Here you can find a film with many pictures from Crufts and with the judging of our dogs.


Crufts Report 2007

As a visitor we already knew this - Crufts in Birmingham, the biggest dogshow in the world. And because Striker and Flyer had qualified for the Crufts dogshow (without qualification foreigners may not show their dogs here), Linda, her husband Dick, Christian and me, decided to show our boys this year at Crufts. To exhibit at Crufts - we were very excited about the upcoming show.

Wednesday at noon we started from Ransbach-Baumbach to Oegstgeest to the v.d. Vijvers, where we met Jeff and Patrice Lawrence, friends from Indiana (USA). They both are professional handlers and visit about 150 shows a year in the USA with their own Great Danes and those of other owners.

Jeff and Patrice Lawrence

Jeff and Partrice, our friends from Indiana

Jeff and Patrice live in Muncie Indiana, together with 26 Great Danes. Five belong to them, the others live with them and are handeled by them at shows. Some remain until they have gained a champion's title (this is possible in the USA from the age of just nine months), others spend years or even their whole life in the care of Jeff and Patrice. Jeff and Patrice look after many dogs who belong to Japanese owners, and also breed litters for them if so requested by the Japanese owners. In the USA it is normal that people own dogs whom they see at the most once a year and never have anything to do with them (for me simply inconceivable). Many Great Dane owners simply do not have the time to drive thousands of kilometres with her dogs and to visit shows, so that they give them in the care of professionals like Jeff and Patrice who also train the dogs.

However, not all American dog owners give their dogs to a proffesional-handlers: Many do this themselves as we do in Europe, and live together with their Great Danes and would not separate from them. Dog shows and dog breeding are big business in the USA. The prices are sometimes achieved in the 6-figure area for breeding a litter, for us simply inconceivable. And there are dogs who are so expensive that they often have up to ten owners.

For us the insight into this completely other "dog world" was astaunding The contact with their dogs is as with our owners of expencive showjumping horses - they are an investment.

On the Way to England

Jeff and Striker at "Training" in the harbour
Jeff feels very good...
Nobody there to give us something to drink...
"Goodbye" to the Continent
We can see Dover

On Thursdaymorning we started early. From Holland we went over Belgium to Dunkerque where the ferry should sail to Dover at 14:00 hours. To take a dog to England, is not so easy at all. There are a lot of regulations. To be able to show a dog there, you need a Application To Compete (ATC) number, because the Kennel Club needs to check wether you can compete or not and are qualified to come to Crufts. To receive such a number, you have to put an application in the English Kennelclub and add the pedigree of the dog, the ownership proof and the qualification for Crufts (and of course you have to pay a fee). Then you receive a so-called "ATC number" which you have to use entering the show instead of the studbook number they allready have this info beforehand.

On the ferry you can only travel if you have a petpassport and have had your dog titered at least six months before the entrydate in to the country. In addition, the dog must be examined 24 hours before the entry in to Britain by a veterinarian, be wormed and have been treated against ticks and flees. This treatment must be confirmed by the veterinary and be noted and stamped in the Petpassport. With the check-in on the Ferry this is controlled, all is carefully checked, and also the chip number of the dogs is read.

One hour and 50 minutes the crossing takes to Dover. Both the boys have slept away this time in the car flat out - and we have enjoyed the marvellous weather. we needed to get used to the driving in England because for us it was on the wrong side of the road, lefthand traffic. Indeed, Dick and Linda went ahead of us, so that we only had to follow, they had done this many times before.

In England not only the traffic runs differently - also the watches do: The "island time" GMT witch is one hour behind ours. About 22:00 hours English time we reached our hotel and disappeared quite fast in to our beds, because the next morning we already had to get up around 5:30 again. Beginning of the judging at Crufts was at 8.30.












The Crufts

The Great-Dane-Ring in hall 5

With the Crufts everything is simply huge. Here a few figures: During four days 25.000 dogs were shown. They were judged in 35 rings. Respected visitor's number: 150.000. 35 rings and the Benches for the dogs were accommodated in three halls, in the other halls of the National Exhibition Centre there were more than 600 stands with all things around the dog. Benches, kennel arrangements, food, toys, linen, Grooming accessories, dog beds and dog covers, Outdoor clothing for dog-people, objects of art, Deco, statues, jewellery - the list can be continued endlessly. And the visitors flow out close together. There often is such a scrum in the "Trading area" that you aren’t able to make progress any more.

In the exhibition halls it was really quiet compared to this. You have the impression, that there are no dogs there (but there were more than 5.000 per day). The dog admittance was very uncomplicated. There is no veterinarian control, you simply go into the hall. Only the tickets are controlled. Already in the sceduale we had been informed in which hall our dogs would be judged, so that we could find the right entrance directly. The organisation with the Crufts is exemplary - traffic control system, enough parking bays for exhibitors and for visitors, shuttle coaches, enough entrances for the dogs: You can come really completely relaxed with your dog on the area and in the hall what is not at all the case with many international exhibitions here with us on the continent.

With the help of the Catalogue which is handed over at the entrance you have to search for your ring number. And then with the help of this ring number you can find the right Bench. For every dog a Bench is booked - and for the Great Danes they are really big. Then in the Bench you find the ring number. The Benches and with it also the start numbers of the dogs are not given in the order of the Catalog, like we do, but alphabetically after the names of the owners. We had luck: By the fact that our surname starts with a "B" we had a Bench directly at the ring. Also the registrations in the catalogue are not divided in to classes, but in to ring numbers. So in the catalogue it states the owners of the first the numbers, the names and the owners of 238 entered dogs and bitches (114 males, 124 bitches), on the next sides the classes are split, separately in to dogs and bitches and here in each case only the start number and the name of the dog is written.

The classes in England are absolutely different than with us. The classes are numbered. There is an veteran class (No. 713), a Puppy class (714 and a junior class (715, then a "Yearling Dog" class (716) in which dogs are issued that are no older than a year. In "Post Graduate Dog" - class (717 dogs with two "tickets" are issued. Then there are still the " Mid limit Dog " (718) and "Limit Dog" (719) in which dogs are shown who stand shortly before the first title. "Open Dog" - class (720) is that in which our both boys were announced. Here the dogs are introduced who are supposed to be in open and the dogs that are already a champion.

There is no seperate Champion classe. The last class is the Good Citizen Dog Scheme (721).

The judging

The fawn male got the CC, Flyer got the Reserve

All colours were judged together, and there is only one CAC for the males and one for the females. In Striker’s and Flyer’s Open class 16 dogs where entered in the ring. In England they place five dogs, with us it is four

Judge was Karina Le Mare off Helmlake Great Danes a wellknown breeder of Harlequins You get no judge's report, otherwise it would not be possible for a judge to do 238 dogs during one day. Both of our boys were brought forward by Jeff and Patrice, and they did very well. this you can see on our video. In England every kind of Double-Handling and every influencing control from outside of the ring is forbidden. Therefore there is grave silence in the exhibition halls. No mobile phones. No barking, no shouting - nothing. In the ring even the talking with the judge is prohibited. Striker almost made the lineup but he has was not placed in the end. Nevertheless,

Flyer cleared the decks once again: Quite masterfully he won this strong class. However, in the decision for the CC he was beaten by a fawn male dog from England (for witch many spectators around the ring had a lack of understanding). But he got the Reserve Dog CC and left a 113 dogs behind him.

The Benches

We made it comfortable
Striker was very curious
A lot of peopla were interested in our dogs
Everything is o.k., when my Mummy is with me...
The work is done- now I can have a nap...
Flyer and Christian

The Benches with the Crufts are not wired in, like with us. They exist of a raised board (about 20 to 30 centimetres high and 90 centimetres deep) with a back wall (about 90 centimetres high). This back wall has slits in and side walls are put in (with our Great Danes about 1 meteres squere of, with the smaller breedsyou have slightly more room) which are about 60 centimetres high. In the front the Benches are open. Thus one dog lies quite peacefully beside the other. However, it is quite necessary that the owners stay with their dogs to avoid "discussions" with the neighbouring dogs. For a lot of visitors who passe to have a look at the dogs this has two advantages: On the one hand, they can see the dogs better, on the other hand they find a contact-person with every dog. Presence duty counts for all dogs in their bench. It is not allowed to walk with the dog trough the halls.

Striker and Flyer enjoyed this "open Benching" properly. Seldom they were admired so often at an exhibition and were photographed so often like here. And seldom we were asked about Striker so often. Above all, his great deep-black colour had done it for the Britt's. Many Great Dane breeders asked us to give themselves our calling card and asked for breedings and for puppies of Striker and Flyer. We could make so many new contacts and got to know many new Great Dane friends. However, also old friends called in on us. Thus we met Margaret Everton, the wellknown English breeder and judge who was very enthousiastic about Flyer and Striker, and Monica Stavenborn from Sweden with whom we went to the European Winner Show in Helsinki last year . And we got to know Juri and Hitoshi Sayama from Japan. They are friends of Jeff and Patrice and breed in cooperation with them. In other words: The Great Danes of Juri and Hitoshi live with Jeff and Patrice, and both American Handlers do not only show the dogs, but also breed with them if Yuri and Hitoshi so desire.


Juri and Hitoshi

Both Japanese own a "Grooming School" in Japan in which 250 students are trained during two years. The pupils here learn not only and "styling" the dogs, but also how one handels dogs in shows, how to train them to be dogs for blind or disabled persons, subordination training and a lot more. Juri and Hitoshi have started a school for training disabled person's dogs. In the meantime, they have a lot of Grooming-Salons. Recently they also have started their business in China. In Japan it is forbidden to have bigger dogs in the cities. So there are

many small dogs who must be brushed regularly, trimmed and be styled - ideal conditions for Grooming Salons. Juri and Hitoshi had come to Crufts with eight of their best pupils. We arranged to meet both Japanese friends for dinner - there was so much to tell and to find out that an afternoon with them at the Crufts Dogshow was insufficient.

In the evening after this very eventful day not only our Danes, but we were allso "dog-tired" and went to bed early. Because we had been at the exhibition the whole day and did see nothing of the stands at Crufts (in the end, we had to remain with the dogs), we decided, to go to Crufts on Saturday to do an extensive shopping tour.

An offer of abundance

Flyer and Striker remained in the car when we went to the NEC on Saturday. This time to look (and for shopping). The offer of stands is really overpowering. According to statistics there live more than 6 million dogs in England, and the average Englishmen spends more than a milliard pounds a year on their dogs - a gigantic market. However, you meet not only Englishman here, but dog friends from the whole of Europe, from the United States and from Asia. The Crufts Dogshow is known worldwide. BBC2 reported one hour about the exhibition each evening. I have never seen such a variety in objects anywhere in the world like here. Whether it be wall clocks, flower vases, kitchen utensils, bedclothes, towels, handbags, jewellery - there is, actually, nothing what does not embroider, print, is pasted or is decorated some other way with pictures almost of all dog breeds. In addition, there is an extensive choice in linnen, dogleads and accessories, in Grooming articles, even brook blossoms mixtures, teas and medicaments for dogs are offered. And also dog owners do not come too briefly: Clothes for the shows (in England nobody shows his dog in Jeans, here people wear costumes or a suite and tie), Outdoor clothing, hats, scarfs, mules, gloves, socks - of course everything with print of the suitable dog breed. More than 600 stands offer an almost blind choice of useful and pointless (however, beautyfull) things all around the dog.

We found even an info stand of the American Kennel club AKC. The conversations with the food manufacturers and food distributors were interesting for us. Thus we found out that Royal Canine produces food now that especially is made for the Great Danes and larger breeds. The food size is about 3 centimeters. The researchers of Royal Canine have found out that this is the ideal size for our breed. Early in the afternoon we were simply overwhelmed by everything on offer and went back to the hotel. At the end of the day, we still wanted to take a long walk with our dogs, before we met Juri and Hitoshi and the students for dinner.

„Japanese Water“

With "Japanese Water"

Meeting where: Eleven Japanese, two Americans, two Dutchmen and two Germans for dinner in England in an Italian restaurant. It hardly can be much more international. This "Multiculti" society gathered in the evening. And seldom I have learnt so much and laughed so much.

Now we know what "Cheers" is in Japanese (they say "Kampai"), Juri and Hitoshi had invited the whole amusing society to food, and in the course of the evening this society would become more and more amusing. Juri conjured Sake from her pocketbook which she had bottled in water bottles. Sake is like the Dutch Jenever, or German Snapps, however is not made from grain, but from potatoes. I think that we got about four to five bottles of this "Japanese Water" this evening. The Italian restaurant owners where surprised about the fact that three bottles of wine which we had ordered made us so very funny.

We got to know a lot about the Dane-breeding in Japan and in the USA and could report something about the breeding here in Europe. The standards for Great Danes passed the table about many differences we talked. The Americans breed for size. They aim at long necks and long stretched narrower heads. American Danes should be elegant, and be slender but not to flatsided and still have substance and the impressive look of a Apollo, dogs with heavy substance and heads like here in Europe, would have no chance there. Also the health is an important criteria with the breeding of American Great Danes, they mostly become older in age than ours.

The American Kennel Club permits color-crossing, the American Great Dane club don’t like to see this, but dus not interfere, and leaves this up to the breeders. Therefore breeding in the states is predominantly pure-color, colorcrosses are rare and are carried out only for improvement of breedtype. Merles are not allowed in the breeding programme, the mantles are treated in the USA as a separate colour. For the achievement of the American champion's title there are no time restrictions you need 15 points to finish, including two majors.

(these are shows with a bigger entry of Great Danes, I believe the minimum requirement is 80 or 90 Danes for a Major 1 Major = 5 points)

If a European is on holiday in the states for four weeks with a good dog who corresponds to the American standard, he could with some luck return to Europe with an American Champion.

In the USA there several shows come in what they call a circuit, at the same venue there could be up to 5 shows at a certain time each year.

Jeff and Patrice, for example, have returned to the states on Monday and start with five dogs on the Tuesday evening to exhibitions which take place Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the same venue, but are treated as five different shows ( a Circuit). The longest "show marathon" takes place in Florida: There are 15 shows one after the other during 16 days. There is a Handler in the USA who fly's in a private jet with his dogs from show to show The owner of the dogs pays for this!

Today in California, tomorrow in Florida. The day after tomorrow in Kentucky. The smaller shows take place there also in the middle of the week, big shows mostly at the week-ends. Jeff and Patrice go to the shows with a camper (larger then european campers, more like a coach). Every dog has his own Bench in there.

Warwick Castle

Warwick Castle
It looks very nice...
There are beautiful gardens around the castle
The walls are older than 1000 years
Livelike waxdolls, done by Madame Tussaud
A look from the towers of Warwick Castle
A drink in the Hotelbar
Flyer joines us...

After two days of Crufts and after a lovely evening with "Japanese Water" Sunday we took our "rest day" and decided to enjoy some English culture. We visited Warwick Castle, just 60 km away from Birmingham. The castle which has a more than millennial history burnt out in 1871 and was restored again. Till the Victorian time it was inhabited, and it is fantastically well-preserved. The living rooms are in the original state, carpets, wall papers or silks, pieces of furniture, utensils – you have the feeling somebody still lives here. This feeling is increased by the lifelike wax dolls which show everyday scenes from the life of the previous owners. There are many pictures and infos about the castle under We wandered not only by the sitting rooms and bedrooms of the inhabitants, but also explored the dungeons and the cellars, became witnesses of the preparations of the battle and climbed on the towers of the old castle. In the afternoon after so much "sightseeing" we still took a long walk with the dogs, before we allowed ourselfs to end the day comfortably in the hotel bar.

Some other friends came over to the Hotel to meet us in the bar, Flyer allso joined us in the bar and was the star of the evening.




















































The return journey

Ready to start
Dick is feeding the birds
Goodbye, England!

Jeff and Patrice flew back home Monday morning early at 6 o'clock from Birmingham over Amsterdam (in the end, they have the first dogshow to attend Wednesday again), we started on the way home at 9 o'clock after a well cooked English breakfast with a lot of Baked Beans for Christian (his favorite). In the harbour at Dover we met two Swedish Lady's, friends of Monica Stavenborn, with their West Highland White Terrier. Their guy had won the BOB at Crufts.

In marvellous weather we enjoyed the crossing back to the Continent, and shortly after 20:00 hours Central European Time (we had to put our watches again one hour ahead) we were in Oegstgeest. Christian and I still had to go back to the Westerwald the same evening, where we arrived about 1 o'clock in the morning.

Result of this exciting week-end: The Crufts is always worth a trip - particularly, with dogs. Since Flyer and Striker are absolutely uncomplicated and anything but a nusence if we take them travelling. And if you are at the Crufts with a dog, you get to know much more people, if you visit this fantastic Crufts Dogshow exhibition. In any case, we have enjoyed this long week-end fully.