Dog trains man

Monday, September 5, 2011

Father and son

Finally the big day arrived. Kenzo participated in his first dog show ever and delivered a "good". But we will remember this day for something completely different.

4 years ago, when we got Kenzo from the breeder, we also received a stack of papers. Inside all the papers was a photo of his dad "Odin". A personal message to Kenzo was written on the back. Kenzo's mother was a black and brown Hovawart. But Odin was a blonde, just like Kenzo. We always kept that photo and wondered if Kenzo would grow up to look like - and act like - his dad Odin.

The breeder unfortunately retired, and contact with the litter and both parents was lost before it could start. But we were glad we had the photo. I researched Odin, officialy named "Chaccomo vom Bohrertal", and found out he even made it to Danish Champion 2009. And when Kenzo reached maturity, he did become the spitting image of his dad on the photo.

When we drove up the parking lot to the show area, people were walking their Hovawarts and made show preparations. I couldn't believe my eyes when we drove by one particular couple. The resemblance with Kenzo was striking, and then it flashed through my mind: could it be Odin?.

What must have looked like an emergency stop, I hit the brakes and opened the car window, asking: "Is that Odin?!". The man, surprised by the sudden commotion, gave a hesitated "Yes?". And I answered: "I have his son in the back" and got Kenzo out of the car so we all could meet.

It felt like a family reunion. Kenzo and Odin couldn't care less, but for us humans it was a little emotional roller-coaster. For us it was awesome to finally meet Odin in real life. And for Odin's parents it was awesome to meet the lost son.

Kenzo (left) and his dad Odin (right)
As we were all nervous for the show, this wasn't what we needed to calm down, but we got through the day before entering some state of nervous break down. Kenzo, aka "Sveablik's Igor", got his "good" and we were all proud.

Due to my ill preparations and non-existing knowledge of ring-etiquette, Kenzo pulled this one through all by himself. Odin's dad gave a lot of good tips from his vast show experience and told were we - read: me - should improve. Odin himself scored an "excellent".

After we came out of the ring, people came to see Kenzo up close, arguing how it could be he didn't score higher. A Swedish breeder fell in love with him and asked me a thousand questions about Kenzo, scribbling everything down on a piece of paper.

From the jury report it showed that Kenzo scored highest on the shape of his head. It is so distinctive, and also what he has in common with Odin. The reason I could pick Odin out of 60 Hovawarts in a split second was his face. Other areas praised in the report were the width and depth of his chest, and his overall angles. And last but not least, probably the most important of all, he was judged a "Freundliches Wesen". German for a "Kind Spirit". Thats my boy.

We had to leave early and couldn't stay to see the finale, as we had to see to Viva back home. All those dogs would just have been too much for her. It was an amazing day, mostly thanks to Odin and his dad. A dog show can appear to be all talk about lines and characteristics. But when you know and love the dogs personally, it is so much more than that. I am so glad to have found this missing piece in Kenzo's tale. Boy, I am so proud of him, that sometimes it hurts.


  1. I smiled all the way through this post. How absolutely exhilarating and lovely! Congratulations on finding Odin and a big hug to Kenzo for a job well done!

  2. That is wonderful that you got to see Kenzo's dad! and even more amazing that you picked him out from driving by in your car! I can only imagine the emotions you were feeling!

    Congratulations on Kenzo receiving a "good" at the show, I am curious to learn about the show world in your area as it seems so different than ours here!
    I just love meeting all types of new people at the shows we attend, it is so nice to talk to others who share the same love for the breed!

  3. @Kim
    Thanks Kim :)

    Thank you! These shows all around one breed have a very special atmosphere. And there were people from all nationalities. Everybody was very supportive and cheering for each other.
    What differences do you see? I am a show newbie...

  4. So did Kenzo's breeder not own Odin? I thought it was pretty cool that you could recognize Odin from the features in Kenzo.

    I understand about being not prepared for a dog show. When I took Jersey to her first show, I thought that I was *totally* prepared. Boy, was I wrong. They only way to get good in the show ring is to keep showing and to watch other, more seasoned handlers.

    Congrats on Kenzo having the "best head" :D

  5. @Karen
    Thanks :) ... and I hope we can put it in the time, next to all the other things we do. It would be great to see how far we can go.

    The breeder owned Kenzo's mother, Freja.

  6. What an amazing experience! Not knowing where Shiva came from, I can only imagine how exhilarating it would be to meet Kenzo's father in the flesh!

    Congratulations on all your success with him. He sounds like such an incredible dog and I see that kindness in your words and in every photo. It's due to your encouragement that he has blossomed so well. In the hands of a different family, he could have turned out much differently. You are both so lucky to have found each other!

    By the way, I love the name Odin, and planned to name my first male dog by that moniker.

  7. It's very nice that Kenzo's handsomeness was recognized by the judges. But how could it not be.

    I think the "Freudliches Wesen" is the best recognition of all.

  8. @Kristine and @Pamela
    Thanks for recognizing the kindness. It is his best quality and what I am most proud of.

  9. The dogs here are given points, instead of a rating, so I am wondering how that works up by you. For instance Leroy needs 15 points to earn his AKC championship, but the points are based on how many dogs are entered.
    From what I can tell from the picture, your ring looks a lot bigger that ours, which is nice!
    I also noticed that there is 2 colors in the ring, which is true here too, but sometimes the classes are broken down into colors. Ex. Leroy is sometimes entered into the Any Other Color Than Black class. Do they do that by you?

  10. @jen
    A championship is earned by 3x "excellent" on different shows. The classes are always standard: puppies, open class, working dog class, champions, veterans.
    Love those big rings, not always the case though. The Hovawart club also always shows outdoors, which provides them with a lot of space.

    Surprising with those differences, thought that was all preset on FCI level.

  11. That's awesome! I love that fate brought you a family reunion. :)

  12. @PupFan
    The best things always come unexpected :)

  13. I saw the picture when you tweeted about it earlier in the week, so I was super excited to see you post about it! I didn't realize the reunion with Odin was so significant, and I hope you were able to exchange info with his handler (owner?) to perhaps keep in touch.

    I know very little about the show world, American (where I am) or otherwise, so it was really neat to read about in detail. It's true, sometimes our dogs carry us through when we are clueless! Kenzo's such a handsome boy. Congratulations!

    (I was confused to see a "Jen" had already replied, and wondered if I had and forgot. That was a weird moment.)

  14. Wow, that's pretty terrific. Congrats on your first show!

  15. @Jen
    Hi "Elka" Jen :) I have his contact details, and hope we can keep in touch. His owner is a Hovawart show veteran so I am sure we will at least see them in upcoming shows. I am not sure if Kenzo will pursue a show career, but we will definitely visit all Hovawart shows!

  16. I love this story! Two questions: What does "Sveablik's Igor" mean, i.e., does Kenzo have a stage name? And is that Swedish breeder looking to make Kenzo a papa? Better not tell him in advance if so; he'll get VERY excited!

  17. Shhhh, Viva could get jealous!

    Hi Edie! welcome back!

    I don't know if this is just Europe, but pedigree's have an official name. Usually the kennel name followed by a name starting with a litter syllable. In Kenzo's case the breeder/kennel's name was "Sveablik" and he was from the 9th litter ("I"). I cannot get rid of that name, it will always be his "offical" name :)

    The Swedish breeder expressed huge interest at least wanting to follow Kenzo and see how he progresses. Still more is needed to make it possible should he be used in breeding: HD x-rays and 2x mental tests. I think he would make the best breeding candidate ever, but don't we all :)

  18. I would love to meet more family from our Sam and Monty! How lucky you are to have met Kenzo's father!



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