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

Junior Handler : Paulina Lisiak

1. Hi Paulina, thank you for accepting this interview with us. Please, tell us something about you in few words: who you are, how old you are and where you come from.

My name is Paulina Lisiak and I am 14 years old. I come from Poland and live in small town - Kozmin Wielkopolski (between Poznan and Wroclaw). I am studying in gymnasium. My main hobby is taking care about dogs!!! Every weekend I am going on dog shows, but in my free time I want to go hunting with my father and our dogs. It is not a normal hunting because instead of a gun we take a photo camera! I love to see when a pointer is pointing the birds and a dachshund is going into the straw ballots… You cannot believe that in one straw ballot can live six or seven foxes! Working with dogs is my passion.

2. You are now having 18 dogs at home!!! Are you breeders?

I have got 15 dachshunds wirehaired standard and 3 german shorthaired pointers at home. My father has been a breeder for about 17 years, so dogs are in my house since I was born and even longer. My biggest love are dachshunds. They are really funny and they have got an unusual character. Pointers are really clever dogs, they are extraordinarily intelligent! “Anons FCI” is the name of our Kennel and our dogs are showing and hunting dogs, because both things are very important for us.

© Karl Donvil

3. When did you start showing dogs? Do you remember your first time in the ring?

I have been participating at dog shows since I was born, but only as a spectator. My father used to show our dogs on every event. The very first time I handled one of our dachshund in the ring was when I was 8 years old. I was a little bit nervous… That day I showed our Int.Ch. KAREL vom Linteler Forst; he got BOB title on national dog show in Poland with me as its handler and it has been an amazing moment! Since that day I have started showing dogs in the ring more often. My father was a special teacher for me.

4. Are you showing dogs professionally too? Do you take care about grooming?

Yes, I am showing dogs professionally as well. I mostly like to work with hunting breeds like dachshunds, pointers, setters, spaniels, retrievers, but I like and show also other breeds. Now I am not a professional groomer, but as you know, I live with wire dachshunds so I have to prepare them for shows. Sometimes it’s not easy, however I love grooming them. According to me it’s a little bit artistic work… I have dogs with different kinds of wire coat, so I can practice on a lot of hair textures.

5. You said you also like go hunting. Do you attend working trials with your dogs?

Yes, we attend hunting’s trial with our dogs, mainly with our dachshunds, but with pointers too, of course!

6. What about your first Junior Handling competition?

Two years after my first experience as handler, I have decided to start in Junior Handling competitions. Aleksandra Szydlowska showed me some figures and she taught me something about. I have been practising every single day before a show with my dogs. So, in my first Junior Handling competition, I have participated with my German shorthaired pointer Int.Ch. AFRA z Dobelickych Luk. She was really well behaving! In our debut’s day we were second in the younger group! I will never forget about our special preparation… For sure it’s due to Junior Handling that my shows’ career really took off! My first JH season was successful because of my fantastic friends, who gave me some suggestions about how to show very well and because of fantastic dogs, of course.

7. Which breeds do you prefer to show in Junior Handling? Why?

I like big and elegant breeds as pointers and setters because of their movement. I have great feelings and emotions for German shorthaired pointers related to my first time in Junior Handling. Furthermore I love to show dachshunds because I have big experience with them. Anyway, instead of pointers, setters and dachshunds, I like to compete with Chinese crested dogs, English and American cocker spaniels, golden retrievers, some of terrier and hunting breeds!

8. In which countries have you competed till now and which are your major awards?

I have competed in countries like Germany, Slovakia, Czech Republic, England and Poland of course. My biggest success were representing my country at Crufts and Eastern Europe Winner. I got the title of “Representative of Poland at Crufts 2011” during my first year competing in the older group! Moreover I won a lot of competitions and I have been among the 10 best handlers in Poland after each season.

© Karl Donvil

9. In March 2011 you have been awarded “International Junior Handler of the Year” at Crufts. Tell us something more about that thrilling day! What did you feel on the green carpet?

That day my biggest dream came true… In the morning 39 representatives, who came from countries around the World, met their dogs which they chose thanks to a special entryform some weeks before. Most of the handlers have chosen pointers and I got a German shorthaired pointer named Morgan. He was strong, but well behaving, with an exceptional temperament. Everybody was a little bit nervous of course, but everybody was very proud too! Competition was judged by Christopher Habig from Germany who told us that we shouldn’t be nervous because each of us is a winner in his/her country. After this encouraging words we were a little bit calmer! Everything was prepared in an excellent way! In the main ring, after the introduction of all handlers on the green carpet, we had to perform a triangle. Our – I mean me and Morgan’s - triangle was really well made, so we were happy! After the judgement with our dogs we had to make a dog’s exchange and I got a female golden retriever. We did “up and down”. My new dog was as rich of temperament as Morgan was! Later we got our first choice dogs again and the judge selected 8 of us: the best handlers at Crufts 2011 - anyway handlers didn’t know who those could be, it would have been a secret till the Final before the Best in Show. In the late afternoon 39 handlers entered on an amazing green carpet and the best 8 competitors were called in the center of the Arena… My happiness cannot be described when I heard that Poland was one of the finalists! We did another “up and down” and, after all of us made this, the judge with an elegant hand’s movement “invited” me and Morgan on the first place!!! I didn’t realize it immediately. I had tears of happiness in my eyes and I didn’t know what to do… My friends, reporters and a lot of people were congratulating me, my parents were very, very happy because of this amazing win. It was the most beautiful time of my life… I won Junior Handling competition at Crufts in 120th anniversary of this big event, an amazing survival!

10. Could you explain how Junior Handling is organized in your country?

In Poland junior handling competitions take place in all international shows, most of national shows and in some club shows. There are 2 age-group: younger and older category. Handlers get points for maximum 5 points in qualifications. Then they get points on the podium: 4 points for 4th place, 6 points for 3rd place, 8 points for 2nd place and 10 points for 1st place. At the end there is a final judgement between the best junior handler from the younger and older group and the best gets 5 points more. So you can get maximum 20 points on each show. 10 handlers from younger group and 10 handlers from older group, who had the biggest amount of points in one show season, are invited to take part in the big final in Poznan, where the best handler in Poland and representative of Poland at Crufts is chosen.

© Karl Donvil

11. In your opinion what is the most important skill for being a good Junior Handler?

The most important thing is sensitive contact with the dog. You should be very polite, but firm. You have to understand what dog feels. Handlers have to be natural, I mean that handler’s movement should be normal. An elegant, modest, and a little bit sport’s outfit, is very important too, because dogs should be in focus. Dogs should be more important in the ring than the handler.

12. Many times people say that parents are often causes of tensions in the sport. Should parents encourage Junior Handling or leave Juniors care about that?

I think that parents have to check child’s behaviour. Handler should be nice and must be not angry or unpleasant with other people in this sport. Sometimes handlers are really jealous and do some stupid things… In those moments parents should explain that it’s not correct and children cannot do that.

13. What are your plans for the future?

In my future I am going to continue my adventure with dogs. Certainly, I want to have showing and hunting dachshunds and pointers. Maybe I will meet new breeds with special temperament. I hope that I will be allowed to learn more about professional handling all over the world. Except dog’s adventure I want to be a surgeon. It is interesting to learn about medical science.

Thank you for your time , we wish you all the best for you handler’s career !

Alice Varchi