by Karl DonvilWeelde CACIB show 2019
Happy faces all over, the entry grew drastically from 1371 dogs in 2018 to 1769 this year. That makes a big difference! Could it be that people are finally finding their way to Weelde, which is a rather remote place? This former Nato base is no longer in use as such and all the halls for the jets are empty now. Imagine the space available for parking, often the nightmare for those who show. On the other hand, bases are never in the center of the city, not even close to where people live, and usually not signposted like a touristic place. But this is the 3rd time it happens here and I think people start appreciating this place. Another factor for the rise in entries was without any doubt the fact that between Mouscron, the previous Belgian show and Weelde, there were 7 weeks! No wonder showpeople are longing for another challenge. It is also obvious that the organization is coming close to automatic-pilot. They have a better idea now, what should be done better, what was OK and what could be left out. The heating was OK, it was good and warm and comfortable inside. Large battery lights were used to illuminate the main ring from all four sides. As the halls have no special facilities everything needs to be rented, from a bar to heating to toilets. And the latter is still a point of concern as the toilets are almost inaccessible for children and male people. That could simply be solved with a kind of stage build from wooden palettes. The same applied for the handwash installation, no way to wash them properly without leaving with wet sleaves. But for the rest, all was fine and well organized.
The dogs were entered from 14 different countries. Close to the border, it was kind of obvious that the Netherlands were best represented after the Belgians, 363 dogs! Germany too was far from bad with 128 dogs in competition, followed by France with 58 and The United Kingdom with 31. The rest of the foreign dogs came from all over Europe, 3 from Russia and even one from the United States. What the impact of British entries will be is difficult to predict. It will probably have at least minor negative consequences and I think that we will notice soon. I sure most British exhibitors who frequent the mainland regularly will all have voted against Brexit. What was once so easy will never be as before again.
20 Judges were responsible for giving the correct titles and placements. Mr. Arnold Jacques was one of the Belgian judges, but he was not present and his task was taken over by Mr.Dirk Spruyt who made his come back after a long period of revalidation from a serious back injury after a fall from a ladder. He looked tired in the evening as the pain came back, but he managed to judge his breeds during the day and his groups in the main ring. Ireland and Belgium must have a special connection as again at this show, 5 judges from the Emerald Isles were invited. On Saturday Mr.Benjamin Sanchez Garcia from Spain finished with a top score of 104 dogs, all from the Terrier group. Mrs.Sinead Taggart from Ireland had a nice entry of 77 as had Johan Wulteputte from Belgium with 76, who had the 3rd best score of the weekend with another 62 dogs on Sunday, including no less than 40 French Bulldogs. On Sunday her compatriot Mrs.Marie Butler finished with 119 dogs and made the best score of Sunday and the second-best score of the weekend. Tim Finney judged 77 dogs and he came along with his wife Marion to judge. They came over from Ireland too. And another compatriot was Mrs.Ahern Claire Ann who had 40 Chihuahuas and 24 Cavalier KIng Charles, 79 dogs on Sunday in total. Best Overall Score of the weekend was for Mrs.Tuula Savolainen from Finland. She had 170 entries, 112 of them on Sunday, all Spitz varieties. Mrs. Anja Push from Germany had all the Dachshunds on Sunday, a total of 74. Mrs.Myriam Vermeire had a remarkable number of 46 Great Danes, a breed that gains in popularity again. Mrs.Angie Cooper from England was invited to judge the Golden Retrievers only, but that was enough for 66 specimens, the best scoring breed on this show. Some breeds will always score high like Goldens and Labradors, but for the moment it is hard to tell which other breeds are standing out in popularity. Even the French Bulldogs are declining in numbers. If this goes on it is a good evolution. Popularity is always bad and weakens the breed.
Probably to celebrate his comeback, Mr. Dirk Spruyt was granted the honor to judge Best In Show. All breed winners had to be placed but one was missing on Sunday. Nad Julia from Germany won the 3rd place with her Medium Size Poodle "Nice Steps For Me Only", a 4-year-old male bred in Latvia. He was judged by Mr.Jo Schepers from the Netherlands who also judged the group. On the second place came the Japanese Akita "Hiromitsu Q'Dai Go", owned by Martens-Pittoors from Belgium. This male was entered in Champion Class and judged by Mrs.Tuula Savolainen from Finland. Myriam Vermeire made him Best of Group. Q'Dai Go is 2 years old and bred in Belgium. Best In Show went to the whippet "Proud Mary Da Roseira Brava" from Bart Scheerens. a 3-year-old import from Portugal. 13 Were entered and judged by Myriam Vermeire. The group was judged by Mr.Johan Wulteputte.
The show ended well in time. If Brexit will influence this show next year is hard to tell but if people continue finding the way to this nice show in this excellent but somewhat remote venue, we will hopefully see the number of entries cross the line of 2000 again.