2009 Sieger Show Impressions and Tour Report
For a couple of decades, I have been taking small tour groups (one to three vehicles) on guided tours of Europe, with the Sieger Show as the centerpiece. For those reading about this for the first time, this show is the world’s largest single-breed dog show, and has competitors from various countries all around the globe. My background as an SV breed judge, combined with my lifetime of activity in the breed, species, and sport have enabled me to offer the best experience of this sort. I predict, explain, teach, guide, and introduce. If you would like to have fun and “save and see” along with a group of friendly fellow dog-lovers, contact me as soon as possible after the first of the year. Email Mr.GSD (@) netscape.com for details on my non-profit tours.
In 2009, the weather was great. A tremendous improvement over the cold rain in 2008. But the stadiums have overhanging roofs to keep spectators dry, and the GSD is a working dog that shrugs off weather anyway, so why shouldn’t its owners do the same? Even in the days after the 3-day show (that’s when I take my groups on visits to breeders, clubs, and regional attractions) we had balmy conditions. This year, it meant my folks could enjoy the ride up the mountain in open horse-drawn wagons to see the fabulous Neu Schwanstein castle in Bavaria that inspired the design of the smaller Disneyland one. Some of us climbed the 763 steps to the top of the world’s tallest church in Ulm during the weekend.
My group this year consisted of three from Uruguay (two had been on a previous tour, and I also knew them because I had judged in their country twice), and three from America. Three of the group had never been to a Sieger Show before. We flew into Munich, the land of lederhosen and spirit-lifting oom-pah-pah music, walked through part of the big park called “English Garden” and then watched the dancing figurines celebrate the striking of the hour in the tower of the immense, impressive Marienplatz building. Then we struck out for our hotel in Altenstadt, on the Iller River that forms the western border of Bavaria. Half an hour’s drive from the show, it was an economical and pleasant alternative to rooms in the city.
I’ll mention a little more about the tour before giving you the highlights of the show itself. This is just part of the difference between my reports (and tours) and others you will find on the `net, another being an SV judge’s perspective on the dogs and action. After this year’s competition, we dipped into a bit of Austria briefly and then toured one of the fantasy castles built by the free-spending Ludwig, the chief patron of Wagner, whose operatic themes are echoed everywhere in the Bavarian king’s opulent architectural creations. After that, we enjoyed the company of long-time successful breeders Martin and Maria Göbl of Wildsteiger Land kennel. Martin, who told me he was offering for sale most of his dogs in an attempt to retire, showed us his rooms full of trophies as well as his current dogs. One of these was the very handsome 3-year-old Yvo, who is one of those he might be willing to sell. Another is the excellent young untitled dog, Buffo.
That evening, after a typical Bavarian supper with wild venison and local specialty side-dishes, we enjoyed an evening with instrumental music and singing in the Bavarian style and language.
The following day, we visited the small kennels of Josef and Jürgen Erhard, who also have some truly beautiful dogs, including some outstanding puppies. Lunch with them was at a golf course that would rival some of the best country clubs in the States, but with the Alps as a backdrop. All of rural Germany is amazingly clean and beautiful, but the mountains in the distance add even more to the ambience. That evening we checked into the hotel near the airport. Because of the weakness of the dollar against the Euro this year, price inflation, and the relatively small group to divide my expenses amongst, I cut this year’s tour by one day. But we still had a super time with the show, the hosts, and the fellowship of the travelers. Next year the show is in Nürnberg (spelling corrupted by English and Americans as “Nuremberg”), and I’ll probably have my 2010 group fly into Frankfurt. As usual, I’ll have to brush up on my German and Spanish in the weeks leading up to the show. This year, I was struggling with switching between those languages and English to translate for everybody. Some of the people don’t speak English, most do not speak German, and it made for a lot of laughs.
And now for the show itself. If you have read my predictions on the `net, you will be aware that I was “darn close in my educated guesses” in spite of many absentees due to sale overseas (mostly China) or retirement. My prognostications are based both on my personal observation of gait & anatomy, and on how the dogs have performed in the past. For those who are breeders or prospective puppy buyers, I am listing the current hip rating (Zuchtwert) in parentheses behind dogs’ names. The lower, the better or safer. In the 70s is preferred, but close to 90 or above represents increased risk of dysplasia.
Entries and attendance were still down from many previous years because of the world economy, but Europe is better off than America in this regard, and is bouncing back earlier. The show was noticeably better than last year, and in a much better stadium.
Friday is the longest day, with lower-ranked dogs between 12 and 24 months’ age competing in four scattered rings, and the adults doing their protection qualification tests in the large stadium (divided by a screen so females and males, respectively, can’t see the bitework going on by the other). For those purists in the sport, and those who want to know the true performance in order to add that to the calculation of which dogs are better to breed to or linebreed on, this is the most important part of the competition. At smaller shows during the year, only the beauty-contest portion is seen, and that is not enough to base such decisions on.
But even in spite of this supposed safeguard for the integrity of the breed, many unworthy dogs sneak past this intended barrier, because the performance judges will frequently “pass” with a “Pronounced” rating some dogs that should fail or get a “Vorhanden” (passing but not very good). And the judges who are doing the individual conformation judging in a location far from the bitework (they are the ones that will rank the adults then and in the next two days) are not able to see the actual work. Therefore, they cannot consider a poor performance when they grade the dogs by beauty.
Last year, with only 155 adult males, there were 21 “working” (open, adult, titled) males who were either T2 “Vorhanden” (barely sufficient, but to place at the end of all the others if they stayed for that part of the show) or T3 “Nicht Genügend” (insufficient courage and not eligible to return for the beauty-&-gaiting competition). This year, there were 55 in those two categories combined, out of 237 presented. These figures have more meaning when you realize that in 2008, 14% of these males were T3 or T2, but in 2009, a whopping 23% “failed” (with both of these categories being failure in my demanding opinion). It was with a sickening feeling that most of the crowd watched and waited for decent performances. These statistics were somewhat offset by the larger numbers of working-line dogs entered, well-received by the crowd, and doing fairly well this year.
Another disappointment that I have voiced before, is the excusal from further competition, of dogs whose owners decide that their chances of making a big splash with a super placing have been diminished. This belief could be based on how the judge has placed the dog before, or comments made on this day, or other reason. The owner might feel it is better for stud-service reasons to pull the dog than to receive a placing further back than he believes the dog deserves. It used to be the rule that such a withdrawal from continued competition on the weekend required a veterinarian’s statement that the dog was sick or lame, but that route was so corrupted that it was misused or practically abandoned. On the other hand, there are many “working-lines” dogs whose owners just wanted their bitework to be seen by thousands of people, and who didn’t want to waste the time trying to get a show placing behind 150 other dogs.
This year, the crowd missed the chance to see the group gaiting and placing of such favorites as Furbo degli Achei (78), Ilbo Holtkämper See (78), Dax Intercanina (81), and Tiras Roten Feld (74), for whatever reasons that were given. Their absence after the bitework and “individuals” is one reason my forecast on placings was not quite as accurate as it could have been. Also, I do not keep up with who has been sold to China, or retired from competition. Still, I hit the mark pretty closely. Deducting the absentees, I had predicted this order: Vegas du Haut Mansard (85), Yerom Haus Salihin (88), Yukon Bastillie (86), and Kwantum Klostermoor (90), and I was “spot-on” with these first four. I also said that Tuareg Bad-Boll (73), the well-pigmented Schicco Freiheit Westerholt (92), Remo Fichtenschlag (71), Ustinov Römerland (82), Clinten Holtkämper See (75), Digger Elzmündungsraum (71), and Panjo Kirschental (90) would do especially well, and they indeed placed V14, VA6, VA7, V1, V8, and V10, respectively. VA means the top several of the V dogs, these letters standing for Vorzuglich (Excellent) and Vorzuglicht-Auslese (Excellent-Select).
Some dogs were not listed in the official tabulation as having been excused from competition. The slap-on-the-wrist “punishment” of not being allowed to compete for a few months is meaningless, because there are almost no shows in winter anyway. There are several reasons for their absence, not many being easy to discover. For example, the very nice-looking and good-working Tyson Köttersbusch only did the bitework and showed in his progeny group but, reportedly because of his size(?), the owner didn’t show him.
In females, I listed Alisha Eichenplatz (85), Viva Hopfenhalle (69!), Chayenne Karthäuser Löwentor (81), and Lea d’Ulmental (89) in that order, which was also close, as they finished VA2, VA9, V4, and VA7, respectively. You may remember that last year my group visited Chayenne at home after the show. Siegerin this year is the Vegas daughter Bella Kuckucksland (89). A couple of other bitches that caught my eye in the protection and gaiting were the Sirio daughter VA-10 Mega Holtkämper See (81), and the beautiful V6 Romina Piste Trophe (95).
Other than the dogs that completely lacked courage or those that failed to get a “pronounced” (ausgeprägt) and “lets out” (lässt ab — stops fighting on command or when struggle stops), there are other results with these codes: T1 = lässt nicht ab, ohne Bewertung TSB (doesn’t out in time, but no problem with the fighting drives); and T4 = abgebrochen wegen mangelnder Führigkeit, which means the dog failed to heel all the way to the point where the “bad guy” with the sleeve runs out from the blind to attack them. Many over-eager and less-trained dogs jump the gun, and they only have 3 tries to do it right. Unfortunately there were a few males who weren’t so controlled in that approach to the first blind, one of which was the strong-character dog we visited a few days later, Yvo Wildsteiger Land. This beautiful, well-constructed Odin son is pictured in the photo appendix to this article. And he has a Zuchtwert of 78, which is quite good. His problem this year was that he was too playful instead of serious about the bitework.
I already mentioned some of the top winners, and you can go to the SV websites for the official listing of all dogs shown, or any of the private sites that carry the whole results. However, in this report, I’d like to mention that I may have missed a few (one must visit the toilet once in a while!) and I wish to comment in detail on some others that may not have done as well as the top-placing dogs. So you will find here something more than just a catalog of winners. After each Sieger Show, I discuss with my group these additional observations.
In both the bitework and the younger classes, I paid more attention to the males, because they have more influence on the breed since they are bred so much more often, but I saw the work of a few females, too. Forgive me if I missed your favorite bitch. I would like to have seen lower ZW numbers in most of the top dogs, but it’s always a balancing act for breeders who want both good hips and super show results. Allow me to first mention some things about dogs with ZWs under 80 before commenting on some that may have placed higher in the show competition.
Remo Fichtenschlag (71), owned by Josephine Kao of Taiwan, got VA 7. Two places behind him was Paul Bierstadter Hof (77), a handsome Odin son with very good upper arm and chest development. V3 Paer Hasenborn (75) was not very convincing in the bites. V4 Clinten Holtkämper See (75) did not do good bitework, but got “ausgepragt” (pronounced) anyway. Peik Holtkämper Hof (75) was V11 this year, but watch for this great Ilbo/Roma son to make great strides in 2010, and I’d wager that he’ll have a great progeny class in 2011 if the Chinese don’t buy him too quickly. The Odin son V23 Ballack zu Worringer Rheinaue looked great and did very good protection routines. Yoe Haus Salihin (75) has a substantially lower ZW than his VA2 litter brother, did equally impressive protection work, and placed V27 in the beauty pageant. Also with a ZW of 75, the Esko Dänischen Hof son V34 Hero Annacarton (owned by Irishman Patrick Thomas) lived up to his name. Mr. T. also owns the great Ilbo Holtkämper See. V29 Chivas Bad-Boll (Odin son with a great ZW of 76) is promising in both the courage and beauty departments.
The Hill Farbenspiel son VA3 Yukon needs more training re the self-controlled “out”, but had very good hits on the “bad guy.” He also might be a little too deep in chest (and I noticed that in several of his sons this year). Dux Cuatro Flores might be a little better in that regard. The Vegas son VA8 Bojan Pendler (86) did very good work and looked very impressive in stance and gait. In Friday’s protection phase, one of the standouts was Puck Urbecke (96), who at (amazingly!) nearly ten years old, put on an impressive piece of work in the defense and attack. He never has placed high in the conformation competition, and was pulled after the bitework this year. The Arko Butjenter Land son V19 Bruno Vierhundert Hertz (81), a handsome dog with very dark mask, showed great courage and enthusiasm. Idol son V13 Taboo Nordteich (90) showed excellent work overall. A Dux Cuatro Flores son, Nexx Hartis Bohemis (79), did beautiful work with truly hard hits. He was one of several “showline” dogs given special recognition for excellent bitework, others being VA5 Ober Bad-Boll, V23 Ballack, V48 Filou Ducati, V40 Hillson Athaba, Sieger Vegas (did a truly great SchH routine), and V94 Untox Freiheit Westerholt.
Bazi Urbecke offspring (the adults) did very well in bitework and all looked very uniform in the progeny group. Outstanding among them were V98 Aslan Belle Amber (80), who showed excellent training, did not take re-bites or nibbles/chomping, and never turned to look over his shoulder; and V25 Frodo Langenbungert (89). One Bazi son, V67 Vigu (89) did not deserve the “ausgeprägt” he was given. Incidentally, his brother Valof just won V2 in Argentina’s Mar del Plata (Landesgruppen) show and “best attack” trophy. As expected, Hill Farbenspiel offspring did admirable work, such as Hillson (92), V89 Falco Bonne Patte (95), VA 3 Yukon, and V65 Urbano Urbecke (88).
Other miscellaneous comments on performance: The work by Panjo was good; that of Vegas son Cronos d’Ulmental (91) excellent (but he was then pulled); VA4 Kwantum (90) was a happy worker with great anatomy and reddish pigment. V1 Ustinov Römerland (82) did good work for a Quantum Arminius son (and half-brother to Sgr. Zamp). The Vegas son Arex Wilhelmswarte (84), bred by a SchH-trial judge and owned by a wealthy fancier, did poorly in the courage test yet got both “ausgeprägt” and V2; hopefully his performance will improve next year. The well-trained V49 Danish dog Karat’s Fedor (88) had wonderful attitude on the field and at ringside — his great parents are Aiko Goldenen Zweig and Karat’s Olly. Aiko also was sire of the good-working V69 Indro. V75 Xambo Roten Feld (72) was impressive in the work, as was Rüdiger Mai’s Dux Cuatro Flores son V43 Atlas Bierstadter Hof (96, unfortunately). We missed Godalis Tino this year because he tore a ligament in a rear leg.
As usual, the better performances were mostly done by the working-lines dogs, but they were also better represented in the progeny groups, kennel groups, and the show competition than previously. The ones that impressed me the most were V54 Javir v. Talka Marda (with a fabulous 70 ZW!) and his sons, V122 Zidane v. Kammberg (71), V124 Yack v. Kammberg (70), the dark sable and super worker V125 J.J. v. Trauntor (76), and daughter V118 Chini v. Ecke (70). There were many other, younger dogs in his progeny group, and all with happy, energetic temperaments. I suspect they will also prove to have admirable Zuchtwert numbers, too. Javir could be considered the star of Friday’s show. His intense and enthusiastic jumping straight up during the bark-and-hold, while barking in the face of the helper/attacker, excited the crowd. Good topline, though he could have taken some fewer steps in the gaiting. Zidane actually tore the sleeve off the attacker on the “long bite” (running attack down the field). Yack thrilled spectators with his incredibly long (and accurate) Malinois-like flying leap to hit the attacker on the long bite.
Other “working-line dogs” of note: SG1 Aik Ziegelbornschneise (76). The Olly Grauen sable son V74 Odin toten Niersarm (86) who had good enough structure that I would have moved him up many placings. The dark-B&T V130 Hutch kalten Hardt (74) was a quick, happy, excellent worker. Sable (the Germans call them “grey”) V135 Owen Klopferle (71) did impressive work. V91 Jakomos Längerts (71) was another sable that sped down the field eagerly. The bi-color V120 Hoogan Vorderhain (78) was big, fast, and did great bitework. Notice all those low ZWs? The “perennial” competitor V132 Gerry Waldesruh (82) at 6 years old did his usual excellent work. The super-working black V126 Alex schwarzen Seeperlen (84) showed expert training and drives. The American (Brookline, Massachusetts) V100 Azlan Petit Geant had very good training but a ZW of 91.
The judges recognized 20 males as having outstanding working drives, including Sieger Vegas, Aik Z, Untox Freiheit Westerholt, Yack and Zidane with their sire Javir, Ober, Ballack, Hutch, Nexx, Filou, and Hillson. Eight females were so honored, and included Chini and Lea whom I have mentioned.
As mentioned earlier, I concentrated my viewing on the adult males, but also saw some excellent younger dogs. One was the Irok son / Fritz Farbenspiel grandson from Pisa Italy, Taris dei Profeti. Owned by Giuliano Profeti, one of Italy’s premier breeders, Taris did not initially place high enough (in the “first group” in his very large class), so he was pulled before the final ranking. Maybe next year’s judge will like him better, Giuliano hopes. He has great strength in body and head, dark eyes and mask, and very good reach (a bit better than his action in the rear).
Winner of that 12-18 month male class was Sultan Jahnhohe (77), who stood out yards ahead of his nearest competition. This animated Vegas son has an excellent front assembly, good proportions though a bit stretched and long in second thigh, high withers, and a handsome head like his sire’s. Watch for this outstanding dog with VA potential next year, if the Chinese don’t get him first. In third place was another Vegas son, Marcus Ossmann’s Wegas Fichtenschlag (86) with excellence overall, but not a threat to the class leader this day. Also in that class was the very promising Bazi son, SG16 Yello Arminius (71), who could do with just a little more front angulation, but has everything else going for him. I like him very much. SG 2 was Nino v Tronje (97), another Irok son of high anatomical quality but a little lacking in desire by the time I spotted him. SG 22 Lux Valentinientis, a Nick Moorbeck son owned by Ernst Ruckert but not yet listed in the ZW statistics, has very good reach and drive, and good eye and mask pigment. SG4 was Sammo di Casa Beggiato (82), an Ober Bad-Boll son that Hans-Peter Rieker probably has great plans for. By the way, the ZW numbers of young dogs is more a calculation of their parents’ records than their own production because of their age (too young to produce X-rayed offspring themselves).
In Jugendklasse Rüden (12-18 months old males), I got to see a few very promising future stars. Uday Jani’s Godalis Tino son, Iceman Amur (78) was SG 5, and had very nice anatomy overall. Behind him in 6th position was another well-structured dog, the Zamp son Kratmosen’s Baroni. The Odin son, SG11 Ritzy Wustenberger-Land, owned by American Jeannette Kempkes, presented an outstanding outline and gait. Second, third, and fourth in that class were wonderful young dogs whose owners are from Italy, France, and Peru.
Whether your main interest is the enthralling beauty show, the sometimes-exciting courage tests at the show, shopping for a younger dog or a breeder, or to see an interesting part of Europe with an experienced judge-guide and friendly companions, you might wish to join my tour. Now, here’s the “commercial”: to prepare fully, I recommend that you get my book on The Total GSD (from me or from the publisher, Hoflin), and if you are breeding or curious, think about ordering my big HD & orthopedics book (direct from me).
Pictures for this report are in a separate appendix, and both should be available on selected websites. If you did not find the photos, e-mail me for a URL where you can get them.
Fred Lanting, Mr.GSD@netscape.com
note: Author and worldwide consultant Fred Lanting