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Saturday, 08 June 2019

Rovaniemi International

Featured Written by Paula Heikkinen Lehkonen
Best in Show at Rovaniemi was the Airedale Terrier, Int Ch Katherina’s Land Wish Me Luck, owned by Jukka Kemppainen. Handler was Pia von Koch. BIS Judge was Paula Heikkinen-Lehkonen. Best in Show at Rovaniemi was the Airedale Terrier, Int Ch Katherina’s Land Wish Me Luck, owned by Jukka Kemppainen. Handler was Pia von Koch. BIS Judge was Paula Heikkinen-Lehkonen. By TEXTerri

The Rovaniemi International Show is the northernmost all-breed show in Finland. Rovaniemi lies at the Arctic Circle and is known as the home town of Santa Claus.

Usually this show has been at Midsummer, which is a big celebration day in Finland, almost as big as Christmas, but of course that kind of day causes some difficulties for the organisers.

So now it was two weeks earlier, but anyway, at this time of the year in the northern areas the sun never goes down. In the winter it doesn’t come up at all, so those living there must be adjusted to tolerate both extreme darkness and extreme light, extreme cold and also sometimes warmth. The first show day, Saturday, was very hot indeed, and the showground, a trotter horse arena, offered no shade.

The rings were in the middle of the arena on short grass, which was nice and made it feel more fresh than it would have been on a sand field. There were over 1,500 dogs entered, which was quite a good number for this part of the country. One has to remember that the distance from southern Finland is about 700 kilometres, so everybody is not willing to drive that far. However, it is quite convenient for those living in northern Sweden and Norway, because they can only drive without need to take a ferry.

There were some exhibitors from northern Russia, too. After the very hot first day one could expect that this kind of weather means coming thunderstorms. The thunder came on Sunday, about noon, and then also it started raining. Luckily the rain stopped soon, but started again when the group finals were going on and it just became heavier and heavier. So the BIS final was done in really pouring rain. Of course all dogs are not at their best in this kind of circumstances, but our sporting exhibitors are used to all weathers and perform bravely whatever is coming down from heaven.

I was the BIS judge and got nine wet dogs to choose from. One of Saturday’s Group winners, the Toy Poodle, Int Ch Bebella’s Neverending Dream, was not able to come, but that was not because of the weather but because the owner Virpi Luukkonen had to go to work. Yes, some people have to work on Sundays, but I guess she was not disappointed at all when she saw that is was raining.

It surely is not the weather for a little Poodle! This bitch has been very successful, she is Champion of six countries and has taken several Group wins and placings, so in other circumstances might have had good chances. My winner, the Airedale Terrier Int Ch Katherina’s Land Wish Me Luck, owned by Jukka Kemppainen, was not bothered at all by the rain. He was as happy as an Airedale could be, having a good time with his usual handler and groomer Pia von Koch. This dog was born in Estonia, bred by Jekaterina Kantijevskaja, who is a long time successful breeder.

He represents fifth generation of Jekaterina’s own breeding, but there is quite a lot of American blood in his pedigree, including some famous names like GB and USA Ch Greenfield Captain Fantastic and GB Ch Saredon American Gangster. Jukka, Pia and the Airedales have been travelling together to most of the important shows in Scandinavia and the Baltic countries, and this young dog has done very well, taken Ch and Junior Ch titles in all these countries, also Winner titles. Surely there are more to come, because now he is mature and in his full bloom. With this kind of attitude in spite of the weather I’m sure he is ready to do some serious winning.

Runner-up was the St Bernard, Ch King-Baronen’s Camu, owned and bred by Mika Pallari, who lives in northern Finland and has been breeding St Bernards for a long time. This dog hasn’t been shown very much so far, this was only his second show this year. In the first one he already took a Group placing and last year he was BOS in the breed club specialty. Now at three years he is fully matured and will certainly let the world hear about him more.

Third place went to a smooth Chow Chow from Sweden, Ch Xilla v h Bossche Front, a Dutch import owned by Jessica Björling Brännlund. This was her first visit to Finland and was completely a new face to me, but it is nice to see a smooth one to do so well. Usually the smooths have to stand in the shadow of the more hairy ones. In fourth place the Longhaired Miniature Dachshund, Ch Bevorax B-Magnificent, owned by Ulla Svanberg, had come from Sweden, but he has attended the shows of northern Finland several times with success. I see this one is also a field trial Champion in blood tracking, so the little Dachshunds can do the real work, too.

The rest of the Group winners were: the Smooth Collie, Clingstone’s Ready Or Not, owned by Anni Pohjola, who comes from the well-known top-winning strain. This one hasn’t been shown much, but she has been more active in agility and obedience. This was her biggest achievement so far in the show ring.

Also the Dalmatian, Ch Botnicus Everything You Want, owned by Lina Nordmark, came from Sweden, but he has been many times to the shows in northern Finland and has also a litter on this side of the border. The winner of the Pointing Gundog Group was represtenting a breed which is not so often seen on the winner’s stand, Small Munsterlanders.

This dog Pyynikin Herbert, owned by Elena Kallio, is obviously doing more of his original work and has been shown only a few times. Now he took his second CC, so surely will try to get the third one, too. He started last year also in field trials, but needs to get some more experience in that. He is a local dog, lives in Rovaniemi, and in this area there are a lot of birds and good hunting grounds. Then there was the Flatcoated Retriever, Ch Altaflats Respect Man, owned by Christina Tolk, Sweden. This dog was born in northern Norway, has done well also in his previous shows in northern Finland, too.

Then there was the Irish Wolfhound, Int Ch Riverwolf Jost van Dyke, co-owned by Satu & Tomi Perälä and breeder Riitta Lehto-Nevala. He has done well also before, got many group wins and placings. On Saturday the Best Veteran of the day was the Welsh Corgi Pembroke, Ch Serpamin Ultra Fine, owned by Ida Jokela, who lives in the north.

So they have attended mainly the shows of this area, which means not very many every year. They have done well in obedience, too. On Sunday the Veteran winner was the GBGV, Int Ch Minskuhoff’s Grand Olivier, owned by Eija Kunnari, a well-known big winner who has been actively campaigned all his life, now nine years.

The Breeders’ Group finals were won both days by somewhat unusual breeds, but it is nice to see that minority breeds are appreciated. On Saturday the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers from kennel Hillitön, Carita Kalla-Binmerg, drew the longest straw. The breeder lives on the Swedish side, although the names of the dogs are in Finnish.

There are a lot of Finnish-speaking people living in northern Sweden and it really doesn’t feel like going abroad when you go over the border. On Sunday the winning team was the English Toy Terriers, bred by Anne-Mari Suoniemi, kennel Great Bernina’s, who started breeding about 15 years ago and has produced many Champions and also International Champions.


Rovaniemi Photos by TEXTerri

Read 2387 times Last modified on Friday, 19 July 2019

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