(In the shadow of trees, with a cool view to a Croatian beach and the blue Mediterranean Sea, my thoughts to the Greek Cavalier Show:
Cavalier Specialty Show Athens:
When I became 14/15 years old, my father wanted me to get in touch with girls and he sent me to a school to learn classical dancing. The teacher taught us the basics in dancing; it was very easy: one step forward, two aside, one step backwards, two aside. Very simple, it took one evening and I was an expert...
After some time, education went further and besides the simple steps, we needed to move up and down with the steps, right-turn, left-turn, in-between steps, we needed to keep an appropriated distance to the girls and on top of this all we needed to keep up a decent conversation.
It all took several months (years) and the teacher could create some kind of complicated science to simple dancing and I was by far no expert anymore. When our legs became totally confused, the teacher told us to go back to the basic: listen to our heart and the music and slowly built up as far as we could, with the knowledge we had.
When we all start in Dog World, we do it because we love doggies. The love for our doggies is the basics!
Yes, I agree some people talk about money and it might be confusing, but NO...
Love for our doggies is the only true energy.
When we travel a lot, we meet a lot of people and hear many stories. One of the best stories was told by an older, much respected judge from Ireland; he said:
"Nowadays, some people pretend that judging is a complicated science and built up many confusing theories, but in basics it is very simple: It all started somewhere in a pub. Two people were sitting together, having a nice time, drink a little and talk about their dogs (they were proud of). Then, one said to the other: my dog is nicer than yours and after some friendly arguing they asked a third one to make the decision."
This was the first judge and because we all also like rules to improve quality in breeding (having control over mother nature) and because we also like to have control over judges, we wrote down what is "right & wrong" in a Breed Standard.
On top of this all, Beauty is no consistent fact and it might change during the years? We already saw Breed Standards change with the influence of serious politicians and Animal rights.
Emotions are difficult to control, but with some rules it might be easier?
Nowadays, judges need to look at at least 100 different qualities that are written down in a Breed Standard. But we can never be fully in controle over all emotions and when judges get confused they need to go back to their basics, which is the love for dogs with all the knowledge they've collected.
I like to start, telling that all Cavaliers were presented in excellent grooming condition; also handing was mostly done professional.
After an easy start with some lovely puppies, the first difficult decision had to be made in junior class males. One was absolutely nicer in head and expression, the other one was stronger in body and rear and there was nothing wrong with the head, but not as nice as..
I decided for the nicer head, but hey.. I had my doubts! It was a close finish and it was only an opinion.
The BIS puppy was an outstanding Blenheim female (name?) She was truly unique in quality (not a close finish) and when she develops well, she will be a star next year!
The most surprising decision was in a large number of females in champion class: In the beginning, I totally overlooked a Blenheim who was in body slightly out of coat, but she turned out to be the best of all in head, expression, body and movement (totally balanced).
The athletic young man who handle her, speeded with her around the ring like we are used to see almost everywhere around the world. It seems te be fashionable?
But CAVALIERS are considered to be A ROYAL BREED and ROYALTY NEVER RUNS.
Running makes the breed very untypical and after I got used to the speed and the handler slowed down a little, I was happy to point at her as the winner of this class.
After judging was done, I was told that the BIS + CAC winning bitch was daughter to the Res.CAC winning bitch; it turned out to be a family affair.
Most of the qualities I found were carefully written down by my secretary, Athina Georgiou.
Many thanks to her and my dear friend Lygourgos Zouboulidis took care of all rules and regulations in the ring.
All Cavaliers were adorable and out of respect, I tried to describe (without emotions) what I saw and tried as much as possible to avoid to use "right or wrong."
All Cavaliers were shown with love and joy and it was a pleasure meeting them all and get to know them in the short time we judges have. One Cavalier female was shown with a short tail and it looked unnatural to me, but I did not take it into consideration as my eyes cannot make an x-ray and if the tail was docked, it will not have influence on her breeding.
The atmosphere at the show was nicely relaxed and friendly; organization was perfect. Hospitality before and after: Super!
Big THANKS to all people involved.
Cavaliers in Greece will be on my mind forever.
Few words written by International F.C.I. Judge Mr. Hans Boelaars:
My kennel name is Van Het LAMSLAG.
“Lamslag” doesn't mean anything in itself. It is the very old Dutch name of our late-18th Century house.
I got my first dog in 1965 or 1966, when I was 15-16 years old. She was a B/T Standard Long-hair Dachshund.
My second dog was a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel in 1968.
I still breed and show Cavaliers, while also enjoy having a few Chihuahuas.
I have bred all Dachshund varieties, but I gave up in the late 1980s.
I also bred Afghans and won my first BIS at a small show with my home-bred Afghan in the mid-'70s.
Our last Best In Show wat at the Amsterdam Winner in 2009, with my Cavalier named Vinchy van het Lamslag.
We continue to breed Cavaliers on a small scale.
I will never forget my first Dachshund, Juno. She was not a successful show dog but she was truly loved.
The first World Champion was in 1973. It was our smooth-coat Dachshund, Huibje van het Lamslag.
My Afghan, Khozar van het Lamslag, still lives in my heart and memory.
Among the Cavaliers, it is more difficult to say, since there have been so many. Constantijn & Donavan van het Lamslag were my first really famous Cavaliers. Last but not least, I should mention my first top winning Cavalier in the USA, Corneel van het Lamslag, owned by Janet York.
The first breed I was qualified to judge was Cavaliers. The authorization was issued by the Dutch Kennel Club in 1974.
Dachshunds followed a couple of years later.
International F.C.I. Judge:
All breeds in group 4, 6, 8 & 9.
Group 1: Schipperke.
Group 3: Australian Silky Terrier,
English Toy Terrier
Group 5: Mexican and Peruvian Hairless.
I have judged in almost all the European countries and the USA.
Sometimes it seems that the Dog World is becoming more and more competitive, but we must not forget that we all started out as a result of our passion for dogs. We should try to relax and love our dogs for no reason other than that they are our dogs.
The Dog World should not be about power or winning.
Last but no least: I am happily married to my wife Gerda since 1974.