Finnish exhibitors spoilt for choice - Report and photos

By: Paula Heikkinen-Lehkonen


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THE SECOND weekend of July was very hectic for exhibitors in Finland. There were two international shows, not very far away from each other, with the groups switched so that many could attend both Oulu and Kokkola. 

  In addition there were two international shows in Pärnu, Estonia, one on Saturday and the other on Sunday, plus several breed club specialty shows on Friday. I expect there was also something going on in Sweden and Norway!

  I was judging at Pärnu, while my husband was at Oulu. At Pärnu there were over 1,000 dogs entered both days, I guess half of them had come from Finland. This must have had some influence on the entry figures of Oulu and Kokkola. Both these towns lie on the north western coast, so probably those who live in the south found it easier to sail to Estonia instead of driving for hours northwards. 

  Both these shows had well over 2,000 dogs entered. In the summer vacation season people are willing to travel, and all these shows had attracted exhibitors from various countries.



At Oulu the show was held on the racecourse, so there is a lot of space. If the weather is fine it is a good venue, but the day before the show it had rained heavily. So the central grass area was wet and muddy, but the rings were on the sand track, which was in much better condition. Luckily the rain stopped before the show. However, if your ring was on the other side of the track, you couldn’t go straight through the grassed area, you had to go round it. Well, some extra exercise is not bad for anybody and the dog show people are used to carrying things and pulling or pushing the trollies.

  My husband Harri Lehkonen was the BIS judge and his choice was the magnificent Pyrenean Mountain Dog Int Ch Chenespace Tarbesan, owned by the Salonen family. This was the second BIS win at a big international show this year for this four-year-old dog. He is a champion of five countries, including France and Italy. The Salonens value most of all his win at the French national specialty, which is quite an achievement for a dog from abroad in the country of origin. 

  RBIS was the Finnish Hound Ch Satumeren Madonna, owned by Emma Mikkonen. She has done a lot of winning in Finland, where the breed is one of our most popular but always kept for hunting. Usually the hunters don’t bother to show their hounds very much, but when the owner is a young lady, it can be a different story. So Madonna has been travelling around much more than is usual for a hound, and she is an Italian champion, European Junior Winner ‘14 and Latvian Winner ‘15. 

  The girls usually also train their father’s, brother’s or husband’s dogs for the shows and handle them in a very professional manner. The hunting season is short and starts in the autumn, so why not show the hounds during the rest of the year?

  To third place went Norwegian-bred Bichon Frisé Ch Petit Ami’s Robin, owned by Elina Keinänen who has had many top winners in this breed. This youngster had been shown only a couple of times in Finland before this weekend, more on the Swedish side of the border because he is already a Swedish champion. He is a son of the UK import Arthlorn The Power Of Dreams, but on the sire’s side there is quite a lot of American blood combined with Scandinavian lines.

  Fourth was the young Wire Dachshund Freckle-Face X-Files, owned and bred by the Lamperos who have been so successful with their Dachsies of different varieties for a long time. However, lately they haven’t been very active in the show ring, but seem now to have made an impressive comeback. 

  This yearling is a result of an interesting combination of different bloodlines. On the dam’s side there are several generations of their own breeding, but a grandsire is a Brazilian import and the sire is a Ukrainian import with German background.

  Sometimes this kind of outcross breeding, combining different lines and types, brings excellent results when you know what you are doing and manage to get the best parts of each line. This youngster took his sixth CC at Oulu on Saturday, and at Kokkola on the following day he got his seventh, but as he wasn’t BOB there he came back to Oulu for BIS.

  The other group winners included the Australian Shepherd, Russian-born Seventy-Seven Blow Your Mind, owner Saara Hovi, who has been very successful in spite of her youth. She has collected several junior champion and Junior Winner titles from many countries and many group wins and placings as well.

  The terrier group winner was the Jack Russell Int Ch Jackobean La Scuola de Gelosi, owned and bred by Jenni Koutuaniemi. He has an amazing record of champion titles from 20 countries, including some very exotic ones, like El Salvador, Pakistan, Cyprus, San Marino, Azerbaijan, Taiwan and Philippines. Some dogs really travel!

  The spitz group winner was the young Pomeranian Ch Pipperoo My Treat, breeder/owner Mirja Lager who has done very well this year with her team in the breeders’ groups contest. This one descends mostly from the well-known Irish Belliver strain, with some drops of American blood. 

  The Italian Spinone Int Ch Fragola Tempesta Dineve, Pia and Juho Haarala, is not only beautiful but also a decent hunting dog and is qualified in field trials. She has been travelling, too, not only in Scandinavia but has also a Winner title from France. 

  Finally the best of the sighthounds was the Irish Wolfhound Int Ch Riverwolf Elysé Rosé, Riitta Lehto-Nivala. This dog has many generations of purely Finnish breeding behind but has travelled around and collected champion titles from five countries. So it looks as if the BIS final was a really high-class one. 



Pärnu lies in Southwestern Estonia. It is an old Hanseatic city, but nowadays known for its many spa hotels. It is the ‘summer capital’ of the country. It takes about two hours to drive from Tallinn. The old buildings are beautifully restored and there are many excellent restaurants. Many exhibitors therefore take a little holiday and enjoy the other attractions of the city in addition to attending the dog shows. Exhibitors from many countries have found Pärnu as a nice destination to travel in the summer.

  The two one-day international shows were organised by the regional dog breeders’ club, which is 50 years old so was founded long before Estonia became independent. 

  Although the weather forecast wasn’t good, it appeared to be wrong. The first day especially was sunny and warm, and the second day wasn’t too bad either, only a couple of very small rainclouds passed the showground which was a sports stadium. The rings were on grass, which was cut very short. 

  The 16 judges represented various nationalities; the furthest travelled one was Noreen Harris from Australia. She was the BIS judge on the first day, and fell for the Finnish Lhasa Apso Int Ch Chic Choix Diamella Inspiration, owner Jaana Karenmaa-Nurminen. This was not the first time this beauty had stood on the top spot, I remember her winning BIS in January at the big Turku show. She is also a champion of six countries. Last year she had a litter of five, and already two of those youngsters are multiple CC winners and one more has a RCC. Jaana also breeds Bichons very successfully, so she knows everything about grooming and coat maintenance. I think this bitch lives with her sister Tiina Karenmaa-Virtanen, who usually handles her, as today. On the next day she won the group again and ended up as RBIS, so it really was a good weekend for the Karenmaa sisters and their precious darling.

  Noreen’s RBIS was the lovely Yorkshire Terrier Ch Nefertiti Queen Of Egypt, Julija Kriscenko, Latvia. She, too, won her group again on Sunday. 

  To third place went the Beagle Ch Woodland West’s Margarita of Starbuck Torbay, Irina Pavlenko, Russia, but this one is an American import. She was BOB on Sunday, too, but without a placing in the group. 

  Fourth was the Labrador Retriever Ch Mocny’s Islander owned and bred by Tiina-Loviisa Rönkkö, Finland, another double group winner of the weekend. He comes from the second litter of his breeder. He has done well in Finland and has passed the field trials as well, so I believe this makes him an international champion. I see that Noreen had met him once before, three years ago when she was judging Labradors in Finland. She placed him second in his class as a youngster. Obviously he has matured well!

  There were several other Finnish group winners: the Afghan Hound Ch Neliapilan Mesiasirkus, Vilma Helle; Miniature Pinscher Ch A’Dreams Black Winner, Esa Rönkkö; Norrbotten Spitz Ch Hopeapajulaakson Reetu, Tuomo Valjus; and Wire Dachshund Royal Pepper’s Pretty In Pink, owner breeder Sari Hirvonen.

  Winner of the pointing gundog group was the Weimaraner from Russia, Belfegorus Euphoria in Soul Fidel, Anna Savicheva.

  The young Wire Dachshund won her group again on Sunday. This one has a very interesting background, as she is by a Smooth, Int Ch Unita’s The King, who has an Australian-bred sire. This year-old bitch had been shown only a couple of times in Finland, and at her first show the result was ‘good’, which actually means not very good! But after that she has improved. I don’t know what was the reason for that low grading, but on Sunday I judged the breed and the group and can hardly think of anything that could be better in this young beauty! 

  It is possible to interbreed the coat varieties, with permission of the breed club’s breeding committee. Sometimes you can get Smooths out of Wire parents, if they have Smooths in their background. 

  On Sunday the BIS judge was Zaza Omarov from Georgia. Although there were several dogs who had been among the top placings the day before, he didn’t let this influence his decision. His favourite was the happy and lively Dalmatian Ch Gwynmor Hitch Hiker, owned by Tatiana Tarasenko, Russia, and bred in the Netherlands. He hasn’t been shown in Finland but a Finnish breeder has used him for breeding. There are 12 puppies by him waiting to be old enough to enter the show rings! On the previous day he was beaten by another champion dog in the breed ring. A new day, new chances!

  The Lhasa who was BIS on Saturday was now second, and third was a new face, the young Irish Setter Sarmando Dream Lady Power Of Love, owned and bred by Lina Matulevice, Lithuania. Her litter brother was BOB and G2 on Saturday, so a good weekend for the siblings. 

  As fourth Zaza placed the Irish Wolfhound Ch Dwarf’s Valley O’Neillo, Larisa Blazevica, Latvia.

  The other new group winners were the Bernese Mountain Dog Ch Ridon Hennet Quantus, Evelin Saveljev, Estonia, G2 on Saturday; Smooth Collie Ch Clingstone’s Make My Day, Satu Asikainen, Finland; and the Swedish Elkhound Int Ch/Dual Ch Karhunkerääjän Tupolev, Anna Paananen, Finland.

  Some of the BOB winners couldn’t stay for Sunday’s finals, obviously because they had to hurry for the earlier ferries and may be also had some driving after that. It is a pity, but some normal people have to work on Mondays even if it is summer!