par Karl DonvilLovanium celebrates it's 30 edition.
Notwithstanding the decreasing numbers everywhere in dogdom Lovanium managed to stand hold as good as possible. Compared to last year there was a loss of "only 35 entries" and that means 1498 dogs found their way from 15 different countries, not only from the neighboring countries but also from as far a Guadeloupe, Reunion, and Australia, which is amazing. Of course, the majority were from around. 1112 Dogs from Belgium were in competition, 156 from the Netherlands, 96 from Germany, 95 from France and 14 from the United Kingdom. The committee was happy with the result, realizing that it is not simple to maintain more or less the same number of entries.
Lovanium must have build up a good reputation over the years and people are aware that every dog receives a vetbed, and the main-ring-winners get in-kind prices, this year IKEA items. Some people were somewhat disappointed that they did not get a rosette or something. For the regular exhibitors, it's not necessary, they have plenty of stuff like that, but occasional exhibitors need something to take something home, something that they can show.
I love the fact that this is a regular two-day show and it proves that this concept is solid and popular. Good competition is always attractive. Just look at how many people enter for a World- or European Dog show, knowing that there is only a little chance to win and notwithstanding the fact that they don't hesitate to enter, book hotels and travel far. Why? Only because if they win, the glory is a thousandfold bigger! Same with the lottery? The more they can win the more people will enter, even while they realize that the chance to win is inversely proportional to the number of participants. Of course the location of the Brabant Halls, close to Brussels, very central in the country and not even 1km away from the Highway E40, one of the traffic arteries of Europe and provided with plenty of parking space around. Indeed these bonuses also contribute to success. The trade standholders are not forgotten here. Compared to other shows (except for a few more) they receive tickets for dinner every day of the show, and that is appreciated. Visitors had the opportunity to see 3 of the newly FCI-recognized breeds here, the Biewer, the Continental Bulldog, and the Prague Ratler.
Only 11 judges were officiating and that resulted in an extremely high dogs/judging day rate of 75, which is proof of a very efficient judging-pannel make up. And we have to take into consideration that we had one novice judge: Mrs.Melissa Apers for the English Cocker Spaniels. And Mrs.Leona Dams-Reynaert who judged one day only, but had the best single-day score of the weekend with no less than 129 entries from Group 2 and 10. Mr.Rodi Hübenthal from Norway had the second-best score of Saturday and of the weekend with 111 entries and 169 respectively. His wife Wera had a very good score on Sunday with 109 dogs and that included 47 Chinese Crested dogs. Mrs.Nadja Timmermans-Kedenko from the Netherlands a total of 155 dogs over the weekend. She had a few high scoring breeds like the 32 Aussies and the 30 Bernese Mountain Dogs. Mr.Luis Catalan from Portugal, judged 72 dogs on Saturday and 75 on Sunday when he had 29 Bulldogs in his ring and that is good as the popularity of the Bulldogs is going slightly down in Belgium. After a quiet Saturday Mr.Istvan Csik from Germany was a lot more busy on Sunday when 101 dogs out of Group 9 breeds were after his judgment. The best-scoring judge of the weekend was Mr.Yochai Barac Lifac from Israel. Another proof that exotic judges, in the sense of hardly known or unpredictable judges, are always a good choice. He judged a selection of breeds out of Groups 3, 5, 8 and 9 and had 81 dogs on Saturday and 96 on Sunday.
At 3 o'clock everything is ready for the finals. On Saturday 6 groups were on turn, the finalists of 726 dogs and even then, with 770 dogs, Sunday had more entries. Mr.Claudio de Giuliani was invited from Italy to judge on both days but also to pick out the Overall winning dog of this 30th edition out of the group winners that his colleagues had sent him. Lovanium still keeps on placing 4 dogs each time and places all 10 group winners for the Best In Show, instead placing just 3 and giving a 4th place ex-aequo to all the other 7 dogs. Fortunately, more shows tend to change to 3 dogs. So, Mr.de Giuliano had to make some difficult decisions. His 3rd place went to the Thai Ridgeback "Ujana vom Crown Hill". His master Serge Leemans from Belgium entered him in Open Class to be judged by Mr de Giuliano himself. Mrs.Timmermans chose him later as her Group winner. 5 Thais were entered, which is a comparatively high score. Ujana is 2 years old now. Peter Aerts from Belgium was kept in tension when he was one of the two last ones to be placed. But he did not make it and ended Runner up to Best In Show with his Bouvier des Flandres "Belordeal Owen". Not bad at all after he beat 16 other Bouviers judged by Mr.Theo Leenen and was chosen Best In Group by Mr.Lifac. Belordeal was entered in Champion Class males at 4 years old and is co-owned by Peter Aerts and Patrick Buysse from Belgium. Mrs.Julia Nad from Germany was the lucky winner Best In Show with her Medium-Sized Black Poodle "Nice Steps For Me Only". Bred in Latvia almost 5 years ago, he was entered in Champion Class in competition to 4 others in his color for Mr.Lifac who made him Best Of Breed while Mrs.Hübenthal crowned him winner of Group 9.
I don't doubt that next year you will deal again with an interesting and competitive judging panel compiled by the Lovanium Committee. And you will have no valid reason to not enter your dog if you are after strong competition.