A personal view by Costanza Ferraris
There are dog shows that are more famous then others, there are shows that have more entries then others and there are shows that continue to be popular even in this period of crisis. Amsterdam belongs to the famous family. In 2012 they registered almost 4,500 entries! What is the recipe of this show to always remain in the Top List of the Most Important European Dog Shows after 123 years? We tried to discover its secret following exhibitors, visitors, stand holders…
It is 7 o’clock in the morning. In front of the Amsterdam Exhibition Center (RAI) there is an unusual dance of red lights, up, down, left and right, all directed by a group of policemen. No traffic, no queue, no accident! This Saturday morning, the police are there to help the exhibitors to enter into the RAI parking. A new system allowed cars to enter without even taking the entry ticket. Almost 3000 parking places waited the exhibitors and visitors. No hurry, no stress: there are enough places for everybody. The parking is even almost under the exhibition area. The vet control is also very fast. Even the dog not registered at the show can accompany their friends to the show, just paying an entry ticket as a normal visitor and showing its pet passport.
Once inside the RAI you discover how big the place is. The show is a two day event with almost 2200 entries per day. The organization of the Winner Amsterdam rents three halls giving this sense of bigness: the halls are wide, the rings are wide, and corridors are spacious. You breathe the history walking among the rings. The origin of RAI started in 1893 when the trade association RI was founded by a few bicycle manufacturers (Rijwiel Industrie). They took their first show in 1895. The letter A arrived when they started to build autos. In 1922 the RAI organized an important show in an old exhibition center. This old building was replaced by a new one inaugurated by the Prince Bernhard of Nederland on 2nd February 1961. Almost 75% of the exhibition center still belongs to the RAI and the other 25% to the Amsterdam municipality.The success of any show is also connected to the place where it is organized.
Entering in these beautiful halls the exhibitors feel at home. They have received at home a letter from the Kennel Club confirming their entries and the number of their ring. On the first page of the catalogue, received at their entry, a map shows exhibitors where to go. The arrangement of the rings reminds you a bit of Crufts. In each ring a whiteboard tells visitors and exhibitors the schedule of the day. The breeds are judged almost always in the same place. Around the ring there is a lot of space where to sit to follow the judgments. Everything is planned. The stewards do not need to call the exhibitors, they are all ready. No call is done with the loudspeaker. You don’t breathe the stress even at the end of the day when people want to go home with their dogs. They wait quietly the exit time in front of the gate.
The exhibitors also like the Winner Amsterdam for two other main reasons: the double CAC and the honorific titles. The CAC of the Amsterdam International show is something really special because it follows specific rules. The judge can assign it to the best junior, adult or veteran. The winners of the CAC receive the honorific title of Winner/Winster. We can say in this case that the CACIB is less important than the CAC. Only the winners of the CAC can compete for the BOB. The best junior (Junior Winner/Winster) and best veteran (Veteran Winner/Winster) if they win the CAC they also become Winner/Winster. The economic aspect (2CAC for one show) and a well chosen jury give to the show another point to its favour. All these arguments let do that the number of entries is always very high and with it also the level of the dogs. You can still speak about competition in a breed. 20 breeds had more than 40 entries. The highest was Golden Retrievers (99) but in the second place we discover the French Bulldog (91) that surpassed the American Staffordshire Terrier (70) and the Labrador (70). This atmosphere touched also the British exhibitors who always come over giving great support to this show. Perhaps 2013 maybe different as it clashes with LKA!
Amsterdam has found a good balance between the English and the European style with plenty of visitors, not just Dutch. The number of the stands is also important. It is a good date to start thinking to Christmas presents. Almost all the stand holders speak English, a positive thing for visitors coming from abroad. When you sit outside the exhibition area you see many people going home with “presents” for their dogs.
For people interested to discover the national or others breeds, a special breed village is organised not very far from the main ring. 28 breed stands were ready to answer to all the questions. There, you can discover through pictures, book or slides, how a breed is outside the rings. This is a different approach to meet breeders and the local clubs.
This entire international atmosphere (this year 36 States) pushes the Dutch Kennel Club to invite a cosmopolitan jury. The biggest names and also the most important specialists are invited. To judge at the Amsterdam Winner Show is a great honour. It is a bit like to be invited to a European show, I was told by different judges and sometimes it is much better because here the organisation is the same and they are used to organising this event. All the details are analyzed. An information booklet, in English, explains to the judges the rules of this show. The biggest difference between this show and the other FCI shows are underlined in bold. The main important sentence can be this: BOB and BOS are always the dogs with the Winner/Winster title and the dogs that the CAC is given to and is not necessary the same as the CACIB winner. Qualified stewards follow the steps of their judge and fill in all the papers to give to the exhibitors. During this show the Dutch Kennel Club thanked the work of a Ring steward, Mrs Joke van de Mieuwenhuizen. She did it for 50 years at the Amsterdam Winner Show. She started when she was young together with her husband. When he died a few years ago she decided to leave the dog shows. Her friends called her back and because she loved to be a ring steward she came back. Today she is 86 years old and had decided that it was time to retire. A great moment of emotion for the whole organisation! The greatest problem for her was to see that the new generation is regrettably not as interested to become a ring steward or secretary.
The last overview is also very important: the final. It takes place in the front hall. For the visitors there are tiered seats. For the judges a private place is organized like a terrace with a bar service (very important to recover energy after a long day!). The judges sit around small tables and can walk freely in the VIP area. This gives them the possibility to speak a bit with fellow judges. The main ring starts at 14.30 and finishes not too late: thing very important for the public. The main ring is not very wide. The dogs are always under the eyes of the spectators. They are piloted by a couple of stewards who explain them where to stop, to walk or to move on the green carpet. All around magnificent flowerpots remember that we are also in the flower land.
In the back the winners enter in the two wide pre rings according to the instructions of a steward. It is there where the group judges meet the best of breed winners that will enter into the main ring. The group judge has time to choose their pre-selection. The movement is very important.
The arrival of the Winners in the main ring is followed by a spotlight that emphasizes their beauty. The BIS this year was selected by John Wauben (NL) who is the Chairman of Maastricht show. He told me “The entrance in the main ring is very important. It gives me the first impression of the dog that I have in front of me. It must be a star. When I saw the Afghan Hound running in the ring with all its class, I said this is my dog. It movement was sound with not too much angulated. Its head was carried high and when I touched it I discovered that its body was well developed with a very nice croupl. Then I had to choose my second. My choice went to the Labrador, also a very sound subject.”
A great show with a great structure. Next year there is a new date and an extra show making three days. The Amsterdam Winner Show has now celebrated its 123rd anniversary. Are they planning to do something special for 2014? Keep your eyes open!
What the BIS Judge had to say:
I had the great honour to judge BIS at the 123rd AMSTERDAM ALL- WINNERS SHOW.
Searching for a dog that gave me that “heartwarming” feeling I immediately was impressed by this outstanding example of his breed. I saw him “performing” during the individual judging by Joao Pocas from Portugal in the ring next to me and I was impressed about his movement and attitude.
Then, in the main ring when judge Ricky Lochs Romans from the Netherlands put him up Best in Group I knew that the other dogs would have a difficult time.
It was a big pleasure to have this “once in a lifetime experience” in the BIS ring in Amsterdam and I was very pleased with the nine dogs (unfortunately the Lakeland didn’t came back). My BIS and Reserve BIS both gave me that wanted warm feeling.
The Labrador was of the best type, sound and well balanced and above all, not exaggerated in body.
The Afghan was powerful in head, body, bone and muscle but still keeping his elegance in standing and when moving. What a body and head! His hind angulations should not be stronger but it fits to the whole “picture”. The powerful movement and his attitude made me warm and very convinced that this was the ONE from the first moment I saw him.
A big thank you that my colleagues that they gave me a really hard job to do. Thank you Winner Team for inviting me to judge the BIS. I’ll never forget this and the winning Afghan!
John Wauben - BIS Judge
For the past few years Lesley & I have, along with John and Heather Dyson, ventured onto the continent to campaign our Danes. A wonderful experience, it allows us to spend a few days abroad, meeting and discussing our breed with fellow owners and competing with a different set of dogs on a regular basis. Of course we are exhibiting under the FCI legislation which I think we are, after three years, just about getting used to the system and when we are required to compete, dependent on our placings! We have focused mainly on Belgium of late and generally enjoyed a successful venture and regularly competing against Danes as far afield as Russia, Finland, France, Germany, Netherlands, Luxemburg etc. Similarly we have exhibited under judges from around World too, for example, Holland, Denmark, Norway, Austria and Russia to name a few. This past weekend was a memorable one as both litter mates, Ch. Selmalda I Am Rock JW and Ch Selmalda Rock Ola Baby JW gained their Belgian Champion titles, of course subject to confirmation. To become a Belgian champion one has to have achieved four CAC's, with a minimum of a twelve month period between the first and last, and at least one CACIB award. At the 49th Euro Dog Show in Kortrijk the Russian, Evgeni Roozenberg judged all colours of Danes and both Rocco and Ola were awarded their respective CAC's and CACIB's with Ola being declared BOB. Having now achieved 4 CAC's/3 CACIB's and 5 CAC's/3 CACIB's respectively and have the required annual gap between first and qualifying CAC they claim their title. This is the third consecutive year at Kortrijk, an extremely popular show with increased entries year on year (over 140 UK exhibits this year, all breeds), that we have won BOB. Not to be outdone Selmalda I'm Yours JW WJW10 won the RCAC to add to his 1 CAC and 1 CACIB tally. We shall continue to travel and who knows we may even venture further afield into other countries to compete.
- Best in Show
- Group 1
- Group 2
- Norfolk Terrier
- Group 3
- Group 4
- Group 5
- Group 6
- Group 7
- Group 8
- Res BIS
- Group 9
- Group 10
- Crufts Show Schedules
- John Wauben
- Rob Sansom
- Liz Cartledge
- Amsterdam All-Winners Show
- Jill Peak
- Stuart Milner