The Brussels Dog Show has changed date a few times, from May to December, back to May and back to December. And next year year it’s on the move again, it’s moving to the autumn. Last year there were two shows, the Champion of Champions and the regular show in December.
Unfortunately the last two years, winter has struck hard at the time of the show, but it did not affect the number of entries at all. New this year was that there were no forms distributed. A simple leaflet, roll-up panels and weblinks took over, and it worked. People have accepted the new media and use it. It is convenient of course. Once registered it is very simple to fill out an online subscription form and do the payment at the same time. Less mistakes, less administration to do, less people involved to compose the catalogue, and very easy to fill out the results afterwards.
Due to renovation works in the right hall, the left hall is rented now and the layout of the showground was completely new. The main ring was set up as usual in the furthermost corner, forcing the public to pass the rings and the commercial stands and that is most appreciated of course. Notwithstanding the other happenings at the same time on the Heizel and around the Atomium, there was pretty much public interest. A large part of the parking area next to the hall was unavailable due to the works on the hall and it was far-going to find a parking place.
The loss of entries from last year was compensated this year with a growth in entries from 3,574 to 3,875. Brussels is the biggest show in Belgium when it comes to entries for the show, but Kortrijk is bigger when it comes to the total number of all the dogs, including those participating in the many competitions. Brussels has a nice main ring and there are many demonstrations during the day, but is not the kind of festival that Kortrijk is. Brussels is not a show of one club, but it is the national show and is the result of the collaboration of all the Belgian clubs. That is not easy as one needs to count on the help of many clubs. Other clubs a hierarchy and tasks can be delegated. There is usually a task list and teams that are used to work together. For Brussels the volunteers come from different clubs and every year the composition of the teams change. To co-ordinate all this is certainly not easy, but last year there was a serious improvement resulting in a splendid reputation far across the borders of the country. No less than 22 nationalities were present to give Brussels its international reputation. Half of the participants were from Belgium, 838 from France, 601 from the Netherlands and 211 from Germany. But more and more the United Kingdom counts as a full neighboring country. 107 British dogs crossed to Channel to compete here and many returned with a title, several with a BOB and some even with a Group placement.
The Brussels Dog Show is also a Crufts Qualifying Show. More and more Russians are also moving further westwards to compete, this year 68. Splendid opportunities for them as Russia has a lot of quality dogs. The proof is there, the BIS winner came from Russia.
The composition of the panel of judges was absolutely splendid. Thirty-four invitations were sent out to 15 different countries. Ten judges were Belgians and that is a perfect balance for a show of this calibre. Many judges had big entries and that can only be achieved if they have a strong reputation in certain breeds or in general. The value of a good judge depends on the fair chances one expects to get. If a judge is predictable his fame will not last long and will flourish in certain circles only. Building up a good reputation takes many years, ruining a reputation can be a matter of one show, one weakness. There was more than one star judge on this show. Mr Roosenboom from Belgian was one of them. 104 Border Collies on Saturday and 99 Bulldogs gave him a very busy weekend. Mr Van Beveren, also a Belgian judge, officiated on Saturday only, and Chihuahuas only, but competition was pretty strong amongst the 99 specimens. Mr Varlet from France, specialist in Belgian Shepherds, had a good result too with 77 dogs in his ring. Top judge of the show as Mr Bas Bosch from Holland. He was the best scoring judge of the show. On Saturday no less than 126 French Bulldogs turned up for him and on Sunday he had 131 including 54 Bordeaux Dogs. Mr Augustin Ionesco from Romania had the best day score. That was on Sunday when he finished with 136 entries, probably thanks to the 66 Newfoundlands, his weekend result was 208 dogs. Irish judges are always appreciated here. Mr Thomas Hehir judged on Sunday only, but that was good for 111 entries. His compatriot, Mr Cox was booked for both days, 67 on Saturday and 104 on Sunday, all Staffordshire Bull Terriers, which is a splendid result. Italian judge Nataletti Valeno was filling in on Sunday when he had only 18 dogs, but Saturday was his day when he judged breeds from Group 5 (Spitz Group), good for a total of 132 dogs. Judge Szanka from Hungary managed to gather 72 Great Danes, a good number nowadays, and I have the impression that this breed is gaining popularity again. Large dogs are gaining popularity in general, look at the Newfoundlands, the Bernese Mountain Dogs and the Leonbergers. The crisis doesn’t seem to affect their popularity. Mrs Schwab took all the Dachshunds for her account. She had 77, a good number for Belgian Standards. Mr Maté Duran did the Poodles only, 73 all varieties included. Mr Scholes and Mrs Scholes from the United Kingdom were officiating on Sunday only, and proved to be excellent choices, 74 Labradors, 36 Flatcoateds and 79 Golden Retrievers. Mr Miroslav Zidar did the Pinschers and Schnauzer varieties on Sunday, 99 specimens. On Saturday he had a total number of 95 dogs. This number included no less than 73 Chinese Cresteds, a remarkable number. He was also granted the honour to judge Best In Show. He had to place all Group winners. His third place went to a Russian dog, a Tchiorny Terrier or Black Russian Terrier. Irina Klimova was the proud owner. She entered Moskovorechie Yason, her 8 year old male, in Champion Class under judge Rainer Jacobs from Germany. He had 19 concurrents in his ring but won the breed and later also the Group under Mr P. Harsanyi from Finland. He is still a very impressive dog and one rarely sees an 8 year old dog on a show. Second place went to a Clumber Spaniel from Jan and Danielle Counotte - De Vree from Belgium. Bears Bay Full Speed To Cape Lewisporte had a spectacular day. He won BOB while entered in Junior Class under Judge De Cuyper Jos from Belgium. He also won the Group under the very same judge and won Best Junior of Sunday under Mr Cristian Stefanescu. And as if this was not enough he finished Runner-up to BIS. What a result at only 13 months old! For the Best In Show we return back to Russia. The winner of the Campanion Group, Pekingese Billi Boy Iz Sanraiz Dragon, won the big Ribbon. The Breed winning Champion male was entered to be judged by Mrs M. Van Brempt from Belgium, and defeated 15 competitors. Here too, the same judge was judging the Group in the main ring. Billi Boy is little more than 2 years old and owned by Natalia Romanyuk. I assure you that next year the number of Russian competitors will double up. But remember, the next show will not be in December but on 21 and 22 of September, again Crufts Qualifier and… a double CAC.