Dog trains man

Sunday, May 15, 2011

My first beauty contest

We are up-hill, what more do you need?
Do our dogs move boundaries? Since I have attended my first ever beauty contest today and I actually enjoyed it, I would say yes.

After deciding that Kenzo needs to be either showed, neutered - or probably both, we visited our very first Hovawart show today, to "sniff" out the atmosphere in preparation of Kenzo's first appearance in September's show.

And we have no regrets. Wonderful dogs of course. But we also met a lot of interesting people. A lot of breeders actually. We talked with some of them and they had so much passion. One talked about his latest litter. Deciding to hold on to his last two puppies that didn't find a home before the end of their socialisation window. Now that's responsible breeding. As it should be.

I was actually most worried about the parking lot, having heard dogs were left in hot cars during shows. But how differently that turned out. Yes, there were dogs left in cars. But they were placed in the shade of trees, with an open hood pointing away of the road - where the dogs enjoyed a good afternoon nap confined in the car. Alright, they were Hovawarts, so I admit we were accompanied by a barking orchestra guiding our way through the parking lot.

I was also impressed with some of the alterations people made to their cars to act as a "Hovie" vehicle. One even showed an SUV with a garden-like interior, complete with garden fences. Travelling safe can be fun too!

Today's winner passing by: Hertos !
The show itself was very interesting as well. The judge gave her verdicts out loud which was very informative. What I loved was that she not only talked colors and looks, but also took stamina and temperament into the equation. Learning her background was equally impressive, as she had a Master's degree and worked with the institute of Genetics, at the University of Bern (Switzerland).

The winner of today's show - Hertos - was an awesome dog. Beautiful and with a lot of temperament. Almost as beautiful as Kenzo of course.

A day with good info, and enough for us to start prepping Kenzo for his first show in September this year - we were too late to register for this one. He will do great on all obedience-related stuff, like standing still and running through the ring without jumping. But we have to work with Kenzo keeping his cool on the touch of strange people. Yet some of our new Hovawart friends got us worried and thought Kenzo could have too much "over-bite" and risks disqualifying. We'll see. Doing the show is the goal, and after all neutering Kenzo is the inevitable result whatever the outcome. So let's enjoy the ride.

Today we also met a "Blau schein" Hovawart. A Hovawart with a special blue-ish glow over his coat. He was not judged as it not an official color, but boy what a good looking fellow he was and with an awesome temperament. He was pretty popular with the ladies too. Which leaves me with the only down-side of today, it is difficult to walk away from utter in- and outside beauty, just because it is against a general definition.


  1. Already I am impressed with your "beauty contest" - to hear a judge had a genetics degree would be unheard of in the U.S. I also liked that she "talked colors and looks" and brought "stamina and temperament into the equation." It sounds like your shows are much better than ours too.

    I can't wait to read about Kenzo's first show!

  2. @Mel
    I don't know if it is regular or just an exception, but I was impressed too when I checked out her background. In one instance she even judged the temperament higher then looks, as one dog was judged "very good" because of her high spirits. Even when she did not have the "necessary" brown marks in her face (with black/brown Hovawarts).

    The Danish Hovawart Club takes it all very seriously. When we would want to breed with Kenzo he has to have a "good" judgement on a dog show, he needs x-rays to prove to be free of hip dysplasia and he needs to pass a mental test where they expose him to scary things ...

  3. I just found your blog on twitter i've never heard of a Havawart.

  4. This is so exciting. Your dog show sounds very different from the ones I have attended here in Canada. Much better organized with a very highly trained judge. I'm so glad to hear everyong was so friendly and offered you such great advice.

    Lots of luck in preparing for Kenzo's big entrance. Win or lose, I have no doubt he will be a huge sensation in September.

  5. Sounds like a really interesting event!

  6. How exciting to be entering Kenzo in his first show! We are very excited for you. You will have to keep us up on the preparations. Good luck!

  7. I remember taking Jersey to her first dog show... It was a disaster and she HATED it!! I suppose that is why she never made champion :O

    It sounds like the Danish Hovawart club judges with FCI rules, which are better that AKC or Kennel Club rules, since traits like temperament are given greater importance over beauty.

    You guys are going to have fun in September!!

  8. Before adopting Honey, I was one of those people who found dog shows pointless and potentially cruel. I'm still horrified that in this country, tail docking and other cosmetic surgeries are required by AKC breed standards. And that some breeds are unable to reproduce naturally due to breed standards.

    But meeting Honey's breeder and seeing the care that goes into breeding and raising healthy dogs has moved some of my boundaries.

    I now see a lot of what happens in breeding and showing circles as the continuation of humans working with dogs to create strong companion and working relationships.

    It takes a lot of care to breed healthy and temperamentally sound dogs. And I'm very thankful when I hear about the breeders who take their responsibilities seriously.

    It sounds like you are fortunate to have found caring Hovawart breeders. I hope you have a great time working with Kenzo to get his championships.

  9. @Ashley
    Thanks for leaving a note. Knowing we introduced the Hovawart with somebody makes our day :)

  10. @Kristine
    Thanks for wishing us luck. It is always exciting to start something new and not knowing how it will turn out. We will need all the luck we can get :)

  11. @Karen
    In case that will happen to us I will also just write Kenzo hated it :)

    They are based on FCI rules indeed. A lot of national Hovawart clubs take it even further, under the guidance of the IHF (International Hovawart Federation). Focus is thankfully still on the working dog characteristics and not all about looks.

  12. @Pamela
    Wow I did not know the AKC still allows that, and actually still promotes it. In Denmark tail docking etc. thankfully is forbidden by law. Owners of dogs with docked tails must have proof that the tail was removed for health reasons.

    In the rules of the Danish Hovawart Club it states explicitly that it is not allowed to remove "bear-claws" (it that english? I mean a wildgrown nail on the thumb of the rear paws). And judges are instructed not to take them into account.

    I understand your attitude towards the showing and breeding scene and there is still a lot that needs to be improved. Especially with some breeds as you mention. To be honest it gives me mixed feelings to be part of it. But I decided to venture out and talk with some of the people there and give them the benefit of the doubt. So far I liked what I have seen and heard, but I realize the scenario in other countries or with other breed clubs can be entirely different.

  13. @Pup Fan and @24pawsoflove
    Thanks for your support. We will sure keep you updated!

  14. Good wishes for the exciting journey ahead for you and Kenzo!

    I am interested in hearing more about the mental test. Is it similar to the Danish Rottweiler Club's mental test? This is a description that someone posted in a forum quite some time ago - Or to the ATTS temperament test in the US?

  15. Very good question! The mental test from the Hovawart is based on the Danish Rottweiler's club test. The test is a lot alike, actually almost identical - which makes sense as we are talking about two breeds mostly used as guarding dogs. I am not sure about the following, but I think both clubs are working together in further improving and evaluating the test.

  16. Thank you and I am really looking forward to your impressions and discussion when it is Kenzo's turn for the mental test. Especially interested in whether/how the test has changed, since the description I last saw was from 2002! Oh, almost forgot to mention that your beauty show sounds similar to the sieger-style shows for Rottweilers. Did they give oral/written critiques to each dog?

  17. @kathi
    I have a Danish version of the test, I will try to see if I can get my hands on an English version.

    And yes, they gave both oral and written critiques to each dog. Was very informative for me being a newbie in this area.

  18. So glad to hear that your first beauty contest experience was a good one.
    I sure wish the judges in the US would give their verdicts out loud, that would be helpful.
    I just love meeting new people at the shows that we go to, it's one of my favorite parts about it!

  19. @Jen
    And I carried so much prejudice, I should be ashamed of myself. It was a great experience, and we are looking forward to September. And meet a lot of new Hovawart lovers in the process :)


Blogger Template Created by pipdig