Dear Readers,

If all breeders, exhibitors, handlers, dog judges – and, by and large, everyone closely or remotely involved in the FCI’s dog shows and championships – know the exact denomination of our large federation, and even have knowledge of the city and country that are home to its global headquarters, not so long ago, not many inhabitants of Thuin and its neighbouring localities knew about the FCI and its corporate name. But things have changed a lot! The most significant burst in our local promotion scheme took place with the celebration of our Centenary in 2011, when our city was elevated to the status of Thuin, World Capital of Dogs. The latest large-scale campaign was conducted on the occasion of the inauguration of the new extension to our offices in 2015.

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Marie Luna Durán
FCI Marketing & Public Relations Manager
FCI Show Judges Commission - Activity Report

As usual, our annual meeting was held in the first week of February. Our hosts were our colleagues from Luxembourg. We are grateful for their kind hospitality and for our memories of an educative, meaningful and agreeable weekend with a nice an unforgettable trip along the river Moselle, a visit to the European City of Schengen and a special Winery.

Special was the visit of our FCI president, Mr Rafael de Santiago, who paid tribute to Horst Kliebenstein (Germany) as Honorary President of our commission, with the first FCI Golden Pin. Once again, a big thank you to Horst who has lead this commission for a long time. He did this with great spirit, enthusiasm and knowledge.

Again it was a weekend with a lot of work and discussion in two committees that lead to several important proposals for the FCI General Committee. More and more non-European countries enter the Show Judges Commission and that is a great achievement. This is why both commissions decided to once have their meetings outside Europe in a few years. Only together we can make it work.

As every year, the FCI General Committee decided months after our meeting about our proposals, so a lot of time has been left waiting for answers. This time the proposals were discussed in the June meeting in Milan.

The proposals that were sent to the FCI General Committee were nearly all accepted. This is the crown on hard work and good preparation by all of us. Thank you all for your cooperation! However, we are not very happy with the fact that the General Committee did not motivate their rejection of some proposals (as the guidelines for writing reports on dogs). We asked the FCI General Committee to motivate negative decisions, but until now we have not received any feedback.

Joint Meeting with our colleagues from the Show Commission

Like every year, we organised a joint meeting with the Show Commission, also in Luxembourg. It is usually the last meeting in our weekend in which we talk about topics that involve both commissions. But we also inform each other about the specific topics that can have an influence on the other commissions.

Mutual recognition of judges by FCI and KC

The former President and former Vice-president of our commission discussed a concept statement in London, twice in 2013. This lead to a revised statement and some agreements that the two boards (FCI and KC) discussed further in 2015. It was surprising to read in social media and from a press release in Our Dogs that there has been an agreement between the KC and the FCI.

Of course we asked the FCI General Committee to explain this agreement. They informed us that the FCI agreed with the KC that they would write the document “clean” and send it to the FCI to be signed by the President. The FCI’s intention was to inform the members and our commission immediately after it was officially signed, but the KC decided to make it public without any signatures. Until now it is unclear if the statement has been signed by both parties.

FCI Show Judges Directory

The FCI approved to coordinate this website from January 1st, 2014. More and more countries participate in this international list and more and more organisers use it to develop their judges lists for shows. From December 2014, an English version of the Administrator´s and User´s manuals has been provided. This information was sent to the national canine organisations (NCOs).

Breed-specific education

Our aim to have a uniform education for every individual breed, developed by the country of origin of the breed for international use became reality. The FCI General Committee approved our proposal and sent our PowerPoint presentations to all NCOs with the request to develop PowerPoint presentations for all breeds. The FCI also decided to follow our proposal and published all the official PowerPoint presentations on their website. On Facebook, we got hundreds of positive comments on this action. Unfortunately, most countries have not answered our request to develop some breed education PowerPoint presentations. We also hope that countries finally start to develop these education PowerPoint presentations, because they are not only very helpful in educating judges all over the world, but they also give the opportunity to develop uniform education for your national breeds that can be spread over and used by the whole world.

Guidelines and instructions on how to write a dog’s report

Throughout the last years, we often heard that judges had problems to write good reports on dogs when judging. Basic guidelines and instructions about how to write reports and a list of words that can be used would be very helpful. It would also give judges better opportunities to find their way at shows where written reports are asked.

We prepared nothing more than guidelines about how to write a report and developed a list of the most common words used. It is up to the FCI Countries to decide whether they use it in their education programme. The FCI Show Judges Commission submitted this document as guidelines and basic information about how to write a dog’s report to the FCI General Committee.

Germany, France and Uruguay have finished the German, French and Spanish translations of the dictionary.

Without any motivation, the FCI General Committee turned down our proposal. We think this is strange, because we only want to assist our colleagues by developing guidelines to make judging easier and in a more uniform way! We asked to be send the motivation of this negative decision! However, we are free to use these guidelines in our countries to educate our judges! And some countries already do so.

The matter of “supposed incorrect nomination of judges” in some countries

Since quite a few years, the FCI developed basic rules for education, examination and nomination of show judges and candidate show judges. These basic rules must be followed and respected by all FCI members. We are highly surprised to hear very intense rumours that the nomination of group judges does not always follow the basic rules. We now are in discussion with the FCI about how to control this and act when countries do not follow the rules.

Exaggerating dog feeding in the ring

This point was discussed in the joint meeting. Since a few years, it has become a “hype” to bait dogs big and small treats in the individual and main rings. Constant baiting leads to a different balance of the dog (high neck, different angulations and topline, bigger eyes staring, more wet lips), but it also affects its behaviour. The dog is only watching the hand holding the treat.

The FCI Joint Commission suggested that the FCI General Committee publish a circular in which the organisers of dog shows, the exhibitors, the ring stewards and the judges are asked to stop exaggerated dog baiting in the breed and main ring with no treats at all judgement or placement. The FCI General Committee turned down our proposal. It is now up to all our members to try to stop this exaggerating feeding in the ring by giving our judges and stewards guidelines.

Promotion of new judges

It was also discussed in the joint meeting the way to promote young and/or new judges to judge at international level. We worked on a proposal for the 2016 meeting.

Assisting members and answering their questions

During the year, we regularly get questions form members regarding interpretation of rules, education programmes, nomination of judges and assistance on seminars and events. We are always willing to assist, together with our colleagues from the Show Commission board. This year, we got several questions on the same matters, coming from the FCI General Secretariat, the FCI General Committee and our members and their countries.

In 2015, your president was invited by the Kennel club of Iran to inform their people about the structure and work of the FCI and of our commission. They organised a workshop for handlers and exhibitors regarding dog handling in the ring. They also organised a seminar for vets and students about the relationship between judges and vets and the way we can work together to get dogs that are good looking, healthy and fit for their function. Our President saw a lot of enthusiastic, willing and dog loving people in a country that is not yet that easy for dog lovers. However, the passion of the Board and its members will certainly lead Iran into a different way of looking at dogs.

In 2015, we were also involved with some FCI questions regarding judges coming from non-FCI countries to FCI Countries. We are glad that FCI asks our advice about the nomination of these judges.

The Executive Committee of the FCI Show Judges Commission in 2015:

  • John Wauben, President (The Netherlands)
  • Adrian Landarte, Vice-president (Uruguay)
  • Anne Marie Class, Secretary (France)

The President, Vice-president and Secretary met once. Several topics were discussed by email and at shows. You will largely find these mentioned on the agendas of the commission.

We thank Yves De Clercq and his colleagues from the FCI General Secretariat for the way in which our documents were at all times promptly and correctly translated and sent to our members. Our thanks also go to the FCI General Committee member Tamás Jakkel, who supported and defended our proposals.

Contact with our members

We tried to spread new information as soon as possible to our members. During the last year, members received several mails regarding our actions. We have also already sent our minutes of the last meeting in April, so our members can undertake action in their own country when needed.

New Years’ wish

Every year we do a lot of work developing statements, making rules, trying to uniform education programmes and to develop our way of judging in a way people around and in the ring can understand. We do this – all together – with a lot of passion and energy, with good and positive discussions and when going home after two days of meetings a lot of us go home with a lot of spirit to inform their NCO and colleagues about our work. But unfortunately, some of our proposals and agreements are not spread in our countries. A PowerPoint Education Programme can only work when we all take our responsibility to work on it. Statements and rules we develop can only work when we all spread them and also follow them. Our strength is that we prepare and develop a lot together. More strength will come when we not only dare act but also act together! This is our new years’ wish for the present year!

Again another year that passed very quickly. A year in which social pressures on our dogs and on ourselves as show judges intensified considerably in many countries. We must jointly make strong efforts to promote fine, healthy, social and fit for function dogs. That will have to be a basic theme of our discussions and concerns in the coming years.

John Wauben
Adrian Landarte
Vice President
Anne-Marie Class