by Clive DaviesI first visited Tulln on the occasion of the European Show in 2005 and it is hard to imagine that three years have elapsed since then. We took the train from Vienna both days and enjoyed the scenery as the route followed the Danube upstream on a sunny Fall morning.
The extensive show site sits on the banks of the Danube. There is an additional, new 5700 square metre exhibition hall. At the same time, and for one entry fee, one could visit a cat show, a rabbit show and a poultry show.
I should mention something about transport in Austria. If a bus, streetcar or train is a minute late those waiting become somewhat paranoid and wonder why the delay.
For me there is a feeling of excitement on arriving at a European show. There are many old friends to greet and new ones to be made. As promised there was no hassle for the press to enter even though I had not advised the Club of our intention to cover the show.
Smoking was not permitted in the exhibition halls. In an area where it seems that almost everybody smokes to excess this was a bonus
The entry was a little under three thousand but regardless of what the actual official entry was there seemed to be an equal number of dogs wandering around the show with their owners which were obviously not entered and it did not seem to be a matter of great concern for the show officials.
This was the first European show that Mary has attended in some time and I found her impressions to be of great interest.
She prefers the North American style of show where there is more room for spectators at ring side and usually some chairs. She prefers that the grooming take place in a separate area as crates and X-pens piled up at ringside make it difficult for spectators.
``There were some very nice dogs. The handling was much improved and the dogs were under control. The grooming varied in quality. There is a baby class of 3 to 6 months and the puppies acted like puppies. There was an atmosphere of good sportsmanship and the examinations by the judges were very thorough`
I should add that a note in the catalogue stated that it “was forbidden to use and spray, chalk or hairdryer”. This statement would put the fear of death into North American exhibitors.
It did not take me long to locate the Royal Canin stand where we were hosted by WDPA President and public relations guru Paul Cech for what has become for me the traditional mid morning glass of ‘sekt’ (a delightfully refreshing bubbly).
In a very welcome gesture on the part of the Austrian Kennel Club the Press were invited to watch the groups with the judges at ringside and to enjoy even more sekt between picture- taking.
The panel was composed mostly of Austrian judges but there were some very interesting judges from other countries. Lizabeth Mach of Switzerland is popular among her fellow judges as is Monique van Brempt of Belgium; Martin and Mary O’Donoghue of Ireland; Cheryl Bawden and Sarah Foster from the UK; Ove Germundsen of Sweden who will be judging at Caledon this year. Not the least is my good friend Zjelka Fon Zidar who two years ago escorted me on a fascinating tour covering western Slovenia.
It was here that I met Woody Nelson, and AKC judge, artist and Old English Sheepdog breeder from Washington DC. “I had some very nice Bearded Collies. Four of five could have won Best of Breed. My BOB was a very nice moving dog. Today I did Old English and my BOB and BOS he lots of type. I find that they have the same sire”. When asked about the incongruity of a Bobtail with a full tail he responded: “To me the tail does not change the dog that much. A good Bobtail is a good Bobtail”.
At this level of competition there is great pressure of the judges to bring their group judging to a speedy conclusion. At Tulln there was no pre judging in a separate nearby ring so the judges were under even more pressure. So much so that one renowned judge did not feel it necessary to actually lay a hand on the dogs in the group ring.
Originally Lizbeth Mach was scheduled to judge BIS but had a travel conflict and could not stay. She was replaced by Steffi Kirschbichler of Austria who has long experience of judging in European show rings.
Best in Show was a three year old Dalmatian Lacrima Christi Cro A Porter owned by Michael Lehmann of Hohne. Germany..
One Terrier which really impressed me was an American Airedale bred by Mareth Kipp and owned in Holland by Bouma and Steinbach. It was however to be another Airedale, his kennel mate, three year old Ch. No Doubt of Malton which was to win breed and group and to eventually win Reserve BIS.
This was an excellent show if somewhat small by European International Show standards.
The next day we bade farewell to this great city and took the hydrofoil down the Danube to the even more exciting city of Budapest and the 2008 European Winners Show.