Overall Best in Show Winner
photo by HOTdog
SPLIT IS a Mediterranean city, situated on the Marjan Peninsula at the centre of the Eastern Adriatic coast. Owing to its favourable geographical position, Split has a typical Mediterranean climate, with long, dry, warm summers and short, mild, rainy winters.
The Croatian Kennel Club must be proud of the committee and organisers of the Split Summer Show, this is now the shows fourth year and it becomes more popular each year.
Set in the football stadium of the Croatian football team, it was an ideal setting, close to the beach, with camping for the exhibitors and close to the city.
President Ante Lucin and his team of committee and organisers excelled themselves in the organisation for this show. It is down to the great panel of judges also that make exhibitors travel from all over to come to this show and compete: Adrian Landarte, Barbara Mueller, Rony Doedjins, Yolanda Nagler Magal, Andrew Brace, Ann Ingram, Christian Stefanescu, Frank Sabella, Peter Green, Carla Molinari, Kerstin Nilsson, Damir Skok, Rodi Huebenthal, Olga Sinko Kupryanova, Rita Kadike Skadina, Dubravka Reicher and Zsuzsanna Petik.
Each of the judges judged different breeds, groups and Best in Show over the four nights. Arriving at the airport along with Carla Molinari from Portugal, we were greeted by Ante and several other judges who had also flown in just a little time before ourselves. The hotel in which we stayed during our visit in Omis had its own character, built on a mountain it was a challenge every day to climb the 100 plus stairs to get to the hotel reception, and then climb down the 100 plus stairs to catch the coach to the show. It gave everyone a good laugh each night and somehow seemed the joke of the weekend.
Dogs from all over the world
No time for holidays, on the first day, and every day after that. There were 1,200 dogs judged, making and entry of 4,800. During the four nights two of the days were CAC shows and the other two days were CACIB shows. The idea being that on the final and fourth night, four Best in Show winners from each night compete for Supreme Best in Show. On the first day judging commenced at 8pm each night, the evenings ran smoothly with the wonderful and continuous commentry during the night from Ante Lucin.
All the judges were introduced to the spectators by Ante before they and the stewards moved into their rings for the evening. A great handful of tradestands were present at the show, main sponsors Purina Pro Plan, Cesars Petlosophy from Spain, DogShow Spain magazine, Our Dogs and some other arts and crafts stalls were also present. In fact, you could not see grass for tents, gazebos, grooming areas and more. The exhibitors here really do go to the extreme to prepare for all kinds of weather, and a good job they did. On the first night, the weather was excellent. The group judging commenced on the first night about 1am.
A couple of exhibitors travelled from the UK and Ireland to this show, Isabella Nawrocka and her Alaskan Malamutes and Caroline Maher from Ireland travelled over with her St Bernards. Damir Skok, president of the Croatian Kennel Club awarded Best Baby in Show on Day 1 to Matthew Bostock, Janet Armstrong and Fabrizio Manni’s American Akita, Ruthdales Live By the Sword. Peter Green from the USA, awarded Best Puppy in Show to the Alaskan Malamute, Monikoona Final Fantasy, owned by Wilma Hell-Fritters. Arriving late the night before from Uraguay was well known judge, Adrian Landarte, he awarded Best Veteran in Show to the Hungarian Puli, Black ‘N’ Blues Rock Me Baby, owned by Bris Dahlin Wilseus.
Judging the first of the four nights Best in Show was Carla Molinari from Portugal. Her finalists were the Puli, Cordmaker Hurdy Gurdy; Bullmastiff, Bullstock’s Adonis De Molossos; Skye Terrier, Finnsky Mustang; Standard Smooth Dachshund, Zoldachs Filosofic; Samoyed, Sam-Ways From Josie Teryky Larez; Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen, Rainstone Barossa; Gordon Setter, Ludstar Don Miguel; Flatcoated Retriever, Almanza Sweet Home Alabama; Toy Poodle, Smash JP Moon Walk and Azawakh Azamour Ayman. Each dog was re assessed by Carla, and commentator Ante asked the finalists to leave the ring. Carla whispered the winners to Ante before he announced the results to the watching crowd, who were still in high spirits at 3am in the morning. To add to the occasion it was wonderful to hear music in the background. Best in Show 3, the Puli, Best in Show 2, the Azawakh, and the winner of the first night Best in Show Split, the Toy Poodle. All winners moved over to the podium with the judges and sponsors to celebrate the first finalist for supreme Best in Show.
Pampered up and ready to roll
Day two soon followed and the judging commenced very quickly. Music was played quietly during the whole judging process and the odd comment from Ante kept us all up to speed. Professional Handlers were fantastic in getting dogs ready to enter the rings, the dogs were pampered up and ready to roll. The trade stands seemed steady but in fairness many people were very busy getting their dogs ready to enter the ring. The schedule of all breeds in each ring were very precise and the stewards kept the judges on their toes and made the system run smoothly. Judging of the groups started a little earlier and so it was scheduled for the show to end a little sooner than 3am.
Judging Best Baby in Show in Day 2 was Rodi Huebenthal from Norway. He selected the French Bulldog, Bonita-Frenchie Vom Kunigelberg as his winner, owned by Johanna Fritthum. Best Puppy in Show was to be selected by Carla Molinari, she chose the Australian Shepherd Dog, Doktor Srdcove Eso, owned by Zuzana Hodova. Damir Skok selected the Best Veteran in Show as the Whippet, Keiko Z Uplnku, owned by Veronika Kucerova Chrpova. Selecting the Best in Show winner for Day 2 was none other than the lovely Adrian Landarte from Uraguay.
The selection of dogs he had for Best in Show were, Puli, Cordmaker Hurdy Gurdy, Dogo Argentino, Guri De Alfa Fiera, Miniature Bull Terrier, Dytona Vip, Wirehaired Dachshund, Alpheratz the Boss, Siberian Husky, Icily’s Ultra Violet, Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen, Black Majesty Farandole, Italian Pointing Dog, Napoleone Del Tavuliddaro, American Cocker Spaniel, Moonlight Show Magic Moment, Toy Poodle, Smash JP Moon Walk, Azawakh, Azamour Ayman. Once again all the finalists were asked to leave the ring. Adrian informed Ante of his winners, then Adrian made his way over to the podium, and it was left to Ante to announce the winner. Best in Show 3, Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen, Best in Show 2, Puli, and the Best in Show winner of Day 2 of Split Summer Nights show, the Toy Poodle.
Never before has the same dog won Best in Show twice at Split Summer Show. The evening finished on a high and everyone packed all their belongings away for another evening, now half way through the show, it was great that another two days were to come.
Day 3 - and football too
Day three and once again everyone set up their tents, gazebo’s, grooming areas etc. It was very busy in the town of Split as the local football club celebrated its 100th year, and a friendly game between Split and Barcelona was taking place at the football Stadium and so the traffic and crowds of football fans were surrounding the showground area, ready for a good match.
Sadly the weather was not so great on day three. Around 12.30 the rain started and I must admit that it made my day when I heard the music turn up, and the track ‘The Show Must Go On’ started to play! As Ante explained, we are here, the show is underway and we must not let the rain spoil our evening. The crowd were high in spirits, singing away and the committee were more encouraged to play different songs during the evening to keep us all entertained.
Before the finals took place there was a demonstration from a Croatian dance group performing the ever so popular break dancing moves. At some point during the performance a few moves were ‘attempted’ by some of the judges – but from the comfort of their chairs. Judging the Best Baby in Show on Day 3 was Carla Molinari. Carla selected the French Bulldog Bonita-Frenchie Vom Kunigelberg as her winner, the same winner from the night before. Best Puppy in Show was decided by Adrian Landarte and he selected the American Akita, Ruthdales Live By The Sword, the same dog who won Best Baby in Show on Day one in Split. Kerstin Nielsson from Denmark selected the Best Veteran of the evening in the Rottweiler, Diksy From Brodqar of Orkney.
The judge for Best in Show on Day three of Split was chosen in Rodi Huebenthal. He had the following finalists for selection, German Shepherd, Nero Zlatolicni; Bullmastiff, Bullstocks Adonis De Molossos; Fox Terrier Wire, Diamant VD Schonen Bergen; Wirehaired Dachshund, Alpheratz The Boss; Samoyed, Sam-Ways From Josie Teryky Larez; Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen, Rainstone Barossa; Brittany, Kaiser Brinska; Flatcoated Retriever, Almanza Sweet Home Alabama; Tibetan Terrier, Atisha’s Blanc De Noir, and Borzoi, Chef D’Oeuvre Du Grand Fresnoy. After a close examination a decision was made and once again Ante was the bearer of good news to the spectators, exhibitors judges as to whom the winners were. Best in Show 3, Borzoi, Best in Show 2, Tibetan Terrier and the winner is……Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen.
Rain could not dampen proceedings
At the hotel on day four whilst we were eating before the show, the rain poured down, thunder and lightning also hit. Calling the showground which was a good 30 minutes away we were told that the weather was ok and that the show would still be going ahead. Once again everyone set up their tents, gazebos and stands. Judging was due to commence at 8pm and just a little time before this, we were told by Ante that we must cover up and go and shelter as a storm was coming our way.
The judging of the dog show had to be delayed. In a chaotic move we all ran to shelter wherever we could, tents and gazebos were full with people, dogs and crates – it was crazy. The lights were switched off on the showground to prevent any shocks and problems occuring. For five minutes it rained and the showground was silent. Then it got interesting. The rain continued but from nowhere the music was turned up! From where I was standing I could hear cheering, laughing, whistling and some sort of commotion going on. I wondered what it was.
Then I realised. The rain was slowly disappearing, I walked out from the tent that I was sheltering in and I walked to the Best in Show ring. I could not believe it…. People were dancing in the rain to ‘It’s Raining Men’ and ‘We Are The Champions’ and ‘The Show Must Go On’. Judges were in the ring, dancing, handlers, exhibitors, spectators – everyone! As we all enjoyed the dancing in the Best in Show ring, pints of lager were being handed out to those who danced and joined in.
Cameras were flashing everywhere, people were laughing and smiling, and having such a great time. Some of the judges shoes were ruined in the mud because of the rain and so Dennis from DEYA photography and some of the officials ran to the local shop and bought a load of plastic crocs for the judges to wear. Not letting the rain dampen their spirits, everyone wished to carry on dancing, but sadly the show really must go on at this point.
As Ante pointed out about the rain ‘What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger’ and witnessing the dancing, and fun times just had in the Best in Show ring, he was right. The judging commenced and for a little while everyone had to work in darkness as the electrics could not yet be used. The judges worked quickly to make up for the lost time. Sadly the tradestands could not continue as the downpours continued during the night with some very heavy spells of rain, the other times, just continuous light rain.
Best baby in show
The finals commenced around 12.30am. Winning a second time the Best Baby in Show was the French Bulldog, Bonita Frenchie Vom Kunigelberg, selected by Kerstin Nilsson. Andela Ban from Hungary selected the last Best Veteran in Show in the Whippet, Keiko Z Uplnku. Selecting the Best in Show winner for Day 4 was Peter Green. Peter had the following dogs: Old English Sheepdog, Bottom Shaker My Secret; Bullmastiff, Bullstock’s Adonis De Mollossos; Wire Fox Terrier, Diamant VD Schonen Bergen; Wirehaired Dachshund Alpheratz The Boss; Chow Chow, Valentino De Amurcan; Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen, Black Majesty Farandolem; Gordon Setter, Ludstar Don Miguel; Romagna Water Dog, Cupido; Toy Poodle, Smash JP Moon Walk, and the Borzoi, Chef D’Oeuvre Du Grand Fresnoy. Peter judged and moved each dog and his decision was made. The dogs left the ring and Peter informed Ante of the winners.
Ante announced in reverse order the winners of the nights Best in Show, in third place…..Wire Fox Terrier, in second place…..Toy Poodle……and the winner of the Split Four Nights Summer Show, Day Four is….. the Chow! People cheered, screamed and celebrated… and from the judges table, Frank Sabella said the following about the Chow Chow. “I have never seen a Chow dog as correct as the Chow from Spain that has won tonight! If I had still been a handler I would not have gone home without him. He is perfection in every way”. Frank Sabella then had the task of selecting the Supreme Junior Handler. The handlers won Best Junior each of the nights.
In the end, Frank chose Granai Giulia with a Pug as his final winner. She handled beautifully in the ring and was at one with the dog. Christian Stefanescu was to select the Supreme Baby and Puppy Best in Show from all the nights winners. He selected the American Akita, Ruthdales Live By the Sword as the overall winner. A great win for the breeders, Matthew and Janet back home in the UK. Andrew Brace finished off a busy four nights judging to decide the winner of the Supreme Junior Best in Show. From the four winners he eventually chose the Siberian Husky, Icily’s Ultra Violet from Spain as his winner.
Judge Frank Sabella (USA) writes:
This year at Split was the second time that I have judged for the show and I must say that Ante is a real wizard at putting judges together.
This year we were at a super hotel where the owners and their family members could not have been nicer. They pushed themselves in every way to make our stay one to remember.
Now to the dogs. I have judged the Chow National in the us four times now but I have never seen a Chow dog as correct as the one from Spain. If I had still been a handler I’m sure I would not have gone home without him! He is perfection in every way.
The Toy Poodle was a joy to behold and along with his owner and breeder Toshi he looked a million dollars. The show in general was magnificent and if I was invited again I would jump at the chance to go back.
Judge Ann Ingram (Ire) writes :
When I received my list of breeds I wondered if I had upset the organisers, as part of my list included some the breeds which are banned here, Japanese Tosas, Central Asian Shepherds and Caucasians to name but a few! As it happened they were all very well behaved and it was actually a Shar Pei which tried to bite me!
It was definitely a fun show and I was somewhat amused when, through my interpreter, I told an exhibitor of a champion dog that it was lame, his reply was ‘he was not lame last night’, to which I could only reply, ‘but I am judging him tonight’!
The show had attracted some of the top European Handlers who had brought a team of quality dogs with them so, although the overall quality was mixed, there was never a shortage of good dogs to choose from in the Group competitions.
There was a distinct carnival atmosphere round the group ring with everyone cheering on their personal favourites!
I judged all the Dachshunds on the first night and I was very impressed with the Standard Smooth Dachshund who went on to win Group 4 under Mrs Sinko. My winner of Group 8 was a very typey young Gordon Setter from Italy, who was very sound with a lovely head. My Group 6 winner was a very smart Basset Vendeen who had such a lovely outline on the move, interestingly this handler had two Vendeens which won the Groups.
I also had a wonderful Group 3 which really made me think about my top four dogs, eventually giving it to a Wire Fox Terrier, with the most beautiful head who never stopped showing, with the Skye from Finland second. The Wire Fox repeated his success the next night.