When Finland and her national kennel club hosted over 14,000 dogs at the 1998 World Winner show, they set a benchmark of excellence that others have strived to emulate. Sixteen years later, Helsinki prepared to welcome the planet's finest conformation and performance athletes yet again. Though circuitous travel routes and a rising Euro caused speculation on entry estimates, the Finnish Kennel Club needn't have worried. "We are thrilled with the number of visitors coming to our show," stated FKC CEO Markku Mähönen. "Once again Finland will be able to display the excellence of preparation and organisation our shows are famous for." Apparently the world agreed with him; the 2014 WDS saw 21,200 dogs compete over three full days, with 360 breeds attending from 60 nations. 124 judges were in attendance, representing 35 countries. Finland led the tallies with 10,838 entries, followed by Russia (4,127), Sweden (1,764), Norway (696), Italy (472), Estonia (459), Poland (357), Denmark (267), Latvia (243) and Germany (242). Surprising everyone were the variety of numbers—with the Finnish Lapphund leading the way (and setting records) with 526 and the Lapponian Herder only two spots back with 234. The FKC had wisely opted to waive entry fees for the native breeds, a move that was enthusiastically embraced by their fanciers; the Karelian Bear Dog entry of 103 was the highest ever recorded at an FCI CACIB show.
Though Canada's representation was sparse, we can take pride in those who did make the trek. Guy Jeavons (Grandgables) judged FCI Group 4 / Dachshunds, and exclaimed afterwards that the winners were 'absolutely top-shelf'. Drs. Richard Meen and John Reeve-Newson (Kishniga) both presided over Poodle varieties, while Mark Houston-McMillan (Grandgables) awarded Samoyeds.
Sunday afternoon saw the winners of FCI's ten Groups present themselves to the legendary Hans Lehtinen. Affectionately known as 'Hasse', Lehtinen's judging skill has led him to all corners of the globe and no greater tribute could be offered than to choose the four finalists here. Taking BIS4 was the black American Cocker, Ch. PBJ's Back In Black, owned by Michael Kristensen, Beaute and Jamie Pruitt (Denmark). Next up on the podium was the Crufts Terrier group winner, the Fox Terrier (wire), Ch. King Arthur of Foliny Home. Owners are Rony de Munter and Dieny Uiterwijk of Belgium, and Brazil's Victor Malzoni Jr. Chosen for Reserve Best was the Italian Maltese, Ch. Cinecitta's Sasha Baron Cohen, for owner Franco Prosperi. With the tension rising, Lehtinen called out the Affenpinscher, Ch. Tricky Ricky From Yarrow Hi-Tech as his supreme Best In Show winner, for ecstatic owners Jongkie Budiman and Mieke Cooijmans, listed as being from Indonesia. Will there ever be a better dog show? Ask the Finns in a few years from now!
Article courtesy of Dawne Deeley, TsarShadow Carelians, CKC Perm Reg'd Bear Dogs.