Longchamp 1994 – an experience of a peculiar kind
We have been to many dogshows in most of the West-European countries, but it was only in Longchamp this year that we were able to learn how such a show actually goes off.
After we had (as an exception) arrived quite early, we had had enough time to look for our boxes and rings. We had known from the year before that the SCC is unable to place all Spaniels together cohesively, not to speak of concentrating the whole group 8 in one area.
So it was a simple thing for us to find the boxes for our Irish right in front of the grounds, and in the far end the boxes for the water dogs.
Because of the fact that there was only one judge available for the 13 water dogs that had been registered, we expected to be through with it soon to be able to spend our time with the Spaniels who are, as experience teaches, always the ones who have their turn at the end.
Our judge came quite early and looked at the „material“ that was provided to him. He also chatted with the exhibitors and said to one person who came many miles and who owned an outstanding specimen of his breed, which was green (colour changed by the author), that he preferred pink in this breed. He talked to another exhibitor about the dog such-and-such, who would certainly not get an „excellent“ today, not even a „very good“.
When the judging was to begin, he counted the number of his beloved and – lo and behold! - one dog was still missing. So, we had to wait – really long- until this exhibitor had also arrived.
The evaluation took very long, even though the single decisions had been hinted in advance, because he had to declare his idea about the three different breeds to the exhibitors who couldn't talk to him long enough earlier: actually one single breed in three different sizes – he did not notice the differences in morphology and character that have been conspicuous on the ground.
In the ring he confirmed completely his predictions he had made in front of the boxes: the pink dog was chosen over the green one, and such-and-such achieved – who would have thought it – a „good“.
To console the owner of the green male, his pink female became BOB amongst the pink and green dogs, although she, also according to the owner's opinion, was about two bits worse. The dog they had been waiting for so long became – who would have thought it – best of breed. But, considering his descent according to the catalogue, he could only have become best of hybrid because he is a F1 generation of two of the represented breeds (what explains why the judge insisted on his theory of one single breed so very much).
However, this dog appeared in the new, so-called hunter's clip (we feel like calling it cartoon-clip or sheep-clip) - what, of course, meant a giant plus as opposed to other qualities.
We have always been happy when a judge took his time to chat a bit next to the boxes – yet we couldn't imagine that this could happen before the judging.
The crowning moment of the day was the working ability test, the so-called TAN. According to the regulations relating to this, the dogs and their handlers were to stand next to eachother with a gap between them, and then walk a slalom around the other pairs. Then they wanted to test if the dogs were shot-proofed and in the end, the dogs had to show that they go into the water and, if possible, also retrieved.
There would have been enough time for slalom and shot between the end of evaluations and the end of the event – and enough people who could act as helpers or figurants would have been there, too. But this opportunity had not been taken. So after the event, we went to the water alone with the judge – after more than one hour of time had been wasted due to ambiguous instructions concerning the meeting point.
So we got out of the car in the driving rain and the judge, armed with an umbrella, broke off an arm-length, highly-branched and well-leafed branch. When he noticed that a dummy had been brought along for every testee, he threw it away with relief.
The riverside was stabilized with planks, about 25 cms high, that had to be crossed by the dogs. First we had to throw the dummy, then send out the dog for retrieving.
The first dog also went well into the water, but then on his way to the dummy he noticed the smell of a duck and showed us for the next 20 minutes an outstanding water work with this duck.
Meanwhile, the second dog had been sent who retrieved the dummy well, the way he learned it, so that the third dog could also do his work. The youngest of those four testees couldn't put up with the plank barrier, there was no other entrance, so therefore he didn't come to the evaluation.
After the first dog had finally become tired, he had been called and finally retrieved the dummy that had been thrown once more.
So three dogs had passed their TAN, when asked for the shot, the judge only replied, that was just a matter of form, it was important for the water dogs to go into the water.
Written by Rainier T Georgii, in German and translated into English.
German version will be posted.
Copyright: I.F. for Rainier T Georgii
Document cannot be reproduced without written permission of Barbet: French National Treasure