Judging "Beyond Champions" in Beijing

Several North American judges visited Beijing, China, to judge all-breed and specialty shows for the National General Kennel Club (NGKC).

By Virginia Lyne | January 22, 2014

Beijing 2013 BIS Husky
Siberian Husky Suphan's Mr Goodness won Best in Show under Eugene Blake and Virginia Lyne, and also won the Beyond Champions event. Photo courtesy NGKC.

It was my third trip to China to judge for the National General Kennel Club (NGKC), which presents dog shows through the auspices of the AKC Global Services. On this occasion, September 13-15, the shows were well attended with one of their largest entries of 215 and the inclusion of a special attraction event, "Beyond Champions," on the final day.

The shows had an interesting and well-rounded panel, including Golden Retriever specialist and multi-Group judge Jeffrey Pepper from Florida; Hound specialist Eugene Blake from Oklahoma; fellow Canadian all-breed judge Ms. Mike Macbeth, breeder of Dandie Dinmonts of world renown, from Ontario; Doris Cozart, a multi-Group judge from Texas with Poodle affiliations; Doberman specialist and Working Group judge Bob Vandiver from South Carolina; and Barbara Palmer from Texas, who judged the Border Collie Specialty.

 

 

NGKC Chairman China
NGKC Charman, Kevin Wang, and his wife at the judges' dinner. Photo Virginia Lyne.

As always, the hospitality from NGKC, especially President Kevin Wang and our guides Vicky and Amy, was outstanding. Whatever we asked to do while in Beijing was made available to us. Several in the group wanted to go to the Great Wall, and others were committed to shopping, especially at the Silk Street Market and the Tea Market. We all enjoyed the discussions about purchases, tea tastings and scenery. Traffic in Beijing is extremely crowded, and as a result, the smog and pollution are a challenge. It was interesting to hear that the government is seriously attempting to reduce the pollution. One of the interesting methods is to restrict driving in the city based on certain license numbers on an odd-even basis. I suspect that many of the wealthier people living in Beijing have two cars so they can drive in the city core regardless of whether it is an odd day or an even day. I wonder how North Americans would react to that kind of restriction!

Judging is organized around the AKC system with a few alterations, such as no Reserve Winners chosen or Selects offered. There are Baby Puppy classes for 3-6-month puppies, and these were a very popular part of the judging. All the baby puppy winners compete for Best Baby Puppy in Show at the end of the day.

Beijing 2013 Judges
The judges went sightseeing in Beijing. Front left to right: Jeffrey Pepper, Robert Vandiver, Eugene Blake and Mike Macbeth. Photo Virginia Lyne.

Each judge does only one day of judging. There are three separate Best in Shows each day, as well as several specialties for the popular breeds, Golden Retrievers and Border Collies. On the first day Doris Cozart was given the challenge to judge some 85 groomers who were in competition for top groomer. The dogs were pre-bathed but couldn't have any roughing-in done. Within the 2-hour span provided for the finishing grooming, the dogs were scissored and clipped while Doris was required to walk up and down the rows making notes and scoring the scissor work and handling of the dogs. She was to select a "cut" of the competitors, and then eventually arrive at a final winner. She observed that this was a far more tiring experience than any routine conformation judging.

On my previous judging trips I had been very impressed with the quality of several breeds: Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, Samoyeds, Chow Chows, Miniature Schnauzers and Siberian Huskies. On this occasion I felt the overall quality was somewhat lower. I understand that there was a competing dog show not far away hosted by the second show-holding organization in China, which is affiliated with the FCI, and this may have drawn off some of the dogs. On Sunday after the final Best in Show, there was a competition called Beyond Champions, which drew an entry of more than 40 dogs, for all the champions that had been entered over the three days. The winner was the striking Siberian Husky Suphan's Mr Goodness, who had won two of the weekend's three Best in Shows. Reserve was a lovely Bouvier des Flandres from the Rocheuse Kennel in Colorado, and third was a Golden Retriever, Ch. Dreamwork's Whale Of A Tale, which had been the Golden Retriever Specialty winner under Jeffrey Pepper and Reserve BIS on the third day. Both the Bouvier and Golden are owned by Steven Shen, a very committed fancier in Beijing who is a regular visitor to shows in the US.

Beijing TV Show
Virginia Lyne and Steven Shen appeared on a local television show for an interview and demonstration of how to examine a dog at a conformation show.

Because I was not judging until Sunday, I was able to accompany Steven Shen at a local television station for an interview about the dog show with a pair of young and enthusiastic hosts. Much was a mystery as to what was said, as the translation opportunities were limited, but I was able to do some demonstrating on how to examine a dog at the dog show and talk about the Bouvier and Golden that were our models. Neither, of course, was entered under me at the show.

The show venue was large and fully carpeted with good lighting and quite a crowd of enthusiastic spectators. The handlers, primarily good-looking young men, rushed from ring to ring, and it was not uncommon to be asked to sit for 5 minutes while a handler competed with a dog in the other ring before moving over to show in my ring. Handling skills of the pros are generally good, though sometimes a little too generic and not always appropriate for the breed. Speed over there is as important as it seems to be everywhere, and I really will have to learn how to say "slow down" in Mandarin!

Though we did have several days of gray and overcast weather, the sun came out with a wonderful blue sky for the dog show days, which proves that the air does clear. The hotel accommodations were first-class, and we all learned a great deal about quality and authentic food in China.

If you are invited to judge in Beijing, I encourage you to accept and enjoy yourself. Be sure to go shopping at the Silk Street Market and have some clothes tailor-made. Mike Macbeth won the prize for clothes shopping with some stunning selections, and Eugene won the prize for being a serious bargainer and obtaining most of his Christmas presents for his many friends. There were several breeders and handlers from the States in and around the Golden Retriever ring who seemed to be having a great time on their trip to China. I look forward to further occasions in this welcoming country. 

Beijing 2013 Border Collie Specialty
Border Collie PRC Ch. Queen Of Border Empire was SBIS under Barbara Palmer. Photo courtesy NGKC.
 
Beijing 2013 Golden Retriever Specialty
Jeffrey Pepper judged the Golden Retriever specialty and chose PRC Ch. Dreamworks Whale Of A Tale as Best in Specialty Show. Photo courtesy NGKC.
Beijing 2013 Beyond Champions
The three finalists of the Beyond Champions competition. The winner, the Siberian Husky, was also BIS at two of the three all-breed shows. The Bouvier des Flandres was imported from the Rocheuse Kennels in Colorado, and the Golden Retriever was the SBIS winner under Jeffrey Pepper at the specialty. Photo courtesy NGKC.

 

From the 2014 Annual issue of Dogs in Review magazine. Purchase the 2014 Annual digital back issue with the DIR app or subscribe to receive 12 months of Dogs in Review magazine (print and digital versions).

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