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Pekingese celebrate in style

Above: the final line up in the International Pekingese Classic held last Sunday afternoon BElow: the overall winner Finnish Champion Backlees Big Daddy with judges Carlos Saevich, Terry Thorn, and May Robertshaw who replaced Mdme Droulliard who unfortunately had to pull out at the last minute

What a weekend the last weekend in February 2004 was, not only a Leap Year but the 100th birthday of the Pekingese Club, the mother club of the breed. On top of that was the first ever International Pekingese Classic. So many Pekes and so many Peke lovers from all over the world.

When the idea was first suggested that we combine the Centenary with an event which would allow Pekes to make use of the Pet Passport Scheme we really had no idea if it would take off but combining it on the weekend before Crufts at a hotel in the middle of the country meant that it was a not to be missed occasion for the overseas exhibitors.

The two judges for the Pekingese championship show were voted for by the members and were agreed at Bill Taylor form Canada of the well know St.Aubrey Elsdon partnership and Pam Edmond of Singlewell who is probably one of the longest standing exhibitor breeders. The entry was a very respectable 120 with a fairly even split between the sexes.

On the morning the hall was decorated with spring flowers, the ring was covered with new white matting which caused a few problems as the day wore on as the sticky tape started coming away, but it did not seem to affect any of the dogs and the white picket fencing kept everything contained.

The trophy table was laden down with cups some of which had been with the club from it’s very early days, unfortunately two of the medals went missing late in the morning which left a nasty taste as everyone in the room was associated with the breed.

As always with this club the tombola and the club stand seemed to do excellent business which was to be expected with such a large ringside, at one stage it was estimated that there were close on 250 people in the room.

Visitors were there from Russia, Estonia, Sweden, Hong Kong, America, Canada, Japan, as well as the qualifying countries of France, Norway, Finland, Republic of Ireland and the U.K.
All class winners received plenty of applause which seemed to show that there was an atmosphere of friendship and goodwill. Best in show was made up on the day and is now Ch. Yakee Forget Me Not with Best Opposite Sex winning his second C.C. Livanda Santana.
The day ended with a dinner and dance that saw 150 people sitting down and enjoying themselves with the help of an Elvis impersonater and dancing until turned 1am.

Luckily the International Classic did not start until after lunch the next day which gave those with slight hangovers the chance to recover, and do a little shopping for the latest Pekingese goodies which had just arrived in the country and buy their tickets for a new peke tapestry wall hanging.

The judging here was following a system which has been in operation for one of the main all breed finals in this country for nearly ten years but as hardly anyone in the breed had ever qualified and seen in it in operation it was explained by MC Andrew Brace. It involved three judges, chosen by the Pekingese Breed Council who were hosting and running it with a small committee of three. These were Terry Thorn, Carlos Saevich and Mdme Droulliard who unfortunately had to pull out at the last minute as her husband was hospitalised. In her place stood May Robertshaw who is another of the longest standing breeder exhibitor judges, who made up the latest Lotusgrange champion only last year.

Everyone had programmes were they could list the judges points for type, conformation and movement and follow the overall figures as Andrew read them out. Most people got into this very quickly and it built up the suspense as the points were collated and some dogs pulled ahead.

The final five were only separated by one or two points and so the winner and runner up were decided by the points given for Star Quality. The applause was tremendous when it was announced that Finnish Champion Backlees Big Daddy was over all winner with Livanda Santana runner up, a truly International result.

The photographers rushed into the ring for the photo call and there were so many it reminded one of the big ring at Crufts. After thanks and presentations to the judges it was time for dogs and handlers to go off and rest before the evening’s entertainment, and time for the committee to take down all the ring and get the room ready for the next stage. The weekend was rounded off by another dinner, smaller than the night before but the diners were entertained by a singer and comedian who get going for nearly two hours as the audience would not let him go as they joined in with the songs and laughed until they hurt at his jokes. A fitting end to a unique weekend and hopefully everyone went away having enjoyed themselves amongst like minded Peke lovers.

Liz Stannard

Winner of the International Pekingese Classic was
Pia Backman’s Finnish Ch Backlee Big Daddy.