Photo by William Moores
THERE WAS no doubt about it - the dog show was in town. The local newspaper had been well briefed, the banners on the lampposts pointed the way the Long Beach Convention Centre and the massive poster above the door welcomed everyone to 'the big show'.
Part of that big show was the second Eukanuba World Challenge, which this year was won by the Saluki bitch from Germany Dakira Sawahin, owned and handled by Dagmar Hintzenb erg-Freisleben.
This year a total of 52 countries competed in the four sections - 12 more than last year. The concept is brilliant and this year was much improved by the move from the Convention Centre ring to the main arena which had previously been reserved for the AKC National Championship groups, where it was incorporated into the evening presentation.
The opening ceremony, in which the flags of the nations were paraded into the ring, prompted a standing ovation from the crowd.
The UK interest on the first evening was in the familiar shape of Mike Gadsby who was handling Jason Lynn's Standard Poodle Am Ch/Ch Afterglow The Big Tease, 'Donny' to his many fans.
Mr Edd Bivin (USA) sent the dogs from Spain, Sweden and the UK through to the final.
In the second section Dr Paolo Dondina of Italy had a total of ten dogs to judge and from these the finalists were from Argentina, Mexico and the USA.
On day two it was the turn of Mr Andrew Brace (UK) to judge the nine dogs in the Asia and Oceana section which featured three glamorous white Toy Poodles from Australia, Japan and Taiwan. They made quite a line up. Last but not least was the second section of the Europe & Africa dogs (16) for Mr Rafael de Santiago (Puerto Rico) to judge. Here the finalists were from Germany, Hungary and Italy.
Finals judge from Switzerland was Herr Hans Muller, President of the FCI the organisation that had enabled so much of the co-operation with the sponsors and AKC.
In a carefully choreographed final, to allow the cameras and TV production team to maintain momentum the audience were kept guessing to the end when it was the Dortmund BIS winning Saluki Dakira Sawahin owned and handled by Dagmar Hintzenberg-Freisleben that was handed the big blue ribbon.
Eukanuba's great competition has gone from strength to strength in such a short time and they were generous and attentive hosts to all the competitors. It was a testimony to this care and attention that all the dogs involved in the competition were so well cared for and a credit to their breeders that they coped so well with the journey to Los Angeles.
There is little doubt that this truly global concept has no equal. Well done, Eukanuba!