Two Girls an two Boys on Tour

The succes that our two males "Owlwatch Fly Me To The Moon" and
"Striker v.’t Buitengebeuren" had, made us decide to go to the European Winner Show on Sunday, June 11th, in Helsinki Finland.
Most people told us we where crazy to take this long journey with the two males that could not be in one room together. Two ladies and two boys on tour with the car... But living with Great Danes means that you have to be a little crazy...

We planned our trip as a long weekend, not only to have succes but first of all to have al lot of fun. And we did both, because Flyer took CAC, CACIB, the European Winner title and the BOB.

The journey

Wednesday I started out at 12 o’ clock in Ransbach-Baumbach. Arriving at Linda's home in Oegstgeest shortly before we left for Finland about 4 p.m.. We planned to take the ferry from Puttgarden to Denmark and spend the night in a hotel there. But driving through the night was easy, so we decided to take the boat from Denmark to Sweden the same night. We arrived there at 2.30 a.m. – the sun starts to rise at this time in the Nordic country's. We wanted to sleep in a hotel along the motorway, but they all were closed till 6 a.m.. While our dogs were sleeping, we had to search for a place to rest at 5 a.m. At last we found a Hotel.

The receptionist in the hotel couldn’t believe that we want to have bedrooms for one night from 5 a.m....early morning onward


We slept about five hours before we continued our tour to Stockholm. There we met Monica  Stavenborn, Owner of  Kingsize Great Danes and Pugs. We arrived there at 4 p.m. and enjoyed our first coffee of the day.

Kingsize Kennel

Monica' home
The pool behind the dog's house
The pugs living outside
Monica's puppys
The Dane-Benches in the garden
The head-crowned separation gate
Monica's Great Danes

Monica’s beautiful home is in Brø, about 20 Minutes west of Stockholm. She breeds Great Danes, but also Pugs. For both our boys there was a big kennel reserved in the shadow of some trees leading into a spacious interrior dog house, which allowed them to ge in and out as they pleased.
We relaxed with some snacks and a drink, and enjoyed the Swedish sun.

Monica owns two harlequin Great Dane bitches and eight pugs. Six are used to living in the house. Six puppys, eight weeks of age, complete the “dog family”. In the beginning I had a problem not to step on one of the little pugs – it’s a great difference to a Great Dane’s height, and I had trouble getting used to this.

Monica’s puppys are named after beveredges and food. So you can find a “Ginger”, a “Lemon” or a “Quattro Staggioni”, as well as the names of famous Italian wines

Monica is as crazy about dogs as we are. You can see this in the garden, where guests usually sit down on some outside Dane Benches. And in the livingroom there is a little separation gate, crowned with the heads of Great Danes.

Our boys in their Swedish hotel

Our males both enjoyed their big kennels, where they could move and choose if they want to be  inside or outside what ever they wanted. The way from outside to the inner kennel was closed with a flap (like a cat-flap). So it’s not cold and windy inside even through the rough Swedish winters with snow of a meter or more. (and in Summertime it keeps cool).

For dinner we met other Swedish friends of Monica, breeding Great Danes too. So we had a lot to talk about. We did this in English – that was no problem.

Helsinki, here we come!

Our Ferry
Waiting for the Boat

Friday, 2.30 p.m., we started of to Stockholm harbour. The ferry to Helsinki should leave at 
5 p.m. In the harbour we met other friends of Monica and Per, Pug-Breeders too. Together we enjoyed the trip with the boat very much. Flyer had to stay in the car all the time, Striker slept in the cabin with us. It was a long night for the boys because they couldn’t do their business from 4 p.m. till 10.30 a.m. next morning. There was a place on the boat on the 10th deck where people could go with their dogs, but our boys did't like the big box, filled with cat-litter. So they were glad to leave the boat and to do their business with grass under their feet.

Our hotel was next to the airport, ten minutes away from the exhibition hall. We checked in and then continued our tour via Hammerlinna, about one and a half our away from Helsinki. Here we wanted to visit the Finnish Great-Dane-Club Specialty.

The Finnish G.D.Club Specialty

234 Great Danes where entered at this show. They were judged by Mrs. Kussin from Germany (blue), her husband Mr. Kussin (black and harlequin) and Mrs.Margit Völzer from Luxembourg (fawn and brindle). These three couldn’t believe their eyes when they suddenly  saw us there.

It was an outside-show in the woods where there was a parking area with a little lake near by. The sun was shining all day long, it was hot, but not too hot because of a cooling wind. The Finish Great Danes are more elegant than ours are, they have lighter bone, with a narrower head and very long legs.

We met Marika, owner of the Finnish Saradanes-Kennel, who was very successful with her Danes at this Show. In the blue ring we saw a brother of Flyer’s father, an american import-male, who at the age of six years was still being successful at shows.

The show was finished at about 6 p.m.. Nearly all exhibitors stayed till the end of judging – this is not usual at our shows overhere.

Our “big day”

Sunday, 11th of June – our big day. We had to get up at 6 p.m. (that‘s 5 p.m. west Eu. time). Finnish people had a special sort of humor: All around the exhibition-area there were billboards with “Hard Dog Hallelujah”, to remember the Finnish succes with the titel “Hard Rock Hallelujah” at the European Song-Contest some weeks ago. We were surprised to be allowed to drive to the entrance of our hall to get our dog-stuff in. After this we had to place the car in the parking-area.

The show was very well organized: There were about 9755 dogs entered of all breeds
(93 Great Danes). All exhibitors got information in advance about where they had to go, in which ring their dogs would be judged, a plan of the area, and of the halls. That allowed us to get some orientation before entering the halls. Most Skandinavian shows don’t have benching. So Linda an I had a bit of a problem. Because we had two males with us we couldn’t go to the toilet or buy something to drink or to eat. Dogs were not allowed in the toilets and in the food-area. But there were people helping us by holding one of our dogs. So that we could do what’s neccessary. All halls had climate control – really good with the hot weather.

The exhibitors got a fixed time when their breed had to be in the ring. This was very comfortable, because you didn’t have to be at the show early in the morning and wait if your dog was judged in the afternoon. After being judged you were allowed to leave the show,
if your dog did not win the BOB for the Group.

The Show

This show was not only organized – it was celebrated. Big rings, a very good carpet on the floor, comfortable seating all around the rings – all was clean and festive And around the ring it was absolutely silent. You couldn’t hear a thing, there was no double-handling. That was pleasant, not only for the visitors and exhibitors, but allso for the dogs. There was al lot of discipline amongst the exhibitors. Everyone knew, when he had to be in the ring, nobody had to be called. That was remarkable: All people were dressed properly and where very elegant. You couldn’t see dirty jeans or sweatshirts, no towels fixed at the belt. Everything was of a very high standard.

What we did not like was the speed in witch the dogs were judged. Before judging the black and harlequin Danes our judge had to judge the Black Russian Terriers. He needed 90 Minutes for 29 dogs and bitches, including CAC, CACIB, BOB and Breeders class. That was about two minutes time to judge one dog.
In my opinion: that was much too fast. In such a short time you cannot get the impression that your dog was judged correctly.

Another problem for the male-exhibitors: You can bring bitches in season to the shows, too.
If your male gets this odour in his nose, no matter what amount of ringtraining he had before  then his only interest is the nice odour coming from the carpet. Striker had this problem, too. The carpet seemed to smell very good, and Striker, usually is very disciplined and well trained at all shows, was constantly trying to move his head towards the floor. And with only two minutes time to present the best qualities of your dog, you have a great problem in this situation...
Striker got Excellent and was placed 4th – we are glad with that result (even though we had hoped for a better one)

Flyer did it again!

Flyer was shown in the ring next to me, he was as good as ever. He won the Open class against four other males and then got the CACIB and the European-Winner-Title against the best of the four males in the Champion-Class. A great succes for our young 2 year old “American” boy. Marika, who we met at the Finnish Club Specialty, allso won CAC, CACIB and the titel with her female. When Flyer won the BOB against her, we had a new problem:
Ring of Honour and Group-Judging started at 4.30 p.m. – but our ferry to Stockholm left at 5:00 p.m. What do we do now?
Marika had the idea to change our bookings with Silja Line, so we got another ferry, leaving at 9.15 p.m. in Turku (about 180 km away from Helsinki) and arriving in Stockholm at 7 a.m. the next morning. So we could enjoy Flyer in the Group-Ring. He had received five BOB’s in the past – but this one was something extra-special.

The Ring of Honour

I have been to many shows in my life, and I have seen a lot of Group-Judging – but I’ve never seen something like the ring of honour as I have seen at the European Winner Show in Helsinki. Group-Judging was in a separate arena, the floor was covered from wall to wall with a light grey carpet. Blue curtains where hanging down from the walls, and the dogs had to come in through an archway also draped with curtains and flowers. There were two moderators talking us through the show, The Finnish TV recorded all the judging. It was dark in the hall, only some spots in the ceiling made me feel like I was sitting under a heaven with stars. On the far side of the placementpodiums there was a big flatscreen, were you could see the sponsor’s logo on the lefthandside, the pictures of the TV camera's in the middle and the Judges name and the name of the owner and breeder of the Group Winner on the righthand side. Spots followed the BOB-dogs whilst entering the ring, and the spectators could see their  movement on the big flatscreen.
During the ceremony of the 1st placed dog, on the podium in the middle of the ring, you could see this dog's movement on the flatscreen and read the winner's, the breeder’s and the owners name on the righthand side of the flatscreen. It was a big ceremony, and it was a great honour for every BOB to be allowed to enter the ring. I think, even Flyer felt this, because he moved very proudly (Linda did, too). Flyer wasn’t placed in the Group 2, but we were very happy we could paticipate in this ceremony.

On the way home...

Our husbands at home were pleased to be informed over our succesful day. Christian published our results on our homepage the same day.

On the ferry that evening we had an excellent dinner to celebrate Flyer’s success, after this we continued our celebrations with “live music” in the bar. But we had a very short night, because we had to get up at 6:00 o'clock the next morning because the ferry would arrive in Stockholm at 7 p.m.

After that we only wanted to get home. I created a new name for Linda: “Quick bee”, because she drove all the way to Oegstgeest in a record time. We arrived at Buitengebeuren Great Danes about 23.15 p.m. – and not only we were glad to be home, our dogs where too.

We spent five nights in five different beds, drove about 3600 kilometers, had about 25 hours of sleep during this trip – but we are glad to have done all this. We’ve had a lot of fun, met many interesting people and returned with an European winner...