The weekend of the 12-13 January saw more evidence of the growing numbers and success of British exhibitors abroad, when a small group of British exhibitors travelled to Slovenia to take part in three FCI championship shows including the two CACIB international shows in Ljubljana. As featured in the Our Dogs Annual 2013 (p.309).
British exhibitors have come to relish the different challenges and fun accompanying showing in Europe, and that weekend saw a whole lot of fresh challenges as they braved the winter snowy weather across Europe!
These shows, organized by the Slovenian Kennel Club, are becoming an ever more popular showing scene, especially since they feature early in the FCI showing annual calendar. The two FCI international shows, held on the 12 and 13 January, attracted an entry of around 1,000 dogs per day, from 28 different countries, and took place at the excellent Ljubljana Fair arena in the Slovenian capital of Ljubljana. Between these shows, also saw the holding of special shows, organised by the respective dedicated Slovenian breed clubs on the 12 January, which also attracted their best ever level of international entries.
Once again, Cotonese, a relatively new and small band of Havanese and Coton De Tulear enthusiasts from Cheshire, were there in Slovenia to fly the British flag (see page 309 of the Our Dogs Annual 2013!), and illustrating the importance of international showing to those focusing on KC designated rare breeds, who have come to value the opportunity of showing at FCI shows in Europe as presently the best way of making up full champions.
The British Cotonese contingent enjoyed a highly successful time in Slovenia, scooping up new bags of FCI trinkets, including a total of 8 CACs, 2 CACIBs, and 3 Reserve CACIBS, and one BOBs, as well as the formal title of Slovenian Winner 2013 for three dogs, Crufts qualification for 2014 within the first week of eligibility for two of them, and achieving eligibility for full FCI titles of Slovenian Beauty Champion (Ch Slo).
In particular, the British born and bred Havanese, and 2012 World Junior Winner, Multi Ch Versailles Tanika Adorele At Cotonese, handled by Lesa Miles, did exceptionally well. As well as winning all her champion classes at the three Slovenian shows, Tanika became a Club Champion at the Slovenian Special Club Show for Toy Breeds and Poodles (12 January). She also went Best of Breed at the prestigious CACIB Ljubljana II Show (13 January), qualifying as a full Champion of Slovenia (Ch Slo), and picking up her thirteenth FCI championship title, confirming her as one of the UK’s most successful Havanese dogs of recent times.
The Ljubljana shows also saw the return of the AM Ch, Can Ch, Multi Ch. Windfall’s Lightning Thief at Versailles, who has now joined the Cotonese clan in Cheshire, who also picked up his sixteenth FCI championship title, when he also qualified as a Slovenian Beauty Champion (Ch Slo). Similar successes were also enjoyed by Cotonese among the Coton De Tulear, with the highly promising Jespersen’s Excalibur at Cotonese, enjoying his first showing time as an adult, and winning Best Dog at the CACIB Ljubljana II international show, and his first CACIB against notable international competition first time out.
Yet, showing in Slovenia remains a fruitful and interesting experience for UK exhibitors. They not only have to confront the challenges of long distance showing and becoming familiar with the nuances of showing in the cosmopolitan world of FCI shows, (as discussed in the Our Dogs Annual 2013!). But this time around, they also had to put up with some fresh ones brought about by the winter weather! As well as completing a round trip of over 2000 miles to the show, the Brits of Cotonese also had the ‘pleasant’ experience of heavy snow in Slovenia, crossing the Alps, and snowstorms and blizzards on the way back through France!
Yet, throughout all the bad weather, the reality of making new friends among the Slovenians, and experiencing the friendly atmosphere of the international shows in Slovenia will be the positive lasting memory; and one that should at least to help warm those parts otherwise affected by the recent cold weather!
Professor Lee Miles, Cotonese, UK