This weekend Leeloo and I attended a different kind of dog show. It was Leeloo's first show in 2 and a half years and she was a little baffled but game to be fed treats just the same. Her attitude toward showing hasn't changed an ounce, "This is stupid but if you feed me I'll take your bribes and put up with this nonsense". The show is put on by the Canine Association of Nova Scotia which is held under the purview of the Canine Federation of Canada. The CFC (or FCC as it is largely a Francophone organization started in Quebec) is held using the rules and regulations of the FCI - Federal Cynologique International - whose standards are what most of the world uses. It is the original purebred dog standard classification system.
The shows are quite a bit different than shows in North America, the two biggest differences being that there are 10 groups instead of 7 and the judges are required to write critiques for each of the dogs. They are expected to be able to justify, verbally and in writing, why they did or did not choose your dog. They may use a lot of detail or very little, but they must provide you with a copy of their thoughts for your records. The judges are almost always international - no Canadian judges and only certain American ones.
I'll keep it brief but in order to obtain a Championship a dog must acquire 3 Excellent ratings from 3 different judges in order to be considered a Champion. An interesting thing to note is that you don't have to beat any other dogs to get another 'leg' toward your championship, you just have to be awarded an Excellent - it is entirely up to the judge whether they think your dog is worthy of a potential Championship status, it is not dependent on the quality of the other dogs in the ring. Different, no? This means that if there are 4 dogs and all are awarded Excellent they all move one step closer to their Championship - however, only Excellents can compete for Best of Breed and then move onto the group level. If a dog in the breed is not awarded an Excellent they are done for the day - at the Saturday afternoon show not one of the 5 German Shepherd Dogs was awarded an Excellent and therefore no Best of Breed given or allowed to compete in group (at a CKC or AKC show there would be anarchy if that happened). The ratings are Excellent, Very Good, Good and Sufficient. There are other levels of Championships but for our purposes I'll leave it at what Leeloo and I intended to do this weekend.
Our judges on the first day were from Norway and Belgium. I didn't have a lot of hope for Leeloo because in Europe they prefer a darker dog, less leg and a lot less white. The first judge was so torn with Leeloo, I think he really wanted to give her an Excellent and moved her 5 times around the ring but in the end he settled for a Very Good. He did check the standard and I think he was looking up the white ... well, we've certainly had that happen before! The judge in the afternoon also gave Leeloo a Very Good but made a point of saying loud enough for me to hear as she dictated in her Dutch accent to the ring steward, that this bitch is right on the very maximum of acceptable white. She repeated it just so we were all clear. This is the critique from the first judge - I agree with several points, all things I already knew about her - except the movement in the rear and stiffness in shoulder, Leeloo has a lovely open gait. He wanted more fill and depth in the muzzle and I'm not sure what he meant by 'young' - she's 4 and certainly not going to fill out any more!
It's interesting to see the differences between the judges from yesterday and today and so very helpful in getting an idea of what they were looking at and for. This judge used the word excellent to refer to her movement - which one is correct? Since I know she is a free and clean mover I'll stick with this one! It also depends on what the judge considers 'close' or 'clean' or even what they mean by good. Even a written critique can't get you into the judge's head. The judges today were from Columbia and Brazil, not only different countries but a different continent from yesterday. I can see that for Leeloo I will have to look for the South American judges to award her the final Excellent needed for her CFC Championship. Leeloo also won the Scent Hound Group under the judge who wrote this critique but since the Best in Show judge was the one from Norway I knew we didn't have a hope!
And this is what the cards look like. They are simple little index card sized certificates and to be able to say you have a CFC Champion you have to give three of these to the Show Sectretary who will print off a larger certificate, much like the one the CKC or the AKC will send you in the mail - except you get it right at the show. Our next CFC show is not scheduled until the Spring so I'll certainly be taking Leeloo to that to finish her second championship. Then we start work on her and Cora's American Championships. Cora won't be entered in a CFC show until she is a little more mature, probably next Fall. Added to which it would get very expensive if I was showing Leeloo, Cora and Esme all at once!
A very nice lady with the Beagle took some photos of Leeloo so hopefully she can send me the photos of Leeloo's 'not best movement' and 'excellent type and movement' and you can be the judge of who is more correct!