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Wednesday, 12 September 2012

AKC Summer Classic

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Every some time, it’s really “hygienic” to change your habitudes, concerning dogs affairs, as well as in any other aspect of life. To judge in another continent, specially in a non-FCI-country, is always an exciting experience...

WHERE BASKETBALL WAS BORN
Springfield, Massachusetts, an AKC Summer Classic by Rafael Malo Alcrudo


Every some time, it’s really “hygienic” to change your habitudes, concerning dogs affairs, as well as in any other aspect of life. To judge in another continent, specially in a non-FCI-country, is always an exciting experience, meanly if you are a reasonably open-mind-person and you decide to forget your inevitable prejudices in your own village, together with your espadrilles and your hot-water bottle, and you decide to enjoy what life offers you.

For instance, an AKC show circuit in Massachusetts. This time, the reason to come back to New England was to judge in a four days circuit, run by three different clubs: Newtown, Northwestern and Elm City.

The show was run in Springfield, an early colonial city cross by the Connecticut river, where I have been judging a couple of times in the past, in 2003 and 2009. Springfield is a very common name in the United States of America. Of course, as most of you will know, it’s also the name of the city where the Simpson family is living their yellow and caustic lives.

But “this” Springfield is however well-known for something else: it was there where Canadian Dr. James Naimisth, trying to keep his students occupied in wintertime, invented basketball in the year of the Lord 1891. But, let’s go to the dogs.

There were four shows in a row. Skip Stanbridge, from Canada, and myself, as the only foreign judges, were the only ones to work everyday. In the meantime, different AKC judges was coming and going, so almost everyday faces was changing and even their style of judging though all of them were American. In the USA, a judge has much more paperwork responsibility than in the rest of the world and always I need at least one day of warm up to realize that I am not there just to judge and place the dogs, but to check the entries; the absent ones; to write down the placements and things like that. But when you are in Rome, just do what romans do… And I really did enjoy my job in overseas so very much, even more that I expected.

Every day, the quality of some dogs was absolutely gorgeous and made me think about the eternal existential dilemmas: continental, English, American type…? ; KC, AKC or FCI standards…?; private or professional handlers…? Exaggeration or moderation…? Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo…? To be or not to be… I have come to the conclusion that, today, these issues are meaningless for the most part.

Of course, boxers are very different, as well as setters, St. Bernards and springers or some other breeds, But these days, with globalization, I think we can start talking, in many cases, of specimens at international level, able to compete and win anywhere in the world. If there is a clear exception that are the golden retrievers. In this case, yes we can speak of a completely different race.

One possible solution from the FCI would be to do the same thing that, some years ago, was done with the akitas or, long ago, with the cocker spaniel. The Golden Retriever and the American Golden Retriever. This would allow us, devoted KC and FCI judges, to enjoy some wonderful dogs (but not golden retriever) without load us from a guilty conscience.

It was a privilege for me to judge a gorgeous bullmastiff, a thrilling dogue de Bordeaux; an impresive dobermann; an aristocratic Deerhound; a first class cane corso and a fantastic leonberger, which put me goosebumps. But, from the American perspective, I enjoyed a lot with some Setter, Weimaraner, Tibetan Terrier and Tibetan Spaniel, Rough and Bearded Collies, Australian Sheepdog, Newfoundland; Affenpinscher; Poodles and some breeds that now come to mind. But, despite its unequivocal American type, many of these individuals, perhaps not all, I would like to see them competing in Europe.

Just to see what was happening… The hospitality of the American organization, as usual, was excellent; the visit to AKC dog shows, interesting as always, making that the long trip was worth it and, as each time, has served to confirm that, for better or bad, because everyone can and should have its own discretion (The Inquisition, fortunately, no longer existed for centuries), the distance that separate us, at both sides of the Atlantic Ocean are gradually coming shorter.

Read 4896 times Last modified on Monday, 12 September 2016

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