The extinguishing of the Olympic flame recently signalled the end of the 30th Modern Olympic Games, which will be remembered for a long time by a lot of people in many respects. The British surpassed themselves, so to speak, with the organisation and running of the games. They proved just how important careful and detailed preparation is for every event. And this is no different for canine events, although even our biggest events can nowhere near match the participation and response levels of the Olympics, of course. You have to wonder why even little known sports can lure so many viewers to the TV screens while our major events, which undoubtedly exist, are mostly well and truly ignored by the TV stations. This topic was dealt with to some extent during the scientific symposium held last year, at which ways were demonstrated in which this aspect can be improved. It is now up to us to analyse and improve this situation. The likely answer to this question is “action”. Nowadays, this requirement would appear to be best met by the Agility discipline, which can usually also attract large numbers of spectators.

Read more

Hans W. Müller
FCI President
French Championships, 7 - 9 July, Metz: "... a piece of cake"

After the 4-day World Championships in Paris with their record 37,000 entries all competing on one site, the 2012 French Championships with an entry list of almost 7,000 dogs seemed like a "piece of cake". Organising a show for a few thousand dogs is no great matter - things only start getting complicated when the number of entries exceeds fourteen or fifteen thousand.

The city of Metz was chosen as the venue for these 2012 championships due to its geographical position close to the rest of Europe, its vast exhibition halls and the indisputable experience of the Lorraine Kennel Club team.

© Imre Horvath
Hélène Denis

The show met up to all the expectations of the Société Centrale Canine (SCC), the French Kennel Club. Preparations were the fruit of intense collaboration between the Federation and the Lorraine Kennel Club. Though it is not always easy to organise a show with two entities, perfect harmony existed between all involved and especially between Hélène Denis, Vice President of the Lorraine Kennel Club and show coordinator, and the SCC's Jean-Claude Métans, in charge of "major events".

The Metz fairground offered a number of advantages: 55,000 m² of floorspace, 21,000 of which are under cover, modern and well-equipped facilities with large catering areas and 5,000 convenient parking spaces. The site for camper vans, available with electricity, water, security and daily cleaning, was used an average two days per user. The exhibitors' carpark close to the entrance where the veterinary inspection took place was very convenient. A wise decision was to have parking facilities available close to the cages for packs of dogs, a specific feature of French dog shows and the fruit of a long tradition. Apart from the covered areas, marquees carpeted in "French Blue” were also available, fitted out with judging rings and facilities for exhibitors.
Traffic approaching and entering the showground flowed smoothly.
Both inside and outside the showground, there was sufficient space for exhibitors, allowing them to circulate freely and avoiding any congestion around the rings during judging. Everything was in a clean and tidy state. The numerous traders were well placed in Hall C, as all visitors and dog exhibitors had to walk through it to get to the events.

The one disappointing aspect was that there were fewer visitors than expected, especially given the amount of effort put into promoting the event and the amount of local and national media coverage. There were two reasons for this: the Tour de France, an extremely popular and not-to-be-missed event, which chose exactly this weekend to arrive in Metz, and the start of the summer holidays.
For the SCC, public relations are a very important aspect. Its stand right next to the visitor's entrance, together with the "breeds village", were there to provide information on all the different aspects of keeping dogs. The main aim here was to reach the public at large, raising awareness for the importance of choosing a breed suited to the purchaser's way of life.
At its stand the SCC was also offering its LOUPY 2, a game teaching children the right way to behave with a dog.

© Imre Horvath

The French love of dogs has always been associated with the use of a dog in all its different aspects, and the SCC does it best to show that dogs are not just selected for show.
Under the leadership of Daniel Schwartz, SCC Vice-President, various stakeholders were mobilised throughout the weekend. The Lorraine Canine Education and Utility Dog Clubs gave perfect demonstrations of working dogs' equilibrium and sociability.
In another aisle, you came face to face with a group of geese, perfectly watched over by a shepherd and his border collie.
As for dogs at the service of man, a splendid team was at hand, presenting guide dogs for the blind. This in itself constituted great public relations. The Lorraine Kennel Club has a tradition of passing on part of the entry fees from Metz shows to the "Noël de Joie" (Christmas cheer) association which provides guide dogs to people with impaired vision.
There was also something there for young dog lovers: a drawing competition and the Loupy 2 teaching game. The Somme-Vesle Lycée had its pupils, both boys and girls, providing demonstrations of education, obedience, working in the ring and mondioring. The Bar le Duc Lycée presented a harmonious "Dog Dancing carousel", featuring several dogs dancing simultaneously. Chanel Chavigny had a great smile on her face and eyes full of emotion on winning the French Junior Handling Championship.

One of France's top television channels devoted a whole broadcast to this Championship and there was also widespread coverage in the national and local press.

An international panel of judges had been invited and two shuttle buses were on hand to transfer them from the different airports and stations to their hotel and from there to the showground. Judging schedules were fixed, causing a certain amount of stress for the judges, but making it easier for exhibitors, and not leaving visitors with time on their hands. The training courses for ring secretaries and stewards are proving to be very successful in France, resulting in there being too many applicants for judging the championships.

For the first time ever at a French championship, the 54 French breeds entered had pride of place, with the best of them competing each day under the judging eye of SCC President Christian Eymar-Dauphin.

On the Friday, the French Best of Breed award went to "Celtis Des Garous d'Ebène", a Berger Picard or Picardy Sheepdog reared and owned by Ms Ellen Adam. The Saturday title went to "Emberez The Big Show", a Dogue de Bordeaux reared and owned by Messrs Burnikell and De Croo (UK and NL), while on Sunday the honours went to "Fréjus de la Vallée de l’Iroise" a Bouledogue Français or French Bulldog owned by Mr Jérôme Volkheimer.

In the large main ring, the final show saw a brilliant performance of young dog lovers and their dogs, accompanied by a young cellist.

The selection of the show's best young dog was in the hands of Sylvie Desserne, who chose the English Cocker "Gallinagos All This Time", owned by Ms Sophie Simonelli.

The Best in Show (BIS) was judged by the Swiss judge Laurent Pichard, who underlined how much he was aware of the honour accorded to him, saying that: "Being in charge of a main ring like the one in Metz requires a certain amount of reflection. You need to be quick, precise, well-organised all at once, as well having a perfect command of the different standards... just some of the questions I asked myself before the crucial moment.
Then the Best in Show got underway and each "best in group" chosen by my colleagues entered the ring. The White Puli had that certain touch of class and behaved impeccably throughout my inspection. I was taken by him, right from the moment he entered the ring.
I was also seduced by the characteristic gait of the Dogue de Bordeaux, which he displayed magnificently.
The Lakeland Terrier - mischievous and groomed to perfection - just couldn't leave me indifferent.
The podium was thus set and all that was left for me to do was to determine the ranking - and that I left up to my heart and my feeling, concentrating on the moment to determine my ranking. Designating the Best in Show at the 2012 French Championships in Metz will remain one of the highlights of my judging career and a wonderful memory

© Imre Horvath
Owners : LACEY Avril & SZYCZEWSKI Edward (UK)Puli
Judge : Laurent PICHARD (CH)

It was also a very emotional moment for Imre Horvath, the Show's official photographer and President of the Eastern Sheepdog Club, to "see Avril Lacey and Edward Szyczewski, breeders and exhibitors of the 7-year old White Puli, "Weetoneon Arctic Storm", at Metz. Avril, a member of the French Breeding Club, has been a top British breeder of Pulis and Afghan Hounds for decades and has been based in France for several years now. Avril and Edward presented a Black Puli and a White Puli, both selected for the main ring by Petru Muntean, a top connoisseur of the breed. Very few Puli puppies have been born in France and this was the first time a Puli was to be found on the highest step of the podium at a French Championship." Imre's emotion was stirred all the more as, "the night before, Viharsarok Gyökér Puszta, a Black Puli and his longstanding companion of nearly 14 years had 'gone to the stars'."
The Sèvres vase donated by the President of the French Republic was awarded to Avril Lacey by Elisabeth Castellotti, chief of staff of the Prefect of the Moselle. Ms Nathalie Griesbeck, MEP and Vice President of the Conseil Général de la Moselle and Ms Marielle Olesinski and Mr Sébastien Koenig as representatives of the City of Metz honoured the event with their presence.

© Imre Horvath
Dogue de Bordeaux
Owners : URNIKKEL Nik & DE CROO Bart
BIS Judge : Laurent PICHARD (CH) ; (on the photo, Group judge : Benoit THEVENON)

The last word belongs to President Christian Eymar-Dauphin: "the day after these "made in Lorraine" Championships, I feel a particular sense of tranquillity. The whole machine seems to have worked smoothly, the different groups of people attending the show have accomplished their various missions, above all working in harmony - a sine qua non for the success of any event and a dream come true in Metz.
On my random strolls through the show, I met traders greatly appreciative of the way the halls were laid out, exhibitors very pleased with the amount of space at their disposal, but unfortunately fewer visitors than expected. The quality of the dogs was up to scratch, with the best ones on each of the three days showcasing the quality of French breeding and of breeders from abroad. What was really great was that the ring masters had me deciding between the French breeds every night. On top of the satisfaction of the 2012 championship running so smoothly, this was pure joy!"

© Imre Horvath
Lakeland Terrier
Owners : LORRAIN Denys (FR)
BIS Judge : Laurent PICHARD (CH) ; (on the photo, Group judge : Wilfried PEPPER, DE)

Catalogue with all results:
Main Ring: