FCI European Dog Show 2023
It was far from clear what could be expected from the 2023 edition of the FCI European Dog Show. The website gave little information about it. But Herning, although a relatively small town in the left v-arm of Denmark, had a very nice expo area. I knew this because it was the very same spot where, in 2011, the World Dog Show was held.
The nearest airport was Billund and that was still almost a 60km drive (or between 35 to 45 minutes) by car. Depending on how you came, it was perhaps not the easiest place to have a dog show of this size, but fortunately, there are affordable hotels and many B&Bs of high standards and the fairground offered good opportunities for camping. It would be clear that the show was focused on the Scandinavian exhibitors, but traveling by car was not too bad for those coming from the southern and eastern countries.
Two shows were held at the same time, alternating the Groups to allow the exhibitors to enter for the CACIB show and the European Show. Besides that, the breed clubs organized their club shows in the neighborhood and made for another possible win there too. This gave the clubs an opportunity to invite a judge who is already in the country for one of the shows or those who attended the European section meeting. For the Danish Championship, 6,825 dogs were entered, and for the European Dog Show, 10,952, which makes in total 17,777 entries and this does not include the entries for the club shows.
Norway had 1,485/1,221 dogs at the show, Sweden 1,634/1,074, Denmark 2,471/1,598, and Finland 822/701. Germany, the neighboring country in the south, had 513/272 entries. Compared to Italy which had 526 entries for the European Show, it could have been better, but it seems Italy is a really a dog-crazy country. Also interesting is the number of entries from Ukraine, 165! Of course, a lot of Ukrainian people now live abroad, spread all over Europe, so I suppose they didn’t all come from Ukraine itself.
What I liked very much was that the Danish Kennel Club had made hoodies and t-Shirts with a supporting message on them, for sale at a very fair price, totally in favor of the Ukrainian Kennel Club which was also offered a very large stand with lots of photos of the evacuation of people with their dogs and other pets out of the war zones. The President of the Ukrainian Kennel Club was also present along with a few other members of the staff. It is clear that they really hope to be back in business soon, and we hope it for them too!
Six halls were in use to hold the 55 rings. Another special hall was reserved for the FCI World Championship Dog Dancing. The eighth hall was the main hall, holding only the very huge main ring. Half of this hall held the main sponsors’ stands, the prejudging ring, the info stands, and most of the 70 trade stands. Other trade stands were situated in two other halls, and I suppose they must have been cheaper. This also helped to spread the stands with similar products for sale over the area and not put them all together. I spoke to some people and they did not complain, notwithstanding not being in the main hall where there was, in fact, little to do as long as the judging in the rings was going on.
In 2011, all the stands were centralized in one hall, and many stand holders complained as the exhibitors did not want to leave their stuff behind to go shopping in another hall. As the temperature outside was okay and it was sunny, it was nice walking the road between the halls and having something to eat or drink. It was clean overall, and inside the halls it looked okay with enough place to move around or sit close to the rings.
However, the very best set-up was in Helsinki where yellow lines all over the halls indicated walking areas, grooming areas, and places where you could sit with your dogs. This was followed very strictly and it was easy to even run from one area to another without maneuvering around seats or bumping up to people. In fact, this should be everywhere as it gives a very safe feeling in case something might happen.
I know that the printing of catalogs is far from environmentally friendly, but trying to find your way on your phone after downloading your PDF catalog is not yet standardized and/or user-friendly. From 7am every morning, it was possible to download the daily catalog. (In fact, judges can easily do the same though it is not allowed.) It is important that you have a good Internet connection, a fully charged phone or tablet, enough free space on the disk, and luck to get it fast enough to schedule your day, especially if you are a handler with several dogs to show in different halls. There should always be a simple dropdown list where you can look for a breed and immediately get a ring number and time schedule, even without being forced to download it to your device.
Without a device at a show, you are completely lost unless someone can help you out in case yours is broken, stolen, or has an empty battery and no power source. I managed this time, but I looked up most at home and I found out that there was a lot to be discovered on the website, but… everything was in a PDF download.
If the website would be built as a database, it would be easily possible to just look at what you need in a search bar in the header or main page. And a show program like at Crufts, with info for the public, a plan of the area, a time schedule, an overview of all the trade stands with contact info, and lots of info about the Danish Breeds and Kennel Club, how a show works, what sports are possible, contact info and general information—would this be such a problem to freely distribute?
The remaining numbers can be distributed on other future shows so that they are not wasted. No need to print 10,000 or more names in numerous catalogs, but something visitors can take home and consult the interesting information. This would fulfill the original purpose of the National Kennel Clubs; to inform the people and to contribute to the preservation and health of the dog breeds.
In general, everything here was okay but somewhat sober. This also applied to the main ring. Not so long ago there was always an opening ceremony, often with a folkloristic touch or a light show with music. The same for the official closing of the show right before the finals, but there was nothing of this. The handing over of the flag was just waiting till it came down and was folded up and handed over, followed by a short speech and it was over. And all this while in one of the halls was the World Championship of Dog Dancing?
Would it be such a problem to show the winning act as an entertaining intermezzo? Time? Was that the reason maybe? But why should there be finals of the Danish Championship Show and finals of the European Show every day in the main ring, including Minor Puppies and Puppies? Of course, they are cute to see, but what is the added value to see puppies of a few months appear in the main ring? There are hardly any spectators compared to a few decades ago. Of course, I understand that every Minor Puppy and Puppy entered for the show is extra income, but do they need to be in the main ring… every day… for each show?
Those poor animals should rest and sleep, play, eat, and grow, not wait till the evening to go around in the main ring. And let’s not forget the daily Junior Handling competitions. I just don’t get this… those kids are so perfect that I wonder how a judge can pick out a winner! But all things considered, the timing was as good as perfect and every day the show ended within a reasonable time.
The main ring was the largest I have ever seen, but unfortunately, the lighting was far from okay, especially in the ring itself. From every corner there was a follow-spotlight that was way too strong, while the ring itself was underexposed. It was extremely difficult to take photos and the dogs were often not correctly in the spots so that part of them was black and the other part overexposed.
Sometimes this resulted in a creative effect, but that is not what we came for. At Crufts, they know that once all the dogs are in the ring, the overall lights are lit up so that we can all see the dogs in full color with every detail clearly visible. The podium was good, although again with four places (three is standard in all kinds of competitions) and every place lit up with a different slight color cast. Why this looked like a nice idea I don’t know.
Another strange thing was that a very nice photo of the two speakers on some coastline in Denmark was shown until the dogs were placed. Then, this nice photo was pulled up on ropes to show a background with the sponsor logos. The color of the floor in the main ring was good, with lines in another color for the dogs to be placed on or to walk. That always helps for consistency in the judging. Contrary to the lights, the sound and music were okay.
This edition of the European Dog Show was one without any of the highlights that help you to remember it in future years, not in a negative and not in a positive way either.
FCI European Dog Show 2023 Results
Best in Show
Judge: Hanne Laine Jensen
- BIS 1 – Dandie Dinmont Terrier
- BIS 2 – Pembroke Welsh Corgi
- BIS 3 – Wirehaired Dachshund
- BIS 4 – Samoyed
Judge: Jørgen Hindse
Pembroke Welsh Corgi
Julie Wilberg Brandvik Norge
Judge: Arne Foss
Aidante Georgia On My Mind
Ante Lucin Kroatien
Judge: Laurent Pichard
Kiti’s Band Road Runner Superbird
Dandie Dinmont Terrier
Adam Ostrowski Polen
Judge: Cindy Pettersson
Lux Del Palatino Chacco Blue
Miniature Wirehaired Dachshund
Annaluce Saletti Italien
Judge: Rony Doedijns
Cabaka’s Raw Power
Gitte Morell, Adeline Kurniadi
Judge: Christian Jouanchicot
Forget-Me-Not v. Tum-Tums Vriendjes
Grand Basset Griffon Vendéen
Gwen Huikeshoven Holland
Judge: Wenche Eikeseth
Where The Heart is’ Balling
Old Danish Pointer
Stine Julø, Lau Nielsen, Kirke Eskilstrup
Judge: Michael Leonard
Janelle May Belgien
Judge: George Kostopoulos
Huffish Rewrite The Stars With Atastar
Philip Langdon Skotland
Judge: Annette Bystrup
Antonius Vertragus Rambouillet
Anki Lahtinen Finland
FCI European Dog Show 2023 Photos
By Karl Donvil