With the opening of the iron curtain and the relaxation of many travel restrictions in Eastern Europe, not only has there been an influx of migrant workers into Western Europe and the UK from places like Poland, Romania and the former Soviet states but in more recent years the increase in dog exhibitors from such areas has become very noticeable.
I mention this as a subject as the OUR DOGS team has had great experience in meeting Russian exhibitors at World and European shows from Dortmund to Denmark, from Slovenia to Stockholm and from Crufts to Croatia.
OUR DOGS in its capacity as the International Media Partner for many top shows around Europe and beyond now has many friends from the old Eastern Europe and the new exhibitors from Russia are serious players.
These exhibitors are welcomed with open arms now by many European show organisers as the Russian entry can make the difference and turn a poor entry into a good one; such a thing happened at the European show in Bucharest, Romania last October, where a late influx of 1800 Russian exhibitors turned the show from a potential failure into a great success. Many of the Russians travel on buses, sometimes journeying long distances, sleeping en route on the bus and being away for a week or more. That’s dedication for you.
In these days of globalisation and cross border social networking, people are of course generally more aware of what is going on in other countries… the dog game is no exception. The great Crufts show, (still the greatest dog show on earth on an annual basis) to be held at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham UK in March 2013 has just received a record entry of over 2000 dogs from beyond the shores of Britain, making up 10% of the overall total of 20,600; a far cry from the 5 that attended Crufts in the mid nineties when quarantine was first relaxed. Yes, there are entries from all over the globe but 160 dogs entered at Crufts are from Russia and we are not just talking Borzois; in recent years the American Cocker Spaniel Best of Breed has gone to Russia at Crufts (twice I believe) and for some unknown reason, Corgis appear to be a popular breed for showing and for taking top honours. A Russian owned Scottie won Reserve BIS just a couple of years ago at Crufts.
So as a natural progression and to find out more about the new Russian revolution, at the end of January 2013 I took my first tentative steps, Russian Visa in hand, to my first dog show actually in Moscow where I attended a special show called Sabaneev named after Leonid Pavlovich Sabaneyev (1844-1898) a Russian zoologist who made extensive contributions to the study of hunting in Russia. The professor was a founder member of the Hunting Dogs Club in Moscow and also the Russian Hunting Dogs Association, now one of the largest members of the Russian Kennel Federation. It is the Hunting Club that organises the Sabaneev show.
That’s the start and end of the history lesson, but it’s important to know the depth of the dog game from a country that many would have scant knowledge of its canine heritage and the fact that this heritage was very much kept alive during the Soviet era. The good professor in his lifetime exchanged letters with Charles Darwin and was a close friend of the Emperor Alexander of Russia…certainly a higher level of networking than goes on nowadays!
Snow business like show business
Having just attended Manchester Show in the UK in snow and ice the weekend before, I think I was reasonably prepared for a trip to Moscow and temperatures of minus 15 degrees, possibly the coldest place I have been for a dog show anywhere!
However, landing at one of Moscow’s two main airports, you do get the immediate impression that these guys get a lot of snow, but seem to know how to handle it. It certainly didn’t slow down the maniacal taxi drivers who, despite driving on what appeared to be icy and dangerous roads, warmed to the task in a way that would not disgrace top Formula 1 drivers! Schumacher beware!
The mounds of snow shovelled to one side of the roads here put to shame the UK levels and the panic we had over the weekend of Manchester with just a few inches of snow.
However, getting to the hotel, or anywhere in Moscow for that matter, seemed to be quite a task with 3 (or was it 4?) inner ring roads, 24 hour traffic and taxi drivers that seemed to have mastered the art of driving one handed whilst sending texts or Facebook messages with the other! Not for the faint hearted…you have been warned.
Top judges converge
A great panel of top international judges had been gathered by the organisers, headed up by Andrey Klishas (President of the Russian Hunting Federation) together with the support of Nicolas Pineiro who is also a well known handler in Europe and beyond, plus Katya and the hard working team many of whom spoke good English, so language was not too much of a barrier at the show.
UK judges included Stuart Mallard, Rod Oldham together with Joanne Blackburn-Bennett who had a great entry of Dachshunds to go over just near the OUR DOGS stand.
The event featured 36 special club shows as well as the National All breed Show with the BIS judge Edd Bivin from the USA in the hot seat, well supported by other judges who flew in from all over the world; from Germany Horst Kliebenstein and Hassi Assenmacher, Dinky Santos from the Philippines, Rafael de Santiago and Roberto Velez Pico from Puerto Rico, Carmen Gill Polo and Alfonso Thovar from Spain, Canada, France, Scandinavia and all…a veritable who’s who in international dog show terms and an indication of how serious Andrey Klishas is about his show. A regular also now is the famous Frank Sabella from the States…always good value both in canine judging terms and entertainment value…one of today’s great characters in the dog game. (See interview in OUR DOGS ANNUAL 2013)
There to record it all for posterity was the UK’s favourite American photographer Lisa Croft Elliot with fur wrapped partner Carrie Russell Smith.
Timing was interesting as we left the hotel at about 10.30am in full convoy to then meet bumper to bumper traffic getting into the show area itself…don’t ask me what the venue was called, but it was encased in snow and we all marvelled at the parking skills of the locals who all seemed to find somewhere to leave their vehicles and produce pedigree dogs from within the car despite the deep white stuff.
After a short briefing and coffee we were all pleasantly surprised as to how warm the arena was and that once inside, it was like any other dog show anywhere in the world! Judging started just after 12 and in hindsight now we understand why BIS was judged just after 10 pm later that night…not that it seemed to worry the exhibitors who made up an entry of about 3000 once you included all the specialties. The day progressed as any dog show does and the groups and special classes progressed in the attractive main ring and included Best Hunting Dog in Show. There was an abundance of prizes and rosettes for all the winners as the judging panel efficiently worked through the groups and special classes.
The dog that ultimately took the eye of American judge Edd Bivin as darkness encased the warm but snowbound show centre was a Pointer Multi Ch Ridanflight Revelation To Kanix or plain Rudi to his friends.
This dog was in fact British bred as the Kanix name will tell you, co owned by a Belgian Thomas Wastiaux (also the handler), a Brit and a Russian and lives in Slovakia…told you this was cosmopolitan nowadays!
He has won many groups and lots of Bests in Show in many countries and it was a great thrill for one of the UK team behind the dog, Joanne Blackburn-Bennett, to be there judging Dachshunds and then to see him go BIS at Moscow. (Joanne gave full details of the dog in an issue of OUR DOGS straight after the show). Edd was very impressed with the handling skills of Thomas who has come up through the ranks of junior handling a number of years ago. A well known face on the dog scene in Europe both through showing and now running trade stands around the circuit.
At the post show dinner (which started round about midnight!) both Edd and co-judge from the States Mr Frank Sabella, spoke warmly of their experiences at the show and thanked their host Mr Andrey Klishas, the President, who also judged a number of classes on the day.
Stuart Mallard also stood up to thank our hosts for the warm way we had been received and treated; I was not the only one to be a ‘first timer’ in Moscow so the bond between the group was excellent and made for a friendly and fun occasion.
As the vodka flowed, the wise ones slipped away for an ‘early’ night ready for the cold but enjoyable tour around Red Square and the Kremlin on the following day.
Edd and Frank conducted a Seminar at the hotel base with Horst Kliebenstein and held an appreciative audience captive, although the translation into Russian slowed the flow and the banter! Other judges and guests missed the Seminar for a wonderful trip to the iconic Bolshoi Ballet in the City Centre. When in Moscow…..
Clearly there is a great desire in Russia to achieve within the world of dogs and that is already happening with many top awards going their way including a Res BIS for a Russian Scottie at Crufts and at the World Dog Show in Austria in 2012 where ‘Tosha’ the famous Corgi took the Reserve spot; this dog has also won well in Dortmund at the Sieger shows where many Russian exhibitors are now showing. Andrey Klishas himself exhibited at the European Show in Romania in October where one of his older Greater Swiss Dogs took the Best Veteran in Show award.
As a country, Russia will soon be hosting the winter Olympics in 2014 and the authorities are pumping nearly 11 billion dollars into the organisation. Wouldn’t we like that level of sponsorship for our dog shows in the UK… or even for the World Dog Show 2016 which is going to take place in… Moscow!
Better get those visas ready and check out your rubles!
Best in Show Judge
Edd Bivin (USA) writes:
This was my first judging assignment in Russia and I was most pleased with all aspects of the appointment. I found the dogs to be of quality, the exhibitors to be accepting of my opinion and the staging of the dog show to be very efficient. I often judge the success of an appointment by quality and by a question that I ask myself “would I go back?” The answer is yes. As you know we did a small seminar on Sunday afternoon where I found the exhibitors and participants very anxious to hear our opinion on their dogs and about American dogs and AKC rules and practices. It was great.
Andrey Klishas, President of the Russian Hunting Dog Federation:
At Sabaneev Memorial 2013, we received a very well balanced and comfortable entry of over 1600 dogs for the all breed show and over 1000 for the specialty shows, and our terrific judges’ panel included 30 world-known names representing 18 countries, such as Brazil, Canada, Croatia, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Russia, Serbia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, USA. Of course it would be impossible to give a breed specialist to each dog at the all breed event, but as always, we did our best not only to invite the first ranked judges, but to make the proper schedule, so that the whole process could be of maximal interest for the both sides – for the exhibitors and for the judges as well.
The highest level of expertise in combination with a warm and friendly atmosphere has become a firm tradition of the shows organised by the Hunting Dog Federation and I think that the exhibitors appreciated our efforts. Many of them have been entering Sabaneev Memorial year in year out, already not for the titles, but for the possibility to enter into the world of professional cynological communication, and this means a lot to us. I’d like to say thank you to all the old friends for their trust, and to all the newcomers for their interest.
Being sure that profound discussions with true specialists are the most valuable “profit” which we can get ourselves through organizing shows, so this year we decided to share this pleasure with our dog people, and have suggested them also the seminar on methodology of judging within the FCI and AKC systems. The seminar was led by Horst Kliebenstein (Germany) and Frank Sabella (USA), with the participation of Rafael De Santiago (Puerto Rico), Edd Bivin (USA), Hassi Assenmacher (Germany) and Claudio De Giuliani (Italy), and we’re very grateful to them for their devotion to the ideas of dialogue and education. No doubt that the educational component of our events will be developed in the future.
And last, but not least, I’d like to mention that it was the first time ever that “Our Dogs” was covering the show in Russia as the official media partner of the organising club.
We thank Mr Vince Hogan for his huge enthusiasm and hope this partnership will become another good tradition of Sabaneev Memorial.
A SHOW WITH QUALITY DOGS IN MOSCOW
On January 26, 2013 was another good experience for me as a judge because that was the date I judged more than 100 dogs in Sabaneev show in Moscow. Below I will tell you about the show in detail, but, first of all, I want to give you some brief information on me and my kennel club.
My name is Assist. Prof. Dr. Ümit Özkanal and I am the president of Turkish Kennel Club or in Turkish “Köpek Irklar¦ ve Kinoloji Federasyonu” (KIF) that you can visit at www.kif.org.tr. I am an all rounder for CAC shows and have the right to judge at CACIB shows for some groups, totally 20 different breeds. So far, I have been to more than 10 countries to judge and last one was Moscow show last January.
As to KIF, KIF is new in the FCI world and it was founded in 2006 and has been a contract partner of the FCI since 2010. KIF has been working for the promotion of both local and international breeds. In our studbook, we have more than 6,000 dogs and the number is increasing day by day. KIF organises 10 CAC and 4 CACIB shows every year.
The show in Moscow, January 26, 2013 was not my first time in Moscow as last summer I was invited two shows there. However, the last show was very important for me as I was there with a lot of well known judges from all over the world. Some of the breeds that I judged were German Shepherd Dog, Jack Russell Terrier, Fox Terriers smooth and wire haired, German Hunting Terrier and some Russian breeds not recognised by the FCI yet.
I must say that, like the previous shows, this Sabaneev show was organized perfectly; from rings to ring stewards, from accommodation to gala dinner, in brief everything was well done and nobody could find any mistakes in any of them. The quality of dogs in Russia cannot be discussed in any way; the dogs, together with their handlers showed themselves extraordinarily. The show started on time and finished as scheduled. I can say that I had a great time judging there with many reputable judges…
Assist. Prof. Dr. Ümit Özkanal - President Turkish Kennel Club
- Best in Show
- Group 1
- OUR DOGS Annual
- Group 2
- Group 3
- Group 4
- Group 5
- Group 6
- Group 7
- The panel of judges
- Group 8
- Group 9
- Group 10
- Judge for Bedlington Terrierss
- From Manchester to Moscow
- Rodney Oldham
- Stuart Mallard
- Nicolas Pineiro
- Raphael De Santiago
- Olga Klimova
- Kremlin and Red Square
- The impressive backdrop
- Andrey Klishas