FCI World Dog Show 2014 – Helsinki (FI), 8-10 August

The FCI main conformation event of the year is over and will remain in everybody’s mind as the symbol of what a perfectly well-organised dog show should be.

Year 2014 was for Finland the 125th anniversary of their creation. It was a superb reason for the Finns to apply for hosting the 2014 FCI World Dog Show, 16 years after having had the pleasure to meet the dog scene on the occasion of the 1998 FCI World Dog Show, with an interesting entry of 15,300 dogs.

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Y. De Clercq
FCI Executive Director
European Championship Coursing in Lavarone-malga Millegrobbe (IT), 27-29 June

Although it had been uncertain for a while, finally we were hosted in “La Bella Italia” for the lure-coursing championship this year. The scenery was the mountainside in the Dolomites. At 1424 meters one can find meadows which are used - in the wintertime - for cross-country skiing and - in the summertime - for Nordic walking. This beautiful environment was invaded by 721 dogs and their owners competing for the title of European Champion during 3 days of lure coursing.
The ENCI's decision to make it into a 3-day competition this year resulted in a lot more enjoyable and relaxed event. Also using only 2 fields is much easier for the spectators and for the team managers. There were about 100 entries less than last year. I guess the upcoming World Championship racing in September is the reason of this year’s small entry for Finland, with 38 dogs less than last year. The new-comer was Cyprus, entering one Saluki. The fact that Italy was present with 15 dogs more than last year was probably no surprise, due to the location. France had 20 dogs more, about one third more than in last edition. The 117 Whippets, that have normally - by far - the biggest entry, could hardly beat the 115 Salukis. There were 35 Whippets less and the question was if this was the result of the controversy going on about the measuring and re-measuring of the whippets? Anyway, at the opening ceremony, Chairman of the FCI Commission for Sighthounds Races Hubert Iser asked for honesty, fairness, and sportsmanship at all levels: breeders, judges, organisers and participants as well, important for the future of the sport and to prevent that people will abandon the sport due to lack of sportsmanship and having no fair chances.

The timetables for veterinary checks, the races and the ceremonies where scheduled beforehand and could be found on a website a few days prior to the event. In that way, most people knew where to go and when, the reason why everything ran smoothly. Friday started off with all the competing breeds of group 5, the Salukis and the Afghan Hounds. On day 2 the Galgos Españoles, Greyhounds, Magyar Agar, Chart Polski, Irish Wolfhounds, Deerhounds, Azawakhs and Sloughis had their turn. On the last day the Borzois, Italian Greyhounds and Whippets were on term.
3 Judges per field were evaluating the runs. Field 1, which was a 20-minute walk from base camp, was at a rather steep slope and had a rough surface with a few trickily parts. Luckily, this came to the organisers' attention and they made some improvements. This field was meant for the more agile hounds. Field 2, on the contrary, was nothing more than a race track, except for the fact that the ground was fairly bumpy. They had hoped to make this field for the more speedy dogs. On both fields, rocks were covered up with hay bales to prevent injuries. The weather was typical for the mountains: showers, sunshine, fog, heat and cold alternated and this resulted sometimes in slippery fields.
3 Dogs were severely injured and even an Italian Greyhound died. Another dog got caught between the pulley when its leg tangled into the cord and broke the front leg. And one dog’s shoulder was dislocated. Ideally, we would like to have no injuries on dogs and we like them all leaving the field unharmed. Like most sports, lure coursing has its risks, although everybody strives to make it as safe as possible.
The award ceremonies in the evening were rather long due to the fact that everything was translated into 4 languages. Maybe next time the organisers should think about only using the national language of the organising country and English. This would make the ceremonies shorter and get more attention from the audience who is tired after a full day of preparation and of leading their dogs to the tracks. In Afghan hounds, both male and female winners confirmed their last year's titels: M-Paschdou’s Arishan (DE), owned by S. Butzert and F-Paschdou’s Adjani (DE), owned by N. Haidl. The same for the Azawakh male and female: M-Aklad al Sahra’s L’Agadez (DE) owned by E. Kahler and F-Kainda Adowa El Ghafiri (NL) owned by M. Van Dijck. Also the Podenco Ibicenco female Innoko fom S. Kluge managed to renew her title in a mixed competition. Remarkable was that the Galgos Españoles male and female, that were ending at the very last place in last year's championships, ended both on the first place this year, after being rated very highly the second run: M-Dandy (FR) owned by Ph. Gonthier and F-Caritas Palesio Estepona (FR) owned by C. Provezano.

Next year, the event will take place in the home city of Santa Claus: “Ensi vuonna tavataan Suomessa”. See you all next year in Finland.

Article by Bettina Fredrix
Photographs by Marc Goetstouwers

Podenco Ibicenco

Pharao Hound

Magyar Agar