On friday 17th, in Budapest, I had the honor to judge at the World Winner Show, 2013.
The FCI World Dog Show is the greatest and most prestigious show and it was my third time, for Leonbergers.
The show ring, at the beginning, was not the best for big dogs but soon we had the chance to double it, taking the one of my hungarian collegue that judged the junior females, the veterans and the minor classes.
The average quality was not what you can espect from a WDS. I had some truly excellent Leonberger but many were not at the right level. The difference between dogs is too wide and homogeneity still far away: I guess the breed is not in its best moment but I do not want to go into this discussion now, just to write a comment on my ring, especially the winners.
Many have told me that I was too strict. I do not think. I simply followed the instructions of my knowledge and my consciousness beyond those specifications given by the Hungarian Kennel Club that asked us to assign the qualification of excellent and world titles only to truly deserving dogs, distinct and without faults, being the “very good” a qualification that brings with it a great honor.
It has to be said that when there are type, construction or gait (walking) faults, a judge should, in all responsibility, assign qualifications which take this into account in full.
It ‘s so that I found myself in front of dogs with teeth problems, with eyes too bright, with insufficient bone structure. At least one had severe anatomical defects. Another one serious problems of shyness, making him unapproachable. Many showed faults in movement, especially at the rear.
I would now like to draw a brief review of the best subjects that I could see, starting from the two young winners.
The male ( Step By Step Iz Galkina Gnezda) I really liked: size, masculinity, presence. A dog with a lot of good quality and in kind, even if a bit “pale” but with nice mucosals, rich in pigment. The only problem with this young champion, who has rightly received the highest title, is that he still has some faults related to growth: a back that needs to be more solid and taut, stronger pasterns. A dog’s still impressive that has not had the chance to be nominated absolute best junior just because in the final laps of the ring limped slightly, or rather, has strangely misused the right hind limb of him pulling every two or three steps. In those few seconds everything is decided and the movement should be smooth and safe.
The female(La dolce Luna’s Dream Pretty for Me), designated by my Hungarian colleague, is impressive for the size and power: a framework extraordinary! And ‘this trait that I wanted to reward. However, not everything in this bitch was perfect: too poor the angle of the rear (but made up for it in motion) and a certain hardness in her eyes due to a non perfect mask.
The best dogs were in the open and champion classes. A few were just great! For type, substance and movement. I was a bit sad in giving three very good ratings in the Champion Class males but these dogs, that day, were not comparable to the excellent ones: not for type, nor – especially – for movement. Moreover, this class is a very difficult, competitive, really challenging in a world championship!
Let’s start the adults from veterans. I only saw the two winners, though.
The veteran bicth (Neverending Story v. Sissy-haus) was a still very well preserved “lady”; a bit too heavy, though. The top line was not strong enough and on the whole medium boned for her body size. The male (Berljon Opus Magnum) is a not very tall but still impressive male. Proud and well angulated, with a great type, long elegant neck and very nice, fluent, motion. He was far superior to the female.
In the females intermediate, open and champion classes the average quality was lower than in the males.
In intermediate only one bitch got the “excellent”.
In the open class two only had the “excellent”. The winner of the open class (Olivia Iz Poselka Sokol) is a very attractive bitch for her great type, strong and powerful body, great bone and rib cage. She is well angulated and showed a long fluent movement, very well used to properly cover ground. Her coat and color were lovely but one of her greatest points was the strong feminine and typical head (great muzzle!) with a nice mask, dark expressive eyes. The weak point is her top line that should be more solid. This bitch deserved her World Winner Title after the confrontation with the winner of the Champion Class (Fjalar vom Loewengarten). This bitch is lovely, very feminine and typical with a super motion even if a bit narrow at hocks. She has great qualities but was not in the best show conditions.
In the open class males only the top three have obtained the qualification “excellent”. Good size, very good type, very masculine. The winner of the class is a solid dog of good proportions and with a beautiful head. Expressive and strong he was the best in the movement.
The champion class stood out for at least the top two finishers. Two top dogs, both for magnificent structure, proportions and masculinity.
I was in doubt until the last because, despite their differences, these two dogs are the same for a number of exceptional qualities. It ‘was then the movement and energy of the unattainable first place to make a difference.
The second placed, WW reserve (Vallonbygdens Crazy in Beer) is an outstanding male: masculine, great size, bones and body. Well angulated both in front and rears. Lovely for his expression and head, well pigmented with a perfetc coat for color, lenght, structure. He is just a bit too heavy, though and still slightly low on the legs. An excellent mover but in the last laps showed a bit up his weight, loosing his orginal motion energy.
The World Winner and best of breed (Skjaergaardens Valentine Rua Soleil) is an outstanding male, as well: masculine, great size, bones and body. Excellent in conformation and construction, with desirable proportions and anatomy. He got great angulations both in front and rears, a super top-line, and a perfect relationship body-legs. The head is, even in its beauty, a bit too small for his size, with only slightly frontal eyes and a bit light upper-lips. The color could be warmer but it is totally into the requirements of the standard and the tail is still correct and well straight even if it tends to be on the side when the dog runs. What I wanted to reward are his proportions resulting in a super-soundness: a modern dog. When I say modern I mean a dog that meets all the standard requirements for type and, despite the size, is fully able to move freely, with a great push, resistance, energy, proudness. In effect was also his great temperament that brought me to the final choice. And it is evident that my choice was fully prized and confirmed in the most competitive group of the whole WDS, the second, where 62 World Winner Dogs were representing the breeds and almost 5000 dogs.
The group specialist and prominent danish Judge, Mr. Ole Staunskjaer, gave to this dog – and to the breed – the fisrt place in the ring of honor, putting him among the 10 best dogs of this 2013 World Dog Show.
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