Retriever Speciality Show in Moscow 1.3.2003

I was very pleased to be invited to judge retrievers in Moscow the first of March. This was my first visit to Russia and I was really looking forward to the trip. I was also happy that my husband Tuomas could travel with me and that his knowledge in canine eye diseases could be benefitted.
The show day was very long - in Finland the number of dogs to be judged is limited to 80 per day - so I did double that number! My ring stewards were very good in interpreting my reports into Russian. Of course you loose a little in detail descriptions when the judging is done in English and then translated into Russia. Also the big number of dogs meant that I could not dictate my critiques as thorougly as I would have liked to do if I had more time. Some more people could have been working in the ring - like the following classes could have been collected ready for judging - now the secretaries had to give out the critiques and ribbons and after that start to sort out the dogs for next class which took time. In spite of this the show was run very professionally and the athmosphere was excellent among the competitors.

About the dogs:

My winning golden and BIS-2 was a beautifully balanced dog, correct breed type, presented in lovely condition. I was watching this dog also outside the ring and noticed that he really had the right golden character. He was happy wondering around and waving his tail to all people and other dogs! It is most important that the temperaments in retrievers stay friendly and that even male dogs can socialise with each others. Later I was able to see in the results that this dog has also sired very good puppies as several of the younger class winners were his progeny.

It was new to me to judge the labradors in colours. But I have to say that I quite liked this! It seems like the chocolate is a fancied colour and so the type and quality (and quantity) of the chocolates was absolutely the best I have seen anywhere! Also the yellows were mostly excellent. The quality in blacks was not exactly as high. It was very positive to notice that the labrador type is very homogenous and it is the right classical English type. I didn't see any dogs of the lighter and smaller working type some of which come to the show ring even in Finland. I am quite careful not to put up dogs that are too heavy or that are too "low on the legs". You have to keep in mind that a lab is working dog who has to be in good muscle condition but should not be fat. It is a strongly build dog with good bone but should not be anything like a mastiff. I did see some dogs too heavy and too much loose skin around their heads which spoil their expression. Only one dog mis-behaved and showed agression. Some exhibitors seemed to be first-timers and the handling was not so good but this is common also in Finland. Most exhibitors handled their dogs in a perfect happy way. The BIS-winner was a yellow bitch. I really loved her from the first sight. Her behaviour was a true labrador, she had correct proportions, good bone and angulations front & rear. Lovely head and expression and a proper double coat. She moved and showed beautifully. This bitch was owned and handled by Tatiana Dimitriu, who seemed to collect most of prizes at this show! This is a sign of good breeding, keeping the type sound and correct.

I was extremely happy to see the two curlies. They were excellent in type and very well presented and trimmed into perfect coat condition. They will make a very good start for the breed in Russia!
Surprisingly there were no flat coats, chessies or tollers presented. I am sure these breeds will make their come through soon.

I would like to say a big thank to all the people who helped us during the show and also the ones who guided us next day in Moscow. We felt very wellcome and really enjoyed the history of Russia that we were introduced to in the museums of Kreml. It would be nice to come over again with more time and chances to see more of your country and dogs.

Tiina Illukka