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Eukanuba World Challenge

Eukanuba gets it right first time

When Pedigree withdrew from all its commitments to the world of pedigree dogs the gap left was not just the sudden reduction in finance for the major shows (estimated at about £1 per dog entered) it immediately affected the popular Stakes classes for Champions, Veterans and Juniors.
We must thank Proctor and Gamble, the company which owns Iams and Eukanuba for picking up the baton, for although we do see Britain’s top dogs at our championship shows regularly, with the groups split as they are (and more shows being held over four days) there are few opportunities to see the cream of each year’s crop of the very best dogs in one ring.

Last year, time was at a premium for part of the mechanism of the Champion Stakes classes is to select a UK representative for the Eukanuba International held in Long Beach, California each year and decisions had to be made very much on the hoof. This year time was on the organisers’ side and is it quite clear that Mike Bloxsome’s team made the most of it. The use of the Kennel Club’s excellent facilities at Stoneleigh was an inspired decision. The venue was warm, there was plenty of space for people, dogs and parking and it was really a show where the emphasis was entirely on the dogs and not the ‘posh’ environment. From the gorgeous catalogue to the slick presentation and the evening ‘do’, every aspect of the day was carefully choreographed and the event provided an interesting and exciting approach to judging.

Taking the best elements of the Contest of Champions and the Petplan Junior Stakes and freed from the usual regulations for judging, a new, interesting and very effective mechanism for selecting the dogs was introduced. Beautiful pictures of each finalist were posted around the ring and the dogs were introduced with the judges which had put them forward from each of the championship shows. Not all were able to be present but it was a nice touch.

Then the three judges were introduced by commentator, Andrew Brace who, understandably given his professionalism, now seems to have a monopoly of these events. None of the judges really needed any introduction, all being well known to virtually everyone present. They were Zena Thorn Andrews, Sean Delmar and Ken Sinclair.

Andrew explained that the dogs were to be judged as in a match but that each dog would be assessed separately by the judges. The draw was made using lotto style balls draw from a drum so the pairs were selected entirely at random. The dogs then left the ring and the first pair came in for assessment. Each judge was allocated an area in which to judge and each came to their own decision which they gave separately to the ring stewards. They did not compare notes and
neither were the results given out immediately. Both dogs then left the ring and the next pair came in until all the rounds were completed.

All the dogs then returned to the ring and Andrew asked – in true X-Factor style – those dogs which had made it through to the next round to come to the middle of the ring.

After the final round six dogs remained: the Dalmatian, the Vizsla, the Bulldog, the Akita, the German Shorthaired Pointer and the Boxer, with the Hungarian Vizsla eventually taking the top spot.

A wonderful event followed by an excellent evening.

View pictures by clicking here