Number 5 of the FCI newsletter is ready, although somewhat later than usual. But, as number 6 is already in the pipeline and will be out soon, we will be able to present you with six issues a year as promised. Together with my partners Marie Luna Duran and Yves De Clercq we have worked hard to keep you informed on a regular basis about what goes on in the world of the FCI. As if starting up a newsletter was not enough, there were also the festivities to celebrate the FCI Centenary Year with the FCI Centenary Champion of Champions Show and the Cynological Days recently held in Brussels as the highlight. In the next issue we will focus on this event only, with a full report and lots of photos. I realize that it was not just an exhausting year for us, but for everyone who has worked hard to make all this happen, especially all the people who helped organizing the different events...

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Member of the Editorial Board of the FCI Newsletter

FCI European Dog Show. Interview with Gerard Jipping, president of the show

- Mr.Jipping, I presume I’m not the first one to congratulate you on your excellent show. How do you look back at your own show? Was it according to your expectations?

No, you are not one of the first, but of course I’m very happy to accept them, like with all congratulations that reached us. It pleases me enormously to receive all those compliments that are still coming in from all over the world and all corners of cynology. Of course I’m also very pleased that so many owners and handlers from all over Europe reacted so positively during and after the show. With satisfaction I look back at our show as the goal was “quality before quantity” and we achieved it in my opinion and according to all the messages we received. And did it come up to my expectations? …Yes, we had a very dog- and people friendly show. But I want to thank all the exhibitors, judges, sponsors, press, trade stand holders, ring stewards, collaborators and my commission, as together we can look back at this successful and qualitative FCI European Show.

© Karl Donvil

- What turned out beyond your expectations in a positive way?

The available space was my first concern. But we have done everything possible to create enough space inside as well as outside to create as much space as possible for animals, people and transport so that there was enough room to move around and to keep the distances between the rings and also between the rings and the parking area as short as possible. We did not want to sacrifice everything to have large rings and I think we managed to have this perfectly in balance. Very positive too were the entries from so many different countries. I had only hoped to welcome so many representatives from all countries, but this was more than I had expected. I am very pleased that my hope came true.

- While your show ran so smoothly technically, the trade stand holders were not so happy, about the contrary to Paris. What was in your opinion the reason for this?

I admit, the trade stand holders were not that happy, which I can understand perfectly. There were not enough buying visitors to their booths. It is really a pity, but that is how things can turn out in business. Some things are just out of control. We have done as much as possible to attract as many visitors as possible like advertisements, tv commercials, radio commercials, a dog parade in the streets of Leeuwarden and even decorating shops. Also during the show we tried to direct the visitors to the trade hall by several activities like ‘happy hour”. But maybe in the future we should sit together to tackle this problem so that the trades also can return home with a satisfying turnover.

- And also the total number of entries was somewhat disappointing . Did you expect this?

We hoped not but expected it. 2011 was a year full with shows, especially the big international Shows. We expected it from the moment we knew we had to change the date from July to September, this was because the organization of the World Dog Show changed its date from October to July. The Europeanshow was initially planned in July. The only remaining option for us was to organize our show the first weekend of September, right after the holidays and very close to the World Dog Show.

- I suppose you counted on the Scandinavian countries and Germany, seen the geographical position of Leeuwarden, am I right? And did it turn out that way?

No, we did not just look at the neighbouring countries. We wanted dogs from all over Europe, just because it is a European Show and also because it was a show to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the FCI. That is why the list of judges was very European and even “World”. Judges came from all continents and almost all FCI countries were represented by a judge. The results is there, we had dogs from 47 countries and this is unique!!!! But the countries you mentioned are in the top 10 of most entries. First came the Netherlands with 2804, than Russia, a surprising second place with 1652 entries and then Germany with 779.

- In many ways your show was an example. What were the nicest compliments you got?

What you say now “In many ways your show was an example” is just an amazing compliment. In the context of this show I have always stated that we, alike all European Dog Shows, would have our own faults and shortcomings. But I have also always said that we should be prepared to accept this and if possible improve this. During the preparations we have analysed previous European and World shows carefully, what went wrong and what was good. We have tried to copy the good points and tried to improve the shortcomings if possible. And during the show we have taken suggestions into account and tried to solve it. That was one of the things we received a lot of compliments for. But those compliments count for all the people who turned this into a nice show. Also a personal word to the people of the Press, … compliments!!! You didn’t let me down but turned my expectations into reality. You did your job very professionally and gave us the perfect tips to achieve better mutual results. We appreciated all compliments, the big and the small ones. They give appreciation to all people who helped , especially those working backstage before and during the show.

© Karl Donvil

- What advise can you give to Romania and what experiences can you share with them ?

Watch and analyze your predecessors and think always in the interest of dog and handler. But I am confident that Romania is doing so already. At our show they were invited to have a look behind the scene and could see where things ran well and where problems had to be solved. This way of collaboration is something that I think is very important. It is necessary to be able to realize something as big as a European or World show. And this collaboration should benefit our dogs and the way society looks at them.

- How was the response in the national media?

The media in general and the regional media in particular were well represented. A lot of TV and radio stations covered the show in a positive way. Of course we were very pleased as in general there is much more interest in case of negative news.

- I heared about the sad news of 4 dogs found dead in cars on the parking. In order to stop unverified rumors I would like to ask you what really happened?

Indeed 3 dogs died, but they did not die at the show or in the parking area. We heard it also afterwards (on Monday morning) via the media. And as usual via the press it starts its own life, out of control for us. All day long during the show we could count on 4 vets, well prepared to any possible situation in my opinion. I’m also glad that we did not encounter any annoying situations although I could not understand why some exhibitors leave their dogs for so long in the car on the parking. In good and tense collaboration with police and vets we have acted fast and accurate so that no dogs died of heat in cars. Back to the 3 dogs that died we, as organization of this show, are not able to tell anything more but what we have written it in our statement. And this statement is based on data fom a local vet in Leeuwarden. Thus, we are not able to judge on that. But however they died, it shouldn’t have happened. We should all, organizers as well as owners, pay more attention to our dogs on shows as well as in general.

© Karl Donvil

- You could count on a strong team and everything was followed up closely and adjusted when needed. You were open for suggestions even if this implemented deviating from the initial planning. I think this has led to good decisions and not to chaos. Was the hierarchical delegating of tasks a clear engagement in the group?

It is only possible to organize well if you have a good team and if that team wants to collaborate and if every team member is willing to take up his responsibility. I am really proud of my team as together we realized our goal. The European Show 2011 of the Netherlands will be remembered as a quality show!!! And I want to grab this opportunity again once more to thank all collaborators warmheartedly with the words “Friends, we did it!!!”

- When can we expect a new international nomination for the Netherlands?

The Dutch Kennel Club has proved that they can handle a show of this size, but when will the next one be?.....we will let you know.

Thanks for this interview.

Interview by Karl DONVIL