In the summer of 2014, I was asked to come to Russia to judge the Sabaneev Dachshund Specialty in Moscow. The show was named the “Snow Dachshund” Specialty and was to be held with a Hunting Dog Show in Moscow in January of 2015. I, of course, said yes as I have always wanted to see if the beautiful pictures of Dachshunds from Russia move as our American dogs do. Arrangements were made, my airplane tickets were purchased and I wound up arriving in Moscow on Friday, January 23, 2015 at about 6 PM local time. It was a long flight and I slept very little, but did manage a quick trip to the Bolshoi Ballet to see “Swan Lake” that evening. I was so sleepy that I did doze off a time or two, but I really enjoyed seeing the Ballet Theater and the crowd there.
When I returned to the Hotel, they told me that I had the largest entry of the Show and drew 160 Dachshunds, but, unfortunately, I was just able to judge 118 on the day of the Show due to FCI regulations. Hearing that made me much more eager for the show to start tomorrow and so our group was one of the first batch of Judges to arrive at the Show Grounds where we managed to get by the horrible traffic jam that had the exhibitors backed up with so many worried about missing the judging in the morning.
At the Show, I was taken to my Ring and introduced to the Show Secretary, the Translator and the lady who wrote the critiques and I got ready to start my assignment which first began with Standard Smooth Dachshunds. First was the Baby Puppy division and I found a B&T bitch that I really admired a lot.
The female, Darina, had a nice neck and headset, nice topline, pretty front and rear and a very nice motion. I admired her outline and movement and she became my Best Dachshund Puppy and is one that could well come back to the USA for competition as she had a lot to offer the Breed and had so many of the Dachshund characteristics that the Breed needs. The male was almost as good in profile and movement, but had a little too much rear angulation to beat the bitch this day at the Show.
The next class was for Junior Dachshunds and here are a couple of snapshots of the class. My eye was immediately drawn to the one standing in fourth place in line as she was perfectly balanced standing there and, in motion, she became the best mover as well. I instantly thought First Place for this outstanding bitch and here was another one I wanted to bring home with me and the first four in that class would all do very well in the competitions I have seen around the world.
This First Place bitch held herself together with every step and she always looked like she owned the ground she stood on. In my mind, she would be a top contender for the USA shows and would be one I would be proud to show. I look at her and see that bend of stifle, that topline and then the gorgeous forechest and undercarriage and all those qualities say she is a beautiful Dachshund. I certainly did admire this one and really was glad to put her up as best Junior Dachshund in Show.
This is one that I could look at all day as she is beautiful from the tip of her nose the end of her tail. I admire almost everything about her and she would have been a great addition to my kennel when I was still breeding and she definitely would be a big contender in the show rings of the USA. That forechest and neckset always catch my eye and to pair that up with those short little hocks means that she moves so very well, front and rear and from the side. She was definitely my Best Junior Smooth Standard Dachshund.
Next came the Regular Classes and in one of the Classes, there was a Chocolate and Tan male who literally stopped me dead in my tracks. Standing, he had all the elements I want in a Dachshund as he had a great head, beautiful neckset, great topline, wonderful forechest, perfect underline and moved beautifully around the Ring. I was amazed that I had found a third one to bring back to compete in America, but this one was a Special and he was ready to compete wherever he could and would always be a contender because of his quality. Again, he was easily my best Smooth Standard male and one that I would take anywhere I have judged and he would be a top competitor. I would also love to have owned him and taken him back to my Country.
This is one that I really wanted and would have gladly taken him home that day. He was magnificent and, in my mind, would be a great dog in any competition. I considered him the Best Smooth Male I have seen for many a year.
Next was the Standard Smooth bitches and the same handler won that sex as well with a red Smooth bitch that again looked great, standing or moving
In Standard Smooth bitch winner was another nice one that moved well, was trained to perfection and, with her profile and movement, she again was the Class winner and was one that would be a great addition to any kennel with her stylish outline and attractive side profile.
The other picture shows my list of Standard Smooth Bitch winners and these bitches were the ones I liked and I gave CC’s to all three of them. The second one was a lovely Chocolate and Tan and the third was another outstanding bitch, very long and low and so Dachshundy,too.
For the Best of Variety competition, I soon decided that the Chocolate and Tan male had everything I was wanting to see in Standard Smooths and he easily placed Best Smooth and would remain high on my list of Winners that I wanted to see again, even though Standard Smooths were the first Variety that I judged that day. The Best female was Best Opposite and the Junior bitch was also an excellent addition to the line up of winning Standard smooths and, in looking back, all three would be very welcome to come back to America and show everyone the qualities that we are really missing in this Variety.
In Standard Longhairs, there is always a choice we have to make in that the European type is a slighter, less robust look than the American type which is a tad larger and stouter with more forechest and just a bigger body. Obviously, after showing the American type, that is the look I will prefer in that, in my opinion, it is just more correct and more similar to the other Varieties of Dachshunds.
In Juniors, I quickly liked the aspects of this young dog standing in First Place. I admired his look and his carriage and easily saw that he had a nice amount of forechest in front that sealed the deal. He was my Junior Champion Standard Longhair. I found him very pleasing. In that Junior class, the type differences are there to see and, in my mind, the red male puppy is just a better dog, better moving and with a prominent forechest and he easily topped the black and tan European type who is also nice overall, but had a distinct lack of front to my mind. In talking to the owner, they assured me that the front would be there, but in my history with Dachshunds, the front is always there and is one thing I insisted on before I started showing any young ones. These were again very nice Dachshunds, but I preferred the American type with more body and size and with the correct side movement that always catches my eye.
In regular classes, I had a choice between a dog of American type and of European type and the same choices were there, but, again, each needed a little more forechest. I could tell the American one was a little heavier in bone and had a little more body so went with that one for First Place and the European one was Second. Both were handsome dogs, in my opinion, and both got CC’s from me at this Show.
In the Best of Breed class, I gave the Junior Dachshund the Best Longhair award, over the Class Dogs and Class bitches and he was the one I sent to the Group. I liked this dog a lot and he won because he had the most forechest which is something we really need in this Variety and the amount of his chest in front of his shoulders made him the dog I would breed to out of all the Longhairs I had entered under me in Russia. It is just so important to have Dachshunds with a prominent forechest as that is one of the hallmarks of the Breed and one of the features we must not ever lose in Dachshunds.
In Standard Wirehairs, the competition was nice and I found a nice male to give Best of Breed to. He was a nice one with a nice topline , great underline and beautiful neckset and head. He was very similar to what is shown in the USA and one that could do well in our shows. In Baby Dachshunds, I had two nice Standards who had a nice outline especially when moving and were quite promising, but the top honors went to the Top Wire male who had it all together at the time they were judged. In the Wire Variety, the quality was very similar to what we see in the USA, but not quite as good as we see in the Variety at our major Shows.
Next was the Zwerg Miniature Longhair category and I gave the top spot to a very nice, Miniature male which had a nice way of going, level topline, moderate forechest, beautiful neck and head and a nice rear with short little hocks. He was very similar to the dog I placed second in his class and very similar to the third one as well. All three of these dogs received CC’s and the First one in line was Best Male. I gave all 3 CC’s as they all were very close to the Standard, in motion or standing.
In Zwerg females, I came up with this one who had a nice way of moving, nice forechest, great topline and underline, nice neckset and had a great attitude, very sure of herself and she was my Best Female Zwerg Miniature. Looking at her pictures made me like her even more and I was very proud of her as Best Female.
Then for Best of Breed, I chose the Male as Best of Breed as he is so close to the standard and has all the smaller things that I like to see in the Variety. He was an outstanding dog and the bitch, held by the owner, was too. Again, either would do very well around the world and I admired both of them.
My last Variety was Zwerg Smooth Miniatures and the first one in the ring was an absolutely gorgeous puppy and yet another one I would have smuggled home as I was quite taken by him standing or moving. In my mind, he was the best one I had seen all day and thought the Variety would go down from this auspicious beginning. Then the Junior Dachshund bitch came in and she was even better. She was not as trained as the Male, but she looked even better stacked and moving (when she wanted to).
I brought them both back in to compete for Best Junior and , honestly, I could have watched them moving all day long. They were both utterly great, standing or moving. After much deliberation, I chose the bitch as Best Junior with the Male Best Opposite and could not have been more pleased with those selections. I would have gladly taken them home as I would love to watch them develop and see their quality be so visible to all. I thought that these must be the high point of the competition and then the Zwerg Males entered the ring and I realized that I had truly not been to the apex of showing Dachshunds in Russia.
Here are two of the class dogs that I absolutely loved in the classes. Look at the head set and withers placement on these dogs and see what I am looking for in the Dachshund breed. Their length, their forechest, their short hocks, their lowness to the ground and their gorgeous heads made me realize again why I like to judge this Breed. Either of these were dogs I would own and own gladly. I so admired them and would have taken either home with me.
This owner showed several to me and I loved each one of them. They all were so very correct with proper movement and great toplines, underlines and necksets. These were also ones I would proudly own and show back in the USA as they were pretty perfect and always knew they looked as good as they did. They all seemed to own the ground they stood over and never let themselves down in any fashion, in motion or stacked.
Here is another male stacked while I am going over another entry. Again, another dog I loved and would have taken home instantly. Then, look at the line up I had in each class and just imagine seeing a class like that almost anywhere in the world. This competition was absolutely amazing and I loved judging each of these dogs.
Here is the group of winners I had to choose Best Male Zwerg Miniature and, to me, it is obvious that the last one had everything I was looking for. He had the outline, standing or moving, the neckset, the topline and underline, the short hocks and the beautiful head that I always want to find when I am judging. He was magnificent and, again, one I would love to own and show myself.
Here he is winning Best Male and in stacked pose at ringside. This dog had everything I look for in picking a nice dog and is a dog I would breed to anything for improvement. As I said, he was a magnificent dog and one I would love to take home with me. I found him nearly faultless and he never let himself go and was always nearly perfect and was exactly the look I love in the Dachshund breed, Standard or Miniature.
Here is a bitch getting a critique and, as is evident, there is not much I can say about perfection and that handler made them always look their best. Here are the two that I placed Best Male and Second place and both got CC’s as well as the third place one too. Any of them could have come home with me. I would have taken, really, about seven or eight of them back home as they are all great, standing or moving, and would, I hope, help the Variety in the USA. They were all just very outstanding animals.
In bitches, the same handler had another one that was equally as lovely as the male and, in fact, was his closest competition as they were so alike in their good points. This one easily won Best Zwerg bitch over some great competition and she would be a great one to bring up the the bitches line to compete with the Best male for Best of Variety. After much looking at the two of them and comparing their virtues, I put up the male as Best of Breed with her bitch, pictured here as Best Opposite and could not have been more pleased with any decision I made all day as both were very close to perfection in my mind.
Here are two more of her bitches to show their quality and to show what they have that we are in need of here in the USA. The way they hold their neckset and carry their head so well is what is really needed in the Miniature line and their toplines and underlines and prominent forechests are also direly needed and would be a large help in seeing the Miniature attain their status as equals with the Standards and, in fact, make them physically better than the Standards being shown. They both are very beautiful and make me want to start breeding again.
Here are a couple of the Zwerg Miniature females shown to me at the Specialty and they again have all the things I look for in this Variety. They are long and low with beautiful topline and gorgeous underline and neckset and shoulder where they are supposed to be on a Dachshund. Again, both are very nice ones that would look good in my kennel and I would own them very quickly as they have so many qualities of what what we are looking for in this Breed.
Here is the line up for Best in Show and all the individual winners are here and it was a big treat to see all the good ones that I put up all day. I loved their length and their structure, their movement and the necksets, the toplines and underlines and the general typiness that I found in each Variety. To me, in looking at the picture, there is one that really fills my eye as being the longest and lowest with the most beautiful type of any in the lineup and that was the Zwerg Miniature smooth which is pictured fourth from the left in this picture. He was my Best in Show that day and I could not have been more pleased to give that dog the award for BIS.
This one was my Number One in Best in Show Competition and this Zwerg Miniature was the best there was in the Breed that day, in my opinion. He was very magnificent and the BOS behind him was almost his equal and, in my mind, they were two of the nicest I have ever put up. I would take either of them home and be glad to own them. They were magnificent and they made me want to own dogs again as these were dogs I could breed and show and be proud of what they produced.
My top Junior Dachshund was the Zwerg Miniature owned by the owner of the BIS dog and she was an outstanding bitch that I just could not turn down. I found her getting better and better each time she came into the ring and I just could not help giving the owners another win.
Here is another shot of another group I did and the winners are the same and all great ones in my eye. All pretty perfect standing or moving and had great temperaments, too.These four dogs are all animals I would gladly take back to America and be proud to own and show them. I admired the whole bunch of them and found them all to be very great in the Ring, moving with great precision and stacking beautifully.
This photo is from the Group of Dachshunds and my winner is the brindle at the head of the line. I found her to be really attractive in motion or stacked and had really nice structure in that she kept her nice topline and underline with a gorgeous neckset. She looked great whenever my eye came across her and she, again, was an outstanding specimen that I would be very proud to own.
Finally, the last group was Veteran’s and I gave Best Veteran to this Zwerg Miniature who had so much to offer. A very nice dog, nicely handled and in great condition that is still being used at stud.
After the show, I was very pleased with the entry and I hope my talk about taking the dogs home didn’t scare the exhibitors, but I normally don’t see class after class of dogs I would be so very happy to have in my kennel. Normally, in the US shows, I might see one or two that I would own, but nothing compared me for the selection I would have here at the Moscow show. I seriously would have taken several of the Standard Smooths home and absolutely would have taken a dozen or so Zwerg Miniatures as well as the Rabbit Miniature Smooth and Wire home. Their quality made them very valuable to me and pushed me to place them very high in the Group finals. I wonder how they would produce, as judging makes me consider all my choices I would make as a breeder and what puppies would be the results.
When I am judging, I am thinking about our current situation in the USA and where we need improvement and, I believe, I picked the dogs out that would do us the most good as Show Dogs and producers. The Zwerg and Rabbit Miniatures would so help the necksets and heads of the Miniature Varieties in the USA and the standard smooth would help the Standards in our area in so many ways . They all have so many good qualities that would make our Dachshunds better in the long run and finding those good qualities is the reason is why I judge and what I am always trying to accomplish. I certainly hope that my judgments were appreciated by the exhibitors and understood by the spectators.
After the Show, there was a beautiful dinner for the Judges and on Sunday an equally good lunch at a gorgeous old restaurant. The Club could not have been better for me and I felt so valuable in drawing such a nice entry for them and placing them as I saw fit. The next day, I got on the plane and thought fondly of all the great new Dachshunds that I had judged and I was very proud of the way they had captured the Russian’s imagination as a beautiful addition to the dog world.
Written by Dan Harrison and pictures were all from Facebook.