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A Show to Remember: The 2015 World Dog Show

Food and Fashion Expo 2015 may have earned the world's attention, but for canine enthusiasts looking for a new way to spend summer vacation time, there was a more important reason to visit Milan, Italy - the annual FCI World Winner Dog Show, held over June 10-14, at the Rho Exhibition Fairgrounds. Six sprawling pavilions Best-In-Show-World-Dog-Show-2015-1.jpgcovering over 103,000 sq/m hosted 340 breeds, 184 judges and exhibitors representing 68 nations. Ten FCI groups would be judged over four days, with added independent breed club shows providing offshore visitors the opportunity to rack up additional national titles.

Tragically, the show threatened to be cursed from the start. On June 8th, a minivan carrying five Russian handlers and nineteen dogs was involved in a head-on crash with an oncoming lorry. Details at the time were sketchy, but it was soon to be determined that all parties in the van as well as the lorry driver were killed outright. Rescuers at the scene reported eleven of the dogs also died, though the remaining eight were initially unaccounted for. The international dog fancy came together in an impressive display of unity, honouring their friends by observing periods of silence throughout the week and wearing black chest ribbons for the duration of the show. Yet while the atmosphere was sombre, the competition was anything but. Entry totals nudged 30,000, with pre-World club events registering 9,516 participants, and WDS notching 19, 927. Italy topped the numbers with 8,143, with France a distant second (1,647) and Russia third (1,465); the United States boasted 116 entrants, with Canada sending 21. And though Canuck breeders, owners and handlers were in short supply, their presence was quietly, yet definitely felt.
  • The father/daughter team of Graeme and Emily Burdon (Quebec) had multiple successes; at WDS the miniature Xolo, Besitos Tepal, took 4th Open Dog (owned by Pat Pentland / Raul Olivera); Ch. Zoldmali Cetli, a Wirehaired Viszla owned by Anton Josef Sagh, picked up 1st Champion Class on his way to ResCACIB; ResCAC went to Glenda Newton's Portuguese Water Dog, Ch. Hi Seas Dr. Romeo McDuff; Ch. Hearthside Riveredge Sure Is Summum, an Australian Shepherd dog owned by Catherine Poitras, succeeded in bringing home the title of World Winner 2015/CACIB from one of the largest breed entries of the event.

  • The Karelian Bear Dog, TsarShadow's Barbarossa, came from the Junior class to win BOB/World Jr. Winner for breeder/owner/handler Dawne Deeley (B.C.), and was eventually shortlisted in the Junior Group finals. His littermate, Ch. TsarShadow's Night Witch, also claimed the Junior World Winner title in bitches. A final TsarShadow entry, MCh. TsarShadow's State of Siege, took the title of World Winner/CACIB for owner Maureen Griffin.

  • Ontario's Judi Elford scored a 'double' with her homebred/owned Junior class Samoyeds; Vanderbilt's Yabba Dabba Do (co-owned by Mengru Wu) and Ch. Vanderbilt's Kiss The Moon. With Samoyeds being another of the show's most popular breeds, it shows the depth of quality in these youngsters, who picked up reserve positions and 'Excellent' grades in large classes.

  • Florence Erwin (Ontario) was on hand to see Canadian handler Edgar Rojas pilot her homebred/owned Barbet (co-owned with Dianne Marston) Ch. Flacon d'Paris Of Neigenuveaux to a club show BOB/CAC and WDS Champion Class 2nd.

  • No stranger to world travel, B.C.'s Larisa Hotchin was rewarded with club show BOB/CAC and WDS Open Class 2nd on Welsh Terrier Ch. Darwyn's Here For A Good Time, whom she bred and co-owns with Sonya Cornick.

  • Breeder/owner/handler Dr. Gail Forsythe (Alberta) made a superb showing, taking a strong WDS Intermediate Class 1st with her young Japanese Chin, Ch. Lionheart Kumakichi, after winning CAC at the breed club show on the previous day.

  • Sonja van Maanans' Bouvier des Flandres, Ch. Indelible's Kandi's Trust In Me faced considerable competition in the Champion Dog class before being awarded an evaluation of 'Excellent'.

Though many events of this magnitude come equipped with great displays of 'window dressing' and various extra-curricular ring activities, the Italian Kennel Club (ENCI) chose to keep Group presentations running to strict time schedules. Baby Puppy, Puppy, Junior,Veteran, Brace and Breeder's Groups were ferried in and out of the main rings briskly and with little time in between. If this seemed rather sterile, it did offer the benefit of finishing at a civilised hour. This is not to mean the programmes were 'all work and no play'. Of special interest was the introduction of the Fonni Shepherd Dog, a breed long known in its homeland but only recently stepping forward into the recognition spotlight. Originating from the Sardinian city of the same name, the sturdy Fonni is valued for its ability to watch flocks and guard the shepherds who accompany them. Its rough coat is found in shades of grey, rusty black and earthen browns; centuries of use have left it little changed, and the breed's popularity was evident in the number of enthusiastic handlers dressed in regional costume who brought their dogs into the main ring for the crowd's appreciation.

Cheers were equally loud for the Best Italian Breed in Show competition, won by the Italian Greyhound, Lady Godiva Dei Raggi di Luna. This bitch had an exceptional WDS, given she also topped the Sighthound group. Second was granted to the Maltese, Missis White Ettore Bassi; third, the Bergamasco, Rukmini Dei Lupercali, with fourth taken by the Cane Corso, 'Brutus', who earlier in the week had taken top spot on the Group 2 podium. Now with tensions rising, the only ribbons left to award are those for Best In Show...and the winner is the Bearded Collie, MCh. Ops I Did It Again Del Cuore Impavido, owned by Olga Klimova (Russian Federation). BIS2 went to Mikael Nilsson and his black Miniature Poodle, Ch. Kudos Firework (Sweden), with BIS3 awarded to the aforementioned Italian Greyhound. Taking the last podium position was Michele Ivaldi's Gordon Setter, Ch. Ludstar Frederick Frankenstein (Italy).

When all was said and done, could Italy brag one of the most successful World Dog shows ever? Consider the following: at the show's zenith, was visited by over 40,000 viewers a day, with 3 *million* reaching the various associated pages. Ten thousand paying spectators passed through the turnstiles in the first two days; Group finals saw bleacher seats filled hours in advance. It was emotional; it was was 'amoré' in the broadest, finest sense, and definitely a show never to be forgotten.

Group totals:

Group 1 / Sheep and Cattle Dogs - 2,079
Group 2 / Pinschers and Molossers -4,627
Group 3 / Terriers -2,594
Group 4 / Dachshunds -728
Group 5 / Spitz and Primitives -2,147
Group 6 / Scenthounds -954
Group 7 / Pointing Dogs -1,054
Group 8 / Retrievers, Flushing and Water Dogs -1,748
Group 9 / Companion Dogs -3,045
Group 10 / Sighthounds -951

Article courtesy of Dawne Deeley, TsarShadow Carelians, CKC Perm Reg'd Bear Dogs.

Show Winners:  
Australian Shepherd, Ch. Hearthside Riveredge Sure Is Summum is shown by Emily Burdon. Owner is Catherine Poitras.
Welsh Terrier, Am Gr Ch & Can Ch Darwyn Here for a Good Time "Trooper", handled by Ernesto Lara; bred and owned by Larisa Hotchin; Photo by: Lisa-Croft Elliott.
Samoyed, Ch. Vanderbilt's Kiss The Moon.  
"Luna" - Breeder/Owners: Blair and Judi Elford.
 Karelian Bear Dog, TsarShadow's Barbarossa, handled by Richard Hellman; breeder/owner Dawne Deeley.

 Japanese Chin, Ch. Lionheart Mi Kumakichi with breeder/owner/handler Dr. Gail Forsythe.

Australian Shepherd, Jumpin Jack Flash des Terres de Khairyaca, handled by Emily Burdon.
Barbet, Ch. Flacon D'Paris Of Neigenuveaux, guided by handler Edgar Rojas. "Murdoch" is owned by Florence Erwin and bred by Erwin and Dianne Marshall. 
Portuguese Water Dog, Ch. Hi Seas Dr. Romeo McDuff, handled by Emily Burdon. Owned by Glenda Newton.
Win Best In Show - Win a car! 
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