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This is my report that i sent to the Finnish Griffon Club after judging their Open Show.
Thoughts after judging the Open Show 20110205
Thanks to the Finnish Griffon Club for inviting me and especially to all the wonderful exhibitors for showing your Griffs this snowy time of the year.
I had a wonderful day and really enjoyed myself.
When I look at the results in the catalogue it seems that I have been quite international.
It's a true Griffon world we live in ? It’s great that the opportunity to cooperate over the borders has become easier these days and that more countries are included. I am sure that breeding is benefitting from this. Most griffons where off course of Finnish breeding and you’ve done an excellent job. Over all I was very pleased. I really liked the ones that where placed for best bitch and dog in the three varieties.
Being an exhibitor and breeder myself I understand that keeping the dogs in good condition this time of the year is not easy (nearly impossible). Some of the griffons I couldn’t put up although I liked them and saw their qualities due to their condition or coat. There were both fat and skinny ones. Most dogs have to be well muscled to be in balance and without that movement, neck and back will be negatively affected as well as the general appearance of the dog. I don’t blame you for entering these dogs. I would have done the same myself at a club show and am happy that you did, but I hope you understand why some dogs didn’t do so well. It is usually the hardest to keep the young ones, old ones and bitches that recently have whelped in condition.
I was actually really stunned by some of the young and old ones. All credits to their owners for keeping them in such good shape.
“Stram” is a Swedish word that I used quite frequently at the show. An exhibitor asked me what it meant. It is a word that for me very much represents what I want to see in the back and neck of a griffon. It means not only a good topline and reach of neck. With the right muscle and temperament of the dog it will also be strong, tense and firm. In English one could also say dead level topline which would explain the tense. I hope you understand. Maybe you have a Finnish word that is well suited? 
Other points that are very important to me for a good outline are proportions and tail set. If this is not correct I think it spoils the whole outline.
I was thrilled to see so many Griffons at the show with lovely heads, expressions and small ears. Coats were also very good both quality and colour also overall very good temperaments. These are also very important points in a Griffon. I was also pleased that most Griffons were of good size. Not many too big ones which has been quite frequent lately. 
I started with the smooths and had some really beautiful and promising young dogs. I wouldn’t have thought that the three first dogs in line for best dog would be from the young dog classes. But they where! Of course I realise that they are not ready. They had so much quality and where similar in type and size with very nice heads and expressions. They where all in very good condition and with enough muscle for age and thus excellent in movement, reach of neck and with level toplines. It will be very interesting to follow them in the future. The winner Ikirumban Charmikas excelled with his beautiful head and expression and he never stopped showing. He also won the special price for best head. Among the champions I had several very nice dogs of various types with different good and bad points. The one that presented the best picture and movement for me was Shanson Iz Mitkov Ekateriny and he ended up as 4:th BD.
Among the smooth bitches there were also several very nice ones, but the one that totally overwhelmed me was the champion Beauview In The Buff she was outstanding . Perfect in most points. I loved her size and proportions, head, expression, ears and with a dead level topline. Perfect both standing and moving. No wonder she ended up BIS. There was also a very promising young bitch Hassunassun Rajaton Rakkus she ended up 3:rd BB.
For BOB I could really not do anything else than give it to the girl even though I loved the boy.
The roughs weren’t as many and I believe it’s a world wide trend that unfortunately they are becoming less popular. I can also understand that maybe some have not been in coat for the show this time of the year. Nevertheless the ones I had in both best dog and bitch class were excellent. My dog class winner and BOB was nearly 8 years old Huvikummun Remarkable Red. He was presented in beautiful condition, coat and very well trimmed. He too presented a lovely outline and I would never have guessed his age. Second to him was a very nice and promising young dog Union Griff Bestseller.
There were several rough bitches that weren’t in the best of condition. Although I could see their qualities. I ended up with three excellent ones for BB class. A young girl Hassunassun Quuma Mimmi was my choice to win and she had really lots to like about her. Excellent coat texture and beautiful colour. Very well built and sound mover. The two girls from champion class were also very nice and it was not easy to make a decision.
In BOB the old boy really showed well and I love the balance of cobby without being heavy which he presents so I gave it to him. The young girl will probably be even better with in a year. Then she will be tough to beat.
I didn’t have so many belges to judge but I liked the winners a lot. BD was Mustan Ruhtinattaren Susieboy also a very square and cobby boy of good size. Lovely head. Excellent coat and colour but would have looked even better if he had been more trimmed in front and topline to get a better finish. The one that really surprised me was the 11 year old Pacey Mask Of Zorro. Wow! tremendous condition all over and showed like a clock with excellent movement. Very good type and well built. He finished up 3:rd in BD class.
In the bitches it was not difficult to put up Pacey Piece Of Gold. Nearly 6 years old and in excellent condition. Very well constructed and sound with a lovely head. She was a bit short in coat, but rather that than too much. She didn’t have anything to hide.
For BOB I choose the boy. They had different good and bad points the bitch is sounder in movement but I prefer the size and cobbyness of the boy.
I had two really promising puppies the rough dog Goldnugget Easy Rafaello and the smooth bitch Nocciolini Cannella e Zuucchero. Both had great temperaments and showed very well. Lovely heads and details. Very good coat and colour on both. The bitch was today slightly long in back so I let the boy win. Having seen many puppies developing I know that conformation is something that can change a lot up to 2 years of age. Many go through ugly periods, so it will be interesting to see these two in the future. I wish their owners good luck!   
I have already mentioned 11 year old Pacey Mask Of Zorro. He was breathtaking and was BIS veteran, but I also had a very nice red rough 9 years old dog Bebops’s Easy Living. He also had so much quality and was in very good shape. He would have looked even better with less coat in front and a better finish to neck and topline. He had great coat texture and colour so it should not be hard. He finished up 3:rd in BD class.
I had two top quality breeders groups one Black rough and one red smooth. Credits to the breeders. The winner was Pacey’s blacks who had the most even group and runner up was the Hassunasun’s reds.
When my three Best Of Breeds entered the ring I was really satisfied. They looked lovely and there was a great atmosphere at ringside. They all showed their very best all the time. I could still not do much but put the smooth up. She had it all! Congratulations!
We were very lucky to have Terhi Kaipainen t aking pictures of every single griffon at the show. Really great!!  I have with permission from Tehri put some of them in a photo gallery here bellow.


I had a wonderful day. Lovely dogs and people. Thank You all!

And keep up the good work!

 

Annika