrid WDS 2020 and also when we were forced to postpone it, two times, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As you can imagine, it was a nightmare, and finally we had a third change of dates, thanks to the help of the FCI and our Brazilian friends from CBKC, to celebrate our WDS in 2022. In the meantime, I have been elected president of RSCE in November 2021, so my position was at the top of the organizing committee of the show, with all the difficulties we have had on the way – pandemic, war, economic crisis …
“All these circumstances were not the best for holding the big show we had been dreaming of since 2016, but in any case, we worked hard in order to have a nice and unforgettable WDS in Madrid. We even had two more halls pre-booked just in case the entry would have been bigger, because we always thought of the dogs and exhibitors, providing spacious rings, lots of space for exhibitors and public, etc.
“Also, we tried to have one of the best main rings of the last years, in collaboration with P1 Dogshow. All these have been possible due to our cooperation with IFEMA exhibition center and Arion, our main sponsor.
“But if everything seemed difficult, to add another challenge to our WDS week, the FCI asked us to organize the General Assembly just before the show, since it had been impossible to hold it last year in Brno.
“So, we had a full week with lots of emotions and things to do, but I hope everyone enjoyed the show.
“This WDS has been very special for many of us, because of all these difficulties, to show the world that we, the doggy people, never give up and transform challenges into opportunities.
“The two visits by our Queen were definitely the icing on the cake, attracting even bigger public attention to our sport. Now when we need to establish new ways of working, taking our message to society and mass media.
“I would like to thank all those who attended our WDS or just watched it on the news. We’ve done our best.”
Winners and Placers
Group 1, judge Jose Luis Gil Alonso, Spain
Old English Sheepdog, Bottom Shaker The Greatest Picture, breeders Istvan Szetmar and Jozsef Koroknai, Hungary
Australian Shepherd, Once In A Lifetime de la Noval
Briard, Msocu Black Balus de Los Niegos
Puli, Matthias Rex Vakhur
Group 2, judge Christofer Habig, Germany
English Bulldog, Amen Ra Palo Seco
Tibetan Mastiff, Petro Prestige Elizaveta
Giant Schnauzer, Zorro de Pichera
Presa Canario, Ch. Enzo de Wolfmont, breeder Montse Betancor Carasa, owner Victor Suarez, Spain
Group 3, judge Cristian Stefanescu, Romania
Fox Terrier, Funfair Foxhouse
Bedlington Terrier, L’End Show Metti Surprise At Glare
Scottish Terrier, Aidante Until I Wake Up
Yorkshire Terrier, Estugo Amien Dancing Queen
Group 4, judge Jose Manuel Sastre Toquero, Spain
Miniature Wirehaired Dachshund, Almarxils Tautara
Standard Wirehaired Dachshund, Margot Per Luce Palatina Ermia
Standard Smooth Dachshund, Nzhnyj Hischnik Astra
Rabbit Long-Haired Dachshund, Big Ben The Victoria Lord
Group 5, judge Antonio V Choya, Spain
Podenco Ibicenco, Xabel de la Sierra de Avila
Alaskan Malamute, Captain Future of the Biagio, Italy
Basenji, Jasiri-Sukari Southern Living
Samoyed, Samspring Carry On My Secret With Joy
Group 6, judge Jose Homem de Melho, Portugal
Basset, Ch. Miracle Mary v. Grunsven, breeder Cria Smits, owner Francesca Ghezzi
Grand Basset Griffon, Ch. Forget Me Not v. Tum-Tums Vreindjes, breeder Gwen Huikshoven, owner Anouk Huikshoven, Netherlands
Spanish Sabueso Hound, Jara II De Valdemaria, breeder and owner Rubio Fernandez
Porcelain, Jasmine Nova Espera, breeder and owner Ewa Pilich
Group 7, judge Luis Pinto Teixeira, Portugal
English Setter, Kentavros Fivos of Lucksheray
Gordon Setter, Ludstar Malacahi
Weimaraner, Camelot’s Zebulon Herne
English Pointer, Chesterhope Lady Lagertha
Group 8, judge Tamas Jakkel, Hungary
Flat-Coated Retriever, Almanza Backseat Driver, Norway
American Cocker Spaniel, Very Vigie I’ll Be Fame’nd Fortune
Clumber Spaniel, Bimbik’s Quarto
Spanish Water Dog, Omega Del Majaceite
Group 9, judge Ana Mesto Martin, Spain
Tibetan Terrier, Ti La Shu PS I Love You
Lhasa Apso, Serial Killer Dell’alberico
Toy Poodle apricot, Afterglo Agent Orange
Pug, Diabolric’s the Force Awakens
Group 10, judge Gerard Jipping, Netherland
1. Afghan Hound, Jalila Bint Siraq von Haussman
2. Irish Wolfhound, Sarabi Della Bassa Pavese
3. Whippet, Majestrian Blue Vertigo
4. Greyhound, Sobers Achillea Karkatt, Italy