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

Interview of Hans Van den Berg
© Karl Donvil

Mr. Van den Berg, most people who are regular visitors of dogshows will know you as you are probably the best known Dutch judge in the world. How long have you been judging and please tell me how it started?

I have been judging now for 35 years. The Dutch Scottish Terrier Club asked me to participate in the examination for judge. At 16 I successfully ended my education for judging but I was very busy with breeding and showing and did not think about judging.

What was your breed when you started? Why that breed?

When I did my examination I had a Bobtail and Scottish Terriers

Do you still have a dog?

For the moment I have a Scottish “Danskots Devil in Disguise” who is now 7 and for a couple of weeks I have been having new Scottish “Danskots Sweet N’Naughty”. They are beautiful and healthy dogs that give me a lot of pleasure every day again.

When did you decide to start judging and what was your first breed?

That was in 1976 and it was the Scottish of course, the breed that I showed and judged.

When did you become an all-round judge?

I became an all-rounder in 1987

To become a respected judge like you are is not easy. What is your advice to future judges?

My advice for new judges ? Always prepare as well as possible. Even if you judge a breed regularly, read and study the standard over and over and look at photos of good and less good examples of the breed. Show respect for dog and owner when in the ring and friendliness must be evident. Show that you enjoy judging!

You travel all over the world. Is judging a fulltime job for you?

For me judging is not a job but a hobby.

Will you ever retire from judging or go on as long as health allows?

I will stop judging from the moment I no longer enjoy it or when it becomes too exhausting.

I suppose you were honoured when the Raad van Beheer asked you to judge Best in Show at the European Dog Show in Leeuwarden. You did not hesitate I suppose?

I was very pleased with the invitation to judge BIS and did not hesitate one second to accept.

You did not see the group judging, did you ? You saw the breed winners for the first time when it was your time to judge.

The first day I saw the Fox Terrier from a distance and also the group winners of the last day. The other days I wasn’t at the show as I judged specialties.

Your BIS dog, the Afgan Hound, is a very glamorous breed. Were you not afraid that it would be regarded as too easy to take this dog? In other words, why was this dog so special?

I prejudged the winning dogs and admired them in show pose. I had another choice at first but after the official judging I was pretty sure that it would be either the Afgan or the Fox that would become my BIS. I did not doubt about that.

The Fox Terrier was your reserve. Maybe some comments on this one too?

Both my BIS and my Reserve had points that could have been better but I am not going to tell them here of course.

Your 3rd BIS was the Dachshund and this is unusual as most of the time, judges place them behind. I suppose this must have been a very good one?

The Dachshund was one of my favourites too, but unfortunately at the end it didn’t want to show any longer .

The European Dog Show in Leeuwarden entered history as one of the best ever organized. You have been at so many. Were you very confident that your compatriots would do so well?

The organization did an excellent job for the judges and the seminar preceding the show was very well organized. I hardly saw judging in the rings during the 4 days and I thus have no opinion but the finals were just fantastic. It was festively decorated , well organized and I was proud of the organization of the show.

Thank you for being so kind to give this interview to the FCI magazine.

Interview: Karl DONVIL.