BiS overall was the Italian exhibit Alessandra Cantagalli‘s home bred fawn bitch PETRONILLA DEI CENTO SCUDI, who is still under 3 years of age. She is probably one of the last to be exhibited in Europe with cropped earsTo win at your own national breed club show is very important for any breeder, or exhibitor. How much more prestigous then when that show takes place at an international level.It is not surprising that the European Great Dane Show has become a prestigious event over the years. Overall organisation of this event rests with the The European Great Dane Club – EuDDC. The federation includes many continental clubs, and is hosted each year by one of the member countries. Responsibility for this years specialty rested with the Polish Great Dane Club.This type of meeting presents a great opportunity for club representatives to meet and discuss important issues, and on occasion, urgent problems that have come up during the year. To this end the first day of the meeting is devoted to these talks, and to the exchange of information. Needless to say this results in a very long agenda.Mr Neugel, president of the Swiss Great Dane Club started a long and very passionate exchange on the subject of “the Merle”. He expressed his views clearly, saying that although this variation has been excluded from Great Dane breeding programmes for many years, it should now be accepted as the “sixth colour.” club representatives from several other countries supported him in this. Dr.Amalia Murante, president of the Italian Great Dane Club, gained her doctorate by researching the subject of harlequin breeding. She showed very clearly that there is no reason for breed restrictions against the merle, since it is an acceptable colour genetically. BIS PETRONILLA DEI CENTO SCUDI, with her handler Marina Salmoiraghi and the judge, president of French Great Dane Club Mr. Jean-Fransois Martin
It was banned as faulty, solely because it was not consideed to be a pure colour. This was due mainly to their appearance, and historic factors. In the present situation breeders need to concern themselves more to the health and structure of their stock rather than their colour. The breed’s genetic pool needs to be widened, and this can be achieved by the simple expedient of accepting merles into the breeding programme. In this case Dr Murante offered copies of the research work she did for her doctorate, to the delegates. This had been translated into the English language for wider understanding.
French breeding specialists were also in support of the proposal, and have already begun practical breeding experiments with the merle. This is still in it’s early stages, and therefore cannot yet supply any definitive results. However Dr.Gerard Mignot was able to say that results from the few early litters produced so far were optimistic. At the same he made if clear that they would not know the final results for several years yet. The following day was the day of the International show, which had over 350 dogs entered. This is a considerable number, especially when compared with those entered last year at the Amsterdam World Show where the total entry (all colours) was 251. The most important European kennels were present, and had brought their best specimens.
In the hopes of winning at this important show. One could easily call the event a Great Dane festival, there were certainly some lovely animals for specatators to feast their eyes on!
The Venue for the show was a centrally located sports facility in Lodz, (the city of Polish cinematography). This has been the traditional site for the Polish Great Dane Club annual show. This year it was a big challenge for the club and its president Mrs. Malgorzata Sowinska. Luckily the weather was wonderful – a sunny day with moderate, but still warm temperatures. The rings were surrounded by green areas providing a very nice setting for the dogs and their owners, who could relax (as much as possible) during such an important show.
All over the showground one could hear the babble of conversations in many languages, as Dane fans chatted about all aspects of the breed. It is interesting to see how enthusiasm and a common interest brings down the language barriers. No doubt many formed new friendships, and renewed old ones here.
And the event itself? Things were a little chaotic at the start and finish of the show, especially during the finals. Nobody complained though, and everyone was very patient and understanding when things didn’t run quite as planned. After all, the organisers and judges, as well as the rest of us, came from all over Europe, and translating must have presented quite a few difficulties. Despite this Mrs Sowinska seemed to get everything under control for the climax of the show. This involved not only a first class performance from the dogs that had reached the finals, but nature itself seemed to join in the performance, providing a very special and romantic atmosphere, especially as the finish of the show co-incided with the most spectacular and beautiful sunset.
It was (perhaps for the last time), a Great Dane with cropped ears, who won Best In Show at the EuDDC show. Tension had grown from minute to minute. as the show drew to it’s end. only three Best of Breeds (In FCI countries the breed is divided into colour sections, each with it’s own sect of CAC’s & CACIB’s), remained in the ring, and there was an air of great expectation. The judge for this finale was Dr Amalia Murante, a very experienced Great Dane breeder and specialist. All finalists were of course correctly constructed, as they should be at that level. But the winning bitch, was the fawn Ch. Petronilla dei Cento Scudi whose showmanship and presence seemed to give her a very special aura. She stood like a statue with all that special arrogance, and look at me attitude, that is so necessary at this level, where there is very little to choose between the finalists in construction and movement. There were no doubts amongst the spectators, but since both dog and judge were Italian, everyone watching was afraid that she would not choose the Italian dog. But with a judge of such experience, such things are of litte consequence, and for Dr. Murante too there was no doubt whatever as to the real winner. It was a well-deserved final for Ch. Petronilla de Cento Scudi. She is a beautifully constructed bitch, with eye-catching movement, and was brilliantly handled to victory by experienced breeder Marina Salmoiraghi.
At nearly three years of age this fawn bitch has already proved herself very successful. She is Italian Champion, Top Dog 2002 in Italy, European Winner 2002 at Paris, Italian Club Champion, French Club Champion, and now also EuDDC Champion and Best in Show Winner. She started her show career by winning her French Club Champion title. She comes from Allesandra Cantagalli´s, dei Scento Scudi kennel. Reserve Best in Show went to the black bitch Brenda z Brodniczka, and third was the blue male Listek Blekitne Wydmy. Both of which come from strong Polish bloodlines. In 2004 the European Great Dane breeders will hold their annual show in the Slovak Republic. If you are a Great Dane lover, you should try to get there, it will certainly be worth the journey!
By Anna Narewska, OurDogs.co.uk
Nov 6, 2003