Report by the Head Judge – Josef Vonarburg

From June 9th to June 11th, 2017 the 7th WUSV Universal Championship for German Shepherd Dogs was held in Regau/ Austria. This was the second time that the event was hosted and organized by the Verein für Deutsche Schäferhunde Österreich (SVÖ), following the event in 2011 that was held in Hartkirchen.

Together with the organization team of local group no. 9 from Gmunden-Regau, the head of the committee – Peter Mayerl – spent two years of exemplary dedication and hard work preparing for the event. In total, a little over 100 helpers contributed to the huge success of the championship.

It requires extraordinarily motivated people who are part of a group that works well together and in harmony in order to accomplish an event of that size. Therefore, I would like to give special thanks to the local group of Gmunden-Regau who have shown unwavering commitment to the German Shepherd breed. Both the technical support as well as the culinary treats were second to none, and made us all feel welcome and comfortable. Thank you very, very much, indeed!

But also, the well-organized infrastructure, the warmth and cordiality of the people, and last but not least the beautiful weather contributed to the success of the event. Under the warm summer sun, teams from 14 countries presenting a total of 53 German Shepherd Dogs competed for the titles as follows:

Country Males Females
Belgien / Belgium 1 3
Deutschland / Germany 4 3
Frankreich / France 1 1
Italien / Italy 3 3
Kanada / Canada - 2
Niederlande / The Netherlands 4 2
Österreiche / Austria 4 2
Polen / Poland - 1
Schweden / Sweden 1 1
Schwzeiz / Switzerland 3 2
Slowakei / Slovakia 2 1
Spanien / Spain 3 1
Tschechische Republik / Czech Republic 2 1
Vereinigte Staaten von Amerika / United States of America 1 1
  29 24

In comparison to last year’s event the number of female dogs increased. In total, three females in their heat took part in the contest.

The judging team, consisting of Ms. Henriette Bohnstedt from Great Britain covering section A, Mr. Erwin Patzen from Switzerland covering section B, Mr. Egon Gutknecht from Germany covering section C, and Mr. Luciano Musolino from Italy in charge of the show section did an excellent job, and once more proved not only their expertise and excellent knowledge but also intuition while judging the individual dogs. Thank you very much for the good job and meticulous work you did.

Please allow me a little side note. Judging is supposed to be an unbiased kind of work but the performance shown can also be subject to interpretation and different points of view in some cases. This needs to be accepted as part of the game. Therefore, I expect everybody to be sympathetic and show respect for the judges who often work in the field for many hours in a row, and judge dog after dog which requires a very high level of concentration. So, I would like to give praise to the audience and dog handlers who turned out to be very fair and showed good sportsmanship. Also praiseworthy was the sporting spirit and tolerance shown by the dog handlers. The competitors helped and supported one another, and yet, the ambition of the individual remained unchanged. It can only be hoped that this spirit will also be passed on to other major events in the field of dog sports.

The helpers for section C – protection work – were Alex Bertignol (part 1 for females) and Bernhard Ederer (part 2 for females); for males, part 1, Michael Bertignol, and part 2, Kevin Wagner were appointed. All four of them worked in a consistent fashion on all three days of the competition. The way they challenged the dogs was very helpful for the judges, and contributed to an adequate selection of the animals.  

The performance shown has slightly increased in comparison to last year’s event. Nevertheless, it remains to be said that a relatively high number of disqualifications occurred to the effect that the final evaluation only allowed for four teams to be classified for the team ranking.  

The stance of the dogs could be much improved in comparison with the past couple of years, and in the ring the competitors fought for every point. At any rate, the event remained exciting until the very last moment on Sunday afternoon. In compliance with the regulations the female dogs in their heat have to perform section B – obedience – and C – protection work at the end of the event. Both females braved the hot temperatures and successfully carried out their exercises within one hour’s time. The two of them achieved place 1 and 2 in the final ranking for female dogs.

Female Dogs:
1. Rank ITA-06  Giorgina Libardi with *Genny di Casa Libardi
2. Rank ITA-05  Enzo Mascoli with *Cuva
3. Rank SUI-04  Tanja Lutz with *Mindy vom Ratsenheim

Male Dogs:
1. Rank GER-01  Elisabeth Speil with *Perro von der schwarzen Natter
2. Rank AUT-01  Katrin Renner with *Inuk vom Weinbergblick
3. Rank FRA-01  Laura Geiss with *Grisou du Niclausenholz

Team Ranking:
1. Rank Italy with 24 ranking points
2. Rank Austria with 36 ranking points
3. Rank The Netherlands with 44 ranking points
4. Rank Switzerland with 50 ranking points

Finally, I would like to give thanks to the WUSV Board of Directors for the trust and confidence they placed in me. Let us look forward to the 8th WUSV Universal Championship that is scheduled for June 22nd to June 24th, 2018 in Diest/ Belgium.

I wish all friends of the German Shepherd Dog breed joy and fun with their animals and hope to see you again in the not too distant future.  

Josef Vonarburg
Head Judge