The show had an entry of about 6,400, and in addition to that, in other competitions, displays and breed club stands there were about 1,500 additional dogs.
It was about the same amount as last year. They represented 311 different breeds or variations, and they had come from 22 different countries. So it really was a very international event. Also the judges were a colourful collection of various nationalities. From the UK came Jenny Miller, Steven Seymour, Jeff Horswell, Penny Williams, Frank Whyte, Debbie Pearson and Knut Sigurd Wilberg, but over here he judges under the Norwegian flag. Although many Kennel Clubs nowadays are organising double or even triple shows, the Swedish KC sticks to one two-day event.
The Kennel Club itself had large stands selling their products, like “puppies”, that are stuffed toy dogs of various breeds. They have also many very attractive jackets, vests, T-shirts etc, very handy for exercising dogs, and other useful equipment like bags, books etc. You can use the cards your winning dogs get, and collect the cards from various shows to exchange them to something bigger. One of the most interesting new inventions was in the hunting dog area. There was a possibility to try a car simulator which crashes into elks. There are always may accidents, especially in winter, with these large animals.
Sweden is quite a large country and there are vast forests with a lot of wildlife, especially in the northern part. The elks might appear just suddenly on the road from the forest, and if you are driving too fast, you have no time to slow down and avoid hitting the animal. Together with this show many special awards are always published.
The SKC gives the “Of the Year”-awards, always to meritorious working dogs, like police dogs, drug sniffers, hero dogs and helper dogs. The police dog award was shared with three dogs, who helped to find the remains of the journalist Kim Wall, who was murdered in Denmark in the U-boat. This very strange case got a lot of publicity.
The dogs, the Labrador, Ace; the Springer Spaniel, Ben; and the GSD Cross managed to mark the places in the sea where the victim’s body parts could be found and that was vital for the investigation and solved the case. The drug sniffer of the year was the black Labrador, Boy, who works mainly at Haparanda in the north of Sweden, where you can drive over the river between Finland and Sweden. He has found a vast amount of various drugs and pills in all kinds of places and weathers. Also the hero dog of the year is a Labrador, Hilda, who has been trained for tracking.
Usually the purpose of this training is to find wounded animals after traffic accidents or a miss when hunting, but Hilda has learnt to find also missing dogs, who have run away from home. Also there was an award for the special helper, GSD, Citrine, who has been trained to express when her owner’s blood sugar level is getting too low. Her owner has suffered from diabetes since childhood, but with the dog she feels more safe and doesn’t need other equipment to tell about dangerous level of blood sugar especially in the nighttime. All this means good PR towards dogs, because these awards interest the general media more than just show judging.
They had some time to get to know their new dogs and then the young ladies had to show them in the main ring. It was a really high-class performance, some of the competitors had already been at Crufts or World Shows to represent Sweden. The winner, Selma Mårtensson, who was competing with her Bearded Collie, couldn’t help bursting into tears when her big dream came true. So she is the one who travels to Crufts next March. The Stockholm show is famous for its finals, which always are really a spectacle.
Now the theme was the artist and author Elsa Beskow, who had created 100 years ago beloved stories about Auntie Green, Auntie Brown and Auntie Lilac and their Poodle Prick, and the kids Petter and Lotta. The whole ring was decorated to look like the scene of these stories, and the ring staff were dressed accordingly. The finals were live streamed, and all the results from the breed rings could be seen online.
The BIS judge was Kari Järvinen from Finland, well-known and widely travelled all-breed judge. In most FCI countries there are ten group winners, but it is allowed to combine two small groups, as it was done here. So the Scenthound and Dachshund groups were combined, as it is often done also in Norway.
Actually the Scenthound group is large, consisting of very many breeds, but most of them are rare and hardly known outside of their native countries, and the Dachshund group is small of course, although we have more varieties than UK, three sizes, three coats. So nine finalists met on Sunday’s grand final, representing the four Nordic countries.
As a matter of fact, the BIS winner, the Puli, Int Ch Rackarörzo Zala, is a perfect example of international co-operation. He was born in Hungary, but now jointly owned by two breeders, Jesper Ravn in Denmark and Kati Taipale in Finland. He comes out of old and distinguished Hungarian bloodlines, but his breeder Viktor Brauswetter, has hardly ever sold his dogs outside Hungary. As a puppy he was sold to another Hungarian breeder. Kati saw Zala when he was a yearling, and tried to buy him at any price, but his owner didn’t want to sell him. However, the owner died suddenly after a couple of years, and her dogs had to get new homes.
Zala was returned to his breeder. A friend of Kati’s had heard about this, and at the same time also Jesper Ravn got to know what had happened. He was not able to take the dog immediately, so Kati and Jesper agreed about co-operation. Zala was three years old when he moved to Finland a year and a half ago to Kati.
After the Stockholm show he returned to Finland and lives as a house pet with Kati’s other dogs. Especially the minority breed enthusiasts have to work together! Kati is, by the way, one of our newest judges, she has passed her first breed exams. Res BIS was the Flat Coated Retriever, Ch Altaflats Ain’t I’m A Dog, owned by Ida Wisener in northern Norway. He has many Ch and Winner titles, but the most impressive one is surely the GB Sh Ch title. He was born in northern Sweden.
He was skilfully handled by the young man Patrick Oware, who lives in the same city as Ida. Patrick has, if I remember it right, twice represented Norway at Crufts in the junior handers’ international final and now, being too “old” for that, he is handling with many dogs with success. Actually his own dogs are Terriers, but he seems to be good with other type of dogs, too. To the third place went the Leonberger, Int Ch Namupalan Bling Smack Chap, owned by Jessica Junehall.
This Finnish-bred dog has belonged to the top winners of Sweden for some years now, and not only Sweden, he, too, bears GB Ch title in addition to his many other achievements. Jessica’s mother Petra Junehall is a well-known judge and Leonberger breeder, so this is a family affair. Fourth in the BIS final was the Deerhound, Ch Lehigh Impressario for Champhurst, owned by Ray Lindholm. This dog is bred in USA and has done a lot of winning during the year. Ray Lindholm has been showing Deerhounds with great success before.
His other breed is Beagles, and he has been equally successful with them, too. He is also a well respected judge of Hound breeds. In Sweden usually those who are not placed among the top four, get an extra rosette and share the fifth place. This is quite a nice gesture, because they are worthy winners, too, and deserve all appreciation. The Terrier Group winner was the young Irish Terrier, Merrymac Edition Of Gold, owned and bred by the Hagström family. This one is the newest link in their long chain of home-bred big winners. The Spitz Group was also topped by a youngster, the Basenji, Enigma I’m King Of The World, owned by Lisa Barkeskog.
He is just a year old, but what a predictive name! Surely we will get to hear about these youngsters in the future, too! The Basenji belonged to the team which was placed in the breeders’ final. The Scenthound & Dachshund Group winner was the PBGV from Finland, Int Ch Soletrader Just Jazz, owned by Kristina Bergström, but is bred in the UK by the Robertsons. She won the group recently at Jyväskylä some weeks earlier and has done well also before, a.o.t at Moscow WDS, where she was Junior Winner. She has had one litter a year ago. Best of the Pointing Gundogs was the Irish Red Setter, Copper’s Riddarsporre, owned and bred by Camilla Östman.
He has been travelling around and has also gained a US Ch title. He was born in Belgium, and was one of Kathleen Roosen’s breeder’s team, which was placed second of the day. She had come with some dogs from Belgium, and the rest of the team members are living in Sweden. Best Veteran on Saturday was the Portuguese Water Dog, Int Ch Aquafortis Alisiria, owned by Ida Ling & Runi Kristiansen, Norway, This time there was also a special final for the juniors both days, and Runi Kristainsen had really a good day, because another one of her PWDs won that, too! It was Robel The One, who was Junior Winner in the EDS in Warsaw just recently.
The Veteran’s final on Sunday was won by the Saluki, Int Ch Husniya Har Kala Rachi, owned by Catrin Nilsson, and Best Junior of the day was the French Bulldog, Marikarlos Oooh Candy, owned and bred by Magnus Berglin & Håkan Häll. The breeders’ team class final is always very impressive in Scandinavia, many really even and high quality teams are presented.
On Saturday this competition was won – once again – by the Almanza Flatcoats, bred by Ragnhild Ulin. This kennel ended up as third in the Breeder of the Year, while the other top breeder of Flatcoats, kennel Caci’s won. And these two are not the only great breeders of this breed, for example the Group winner was not bred by either of them! Really tough competition within the breed always! Besides, Caci’s kennel with their other breed, American Cocker, ended up as fourth in the Breeder of the Year. Quite amazing! On Sunday the winning team came – once again-- from kennel Badavie, whose Salukis have done so much winning during the years.
The breeders are Maria Nordin and Marie Branden, They have shown breeder’s teams also internationally, a.o.t. they won at the Warsaw EDS. The Progeny Group final is also very popular, there the stud dog or brood bitch must be shown with four offsprings. On Saturday this contest winner was the Cocker Spaniel, Ch Manaca’s Ideas For Life, owned by Jane Pop in the UK, but I guess this Swedish-bred dog has got his litters in Sweden and then moved to the UK. On Sunday the Best Progeny Group consisted of Whippets, sired by Int Ch Twyborn Big Ben and owned by Jörgen Oinonen.
Photos by TEXTerri