For most of the decades that I have been attending the Sieger Show in Germany, I have shared my impressions with you readers. My guided tours (and thus the reports) have included the sights of the countryside we explore, and the kennels and clubs we visit, as well as my opinions of the dogs.
My groups have been very varied; some were composed primarily of South Americans (in which case I had opportunity to exercise my Spanish as well as my German in a 3-language hectic comedy), and some (as this year) made up of folks who “drive on the wrong side of the road” (Australians, Brits, Japanese, etc.). When the group exceeds the capacity of a 9-passenger van, I have to rent two or three vehicles and persuade participants to drive. That was a real challenge this year-2012 because I had five from Downunder where the koalas and kangaroos reside, and did not want to try the right side of the road, and the rest were not able to or comfortable with driving autobahn speeds. That’s a challenge when one wants to keep all the ducklings together between stops, if some want to sleep late, and when distant attractions have specific start times.
I must mention to those new to this event, that this show is the world’s largest single-breed dog show, with competitors from many countries around the globe. My background as an SV breed judge, combined with my lifetime of activity in the dog sport have enabled me to offer the best experience of this sort. I predict, explain, teach, guide, and introduce. If you would like to have fun and “save and see” along with a group of friendly fellow dog-lovers, contact me as soon as possible after the first of the year. Email me, Mr.GSD @netscape.com, or @Juno.com for details on my non-profit tours.
In 2012, the show weather was occasionally rainy. But the stadiums have overhanging roofs to keep spectators dry, and after the 3-day show when I plan tours of the region, clubs, and kennels, we had overcast but mild conditions this year. My folks could enjoy the climb or the ride up the mountain in open horse-drawn wagons to see the fabulous Neuschwanstein castle in Bavaria that inspired the design of the smaller Disneyland one. This year I could not persuade any to climb the 763 steps to the top of the world’s tallest church (in Ulm) the day before the show. This reminds me to remind you that Europe is not for the weak or the lazy, as most places require strength and stamina to climb stairs and hills in hotels and tourist attractions.
The Aussie half of the group had come to Ulm after a trip to the Arabian peninsula (Dubai) and the rest of us caught up with them at the show after gathering at Munich, the land of lederhosen (leather shorts) and spirit-lifting oom-pah-pah music. There, on the final day, half of us watched the dancing figurines celebrate the striking of the hour in the tower of the immense, impressive Marienplatz; the others went to see the famous Dachau concentration camp. One of the Bavarian tourist sites visited was the 1740s-built rococo church at Wies (Wieskirche) in the foothills of the Alps. It is one of the most beautiful of that style left in Europe.
Between the show and the departure, besides the castles and historic ornate church sites, we visited the kennel of Wildsteiger Land, famous for show winners in the 1980s. One evening, my dear friends the Göbls arranged a special Tuesday training night for my group —normally they train on Wednesdays, but that’s when we had to be in Munich to prepare for early-morning flights home. We enjoyed dinner with club members at their facility in Peiting, watching members go through the Schutzhund routines with dogs of various ages and experience. On another evening they took my group to a wonderful Bavarian comedy-&-music restaurant where the aforementioned music and costumes were much employed to entertain us.
And now, for the show results and my observations. Each year I make predictions based on what I have seen before. Not only as to placements but also performance. Part of my accuracy comes from knowing the dogs’ character from watching the protection tests, and part from knowing their ancestors as well as the competing dogs themselves. Mostly, if I’m off a little, it is because a dog may have been sold to China, or has a bad day and flunks the courage test (making it ineligible to compete in the beauty pageant part). I mention ZW numbers, while acknowledging that these plus the ‘a’-stamp do not guarantee hip-production quality. Still, in the absence of PennHIP (Germany still hasn’t joined the bandwagon for this best-info tool), ZW is better than nothing in helping you weed out most of the riskier dogs.
Entries continue to slide in the light of world-wide inflation and increasing difficulties in affordability of the dog game. The catalog was slim, prices of everything extremely high at the show and throughout the country, but still worth saving up your sheckels for one of these trips if you can manage it.
On Friday, when the bitework is done (two excerpts from the Schutzhund routine), I concentrated on the males, but was able to see a few outstanding performances over in the female testing field. The bitches that caught my critical eye included great beauties such as the Tyson Köttersbusch daughters VA7-Lara v Regina Pacis  and V1 Dana du Val D’anzin . As did the great-working VA6-Wendy Piste Trophe  (Erich Bösl’s Furbo daughter) and another super-moving Furbo daughter Olala Riedschlurgi  (who was pulled after the bitework, though). Sieger Remo’s VA-10 daughter Daisy Melancthon  did good bitework but really shone in her gaiting. I was very much impressed with John & Karen Henkel’s (Connecticut, US) V43-Yale Wilhendorf [a super 70 ZW] (I missed their V-18 Josie ). Also striking were VA-12 Quenna Regina Pacis , and VA7 Lara Messebau . The judge mentioned that of the 253 bitches entered, only 135 passed the courage test, which is extremely disappointing. I believe the percentage of males failing was considerably smaller, with 112 V-rated, one super-working sable getting an SG, some 30 pulled from further competition (either for dissatisfaction with initial position, or only there to show the crowd their bitework), about 9 not releasing the sleeve or for some other reason not making the grade, and another couple dozen not biting/guarding.
As I said, I spent most of Friday watching the males’ courage tests. Outstanding were the usual working-line contingents, but many “high-line” dogs did well, too. The sables were extremely well-represented by V-105 Gino Roggenstrasse , V-110 Dex Stadtfeld , V-109 Tygo Haus Silma , and fewer other grey dogs than usual. Super work, as one would expect from a Javir Talka Marta and Benny d’Ulmental son, was done by V86-Finsterling d’Ulmental . I was very impressed by the work of V-112 Cidan Haus Dexel , V54 Igor Marbeck  (Odin H. son), V83 Dieto Friedenspark  (Ober B-B), and V-11 Baru Fürstenbrunn  from Istanbul (son of Bruno Vierhundert Hertz). Several more gave outstanding performances. I always include some of these top working dogs with their hip ratings because there are many of my readers who put health and character far ahead of everything else.
And now a word about the beauty-pageant part of the show, with Zuchtwert numbers in brackets (the lower the number, the better the odds, but remember my caveat). As I predicted, Remo Fichtenslag  again took the VA-1 title and did very good bitework the day before; he’s a worthy Sieger. VA2 this year, with adequate bites, and promising hips, is Nino v Tronje  co-owned by my fellow Alabamian and fellow retired Zuchtrichter (SV breed judge) Dr. Mort Goldfarb. I would like to have seen a stronger biting performance by the Quenn son, VA3 Paer Hasenborn . VA4 Quattro Partnachklamm  did average work in the protection phase (the judge gave him a 3-3, with 5 being outstanding and 1 barely passable). Quattro was VA2 last year, with Ustinov Römerland  VA3, but both were passed by younger dogs so that this year they got 4th and 5th placings, respectively.
Surprisingly, perhaps, because his father was not always very brave, the handsome VA6 Mentos Osterberger-Land  did an outstanding job in the protection phase. In 7th place this year (having dropped back 3 places) was the Vegas son, Sultan Jahnhöhe . VA8 was the rising star, Furbo son, Hagadahls Figo  owned by Mr. Al Hassawi of Kuwait. I really like Furbo and Figo! VA9 (SG-1 in a younger class last year): Labo Schollweiher  owned by Winfried Benitz and having a bright future also—this is another Arex Wilhelmswarte son. In 10th place was the beautiful-structured Chacco Freiheit Westerholt , another outstanding Yerom son, and if you follow the great father line further, you have Mark Schwalmbergtal, Henry Dunischenke, and Esko Dänischen Hof. VA-11 is the Paer son, last year’s V4 Etoo Wattensheid  with a rather weak bite, but I trust the owner (Uday Jani) and handler-trainer Angelika Kötters will work on that before next year. I think his mother having Bax Luisenstrasse and Esko Dänischen Hof in her helps with his beauty as well as his hips. Last year’s V-1 Omen Radhaus  earned a VA-12 spot this time, and did good enough bitework (4-3). He also should improve with maturity. VA-13 was Yankee Feuermelder , and the final Vorzuchlich-Auslese (14) dog was Enosch Amasis , another Ober Bad-Boll son who did terrific protection work and will certainly move up well next year if he has enough progeny to prove his worth. He carries past winners close-up: Quantum, Kevin M., Ghandi, Valium. V-1 was the exciting Fulz Zenevredo , who happens to be the sire of a litter owned by my buddy George Foreman and whelped this summer by a litter sister of my bitch (these girls are sired by the 2-times Universal Sieger Zambo Riedschlugi  of Massachusetts, US).
There are very few readers of these annual reports who will be breeding to any of the VA dogs, but some could possibly be considering buying a son or daughter of one. That is why I mention the character as I observe it (which admittedly may be influenced to a degree by amount of training time), and the Zuchtwert number. Neither is a guarantee that the offspring will have the same hip quality or courage level as the dog whose description and ZW number I report, but it is better than flying blind through a cloud bank at low altitude! In the past couple of years, the SV has instituted a system of giving a number value to the courage tests, with 5 being best, 2 “sufficient” but not desirable, and 1 or zero pretty bad. To get a V rating the dog must get better than sufficient (that is, at least 3-3). A rating of 3-1, for example, means the dog did passable work in the attack out of the blind, but very poorly in the “long bite” (running the length of the field at the charging bad guy). Still, as in all the years I’ve been leading Sieger Show trips, I am convinced that seeing the bitework yourself tells you much more than any number can.
Another factor that some people use in shaping their decision to use certain bloodlines is the impressions they get of the 12-to-24-month entries and the progeny classes. The dogs under two years are shown in large rings in a field outside the main stadium, by sex and age, and further divided into 3 to 5 manageable bunches of around 50 at a time. If an owner doesn’t like where his dog seems to be ending up while the judge is sorting them out, he might “pull” the dog from further competition (not come back into the ring after the individual or first-bunch judging and likely critique). For example, in the 12-18-mo. males there were 125 rated SG (very good), one G (good), half a dozen undesirable or insufficient (U), and then about 15 “EZ” —a category that many years ago was made for dogs that became ill or injured between initially being seen and final competition with its peers. No longer do people bother getting a veterinarian to “fudge” the facts. They just say they won’t continue, and accept the penalty of not being allowed to compete for 6 months. No big loss, because almost no competition events are scheduled through the German winter, anyway. From the 12-18mo male class, I predict great futures for the Sieger Vegas son SG-1 Tyson Fixfrutta from Hungary, and the Enosch son SG2 Kronos Nürburgring owned by Hans-Peter Rieker.
In the 12-18mo (Jugendklasse) females, there were 179 rated SG (sehr gut [very good] is the highest category possible under 2 years’ age), 9 unsatisfactory (U = ungenugend), and 18 EZ (excused). A Sieger Remo daughter won, but there were also several more that impressed me greatly, and showed that quality ran very, very deep in this class: a Mentos daughter in 59th place; the sable SG49 Margman Lacoste of beautiful anatomy (owned by Margit Kuusman, a friend from Estonia) that goes back to the great Timo Berekasten; and Carsten Hönig’s SG-17 Flic-Flac Wilhendorf (bred by America’s John Henkel).
John also brought back to the USA the laurel leaves crowning his home-grown SG7 Electra (Gigolo daughter) in the 18-24mo female class of 135 placing and another 15 excused or insufficient. The winner of that class, Darling v Godalis , has the highest credentials: a decent ZW, bred by the UK’s Uday Jani (owner of VA2 Quenn and for whom I handled at a Sieger Show a few years ago), sired by VA Paer Hasenborn and whelped by the fantastic Ornella v Satyr  (see my reports of previous years’ trips), owned by Angelika Kötters, and managed by my friend Christine Klefisch. I thus feel very close to this one, and I believe she has an excellent chance of becoming Siegerin in a few more years. Bitches from Greece, Italy, France, Russia, and the USA were in the top twelve places. SG-12 Aschi Haus Hutfeld , a half-sister of my bitch and thus another Zambo daughter, is owned by Erin O’Shea of Massachusetts.
In the 18-24mo males (Junghundklasse Rüden), there were only 99 dogs present, another indication of dwindling entries overall in this world’s largest single-breed show. Another 7 were rated insufficient, and 14 EZ. I would not have gone with the Furbo son that won because Leo Zenteiche  was a bit too steep in the croup for me, though he had other nice qualities. His owner and breeder is the popular and much-utilized judge Christoph Ludwig. I was impressed by SG-16 Patrick Grabfeldgrau , a Quattro P. son owned by Reinhard Dieterich, whom my group visited a few years ago. You will certainly be hearing about the Remo son SG2 Figo Nordteich ; two Sultan sons, SG6 Cash Haus Melmack  and SG4 Juri Piste Trophe next year; also a very nice Renzo Holtkämper See son, SG3 Champ Haus Voerde .
Another fairly important and certainly interesting competition is the Progeny Class. Starting with the smallest group of offspring, the groups (usually led by the sire) trot around the ring and are evaluated by the judge as to uniformity, quality, and resemblance to the sire. Generally, the largest bunch is the offspring of the current Sieger. I will be very brief with these remarks. The Yoker Leithenwald (from the Austria-Bavaria region of Europe) son Wallaby Kapellenburg had a small but pretty uniform group of 12-18-month offspring linebred on Quantum Arminius and Dux du Valzin. Baru Fürstenbrunn’s were very nice, compact, well-formed; he is a son of the admirable Bruno Vierhundert Hertz and descends from Natz Steigerland. Many of the offspring of Ypsilon Lärchenhain seemed to step a bit high, but it was a small class of youngsters. VA-14 Enosch, the super son of Ober Bad-Boll, had a good class but I’m not all that wild about giving VA to dogs that do not yet have adult offspring.
The next class in this Nachkommengruppen included mostly adult offspring: Yerom Haus Salihin (pronounced “Zherom”) is proving to be a very valuable producer (see his father-line mentioned earlier) and showed a small but admirable group. Hagadahls Figo offspring were not as uniform as I’d like, but it was a small class and all under 18 months. Renzo Holtkämper See (Negus son) had many 18-24mo. offspring, showing good uniformity. The class of Ustinov Römerland had all 3 age groups and showed nice reach and drive, with excellent foreassemblies coming largely from his sire Quantum Arminius. Lennox Regina Pacis’ class of 12-18-month pups was OK, but we will wait until next year to see what kind of producer he is. Gucci Heinrichplatz  only led this class in trotting around, but not in the regular competition himself, nor did most of the progeny here. This line-bred Ursus male had a very uniform, beautiful class. I was a little disappointed in the toplines of many of Hatto Hühnegrab’s progeny.
Etoo (Paer and Pakros background), as mentioned above, had no adult offspring; in fact, all were under 18 months. But they generally had very nice uniformity and quality. Especially knock-your-socks-off-beautiful in that bunch was his daughter Hanni Fangschleuse, and I cannot for the life of me understand why she only got SG-120. Maybe I got my catalog numbers messed up or misread the bitch’s handler’s vest number. Mentos had a very nice class, and I credit Esko more than Yasko for that. One daughter, SG80 Tami Gilkaurtal, stood out in that couple-dozen Mentos offspring, which shows that beauty ran very deep in many cases. Paer Hasenborn (Quenn son) led the next progeny group, and a good percentage were adults; especially beautiful was the longcoat Buddha Godalis, showing fabulous construction and gait. I remember how in love I was with his dam Madonna v Satyr. Uday Jani is also Buddha’s breeder, but I met Madonna at Christine Klefisch’s house years ago. The progeny class of EU2 Petite Laeticia (means “little joy”) was not as uniform, nor did he have any adults in it.
The Quenn son Furbo degli Achei, on the other hand, had an outstanding and uniform class with many adults, including next year’s star Fulz Zenevredo, the handsome Hagadahls Figo, the stunning Olala Riedschlurgi, the floating Frida Ceresio, and more. Chacco had a pretty good but young class with medium uniformity, many needing better front reach. Conbhairean Uno  from the UK had a good class; I especially liked Conbhairean Danko, Margman Lacoste, and Annika Liebeswarte in that bunch. Another Quenn son, Tyson Köttersbusch (mother from Ursus line), had a great class, including Aladin Bergmannsland , Xano kleinen Birke , and the tremendous longcoated adult male from Poland, Orion Mavic  (parents: Tyson K & Ulka Mavic). Sultan had a nice enough progeny group, but not enough adults in it. The same can be said for the Zamp son Quattro, although the latter had a higher percentage of 18-24-month representatives. Fulz Z. had a nice though young class, and for me his SG7 son Granitt Osterberger-Tal [with an admirable 73 ZW] is one of the more promising. The dog my friend Mort Goldfarb owns part of, Nino Tronje, with V41 Ida Zenteiche , Issy Suentelstein , the young Exxo Arlett, and others in his progeny, indicated that he is a very good producer.
As expected, the 2010 Sieger Ober Bad-Boll (lines to Q Arminius and Ursus) had a very good class with many fine adults representing his quality as a producer. His super son Enosch, and many more very nice sons and daughters presented a high degree of uniformity. The popular V9 Boomer Polarstern  presented many good-looking offspring including the SG-17 Flic Flac v Wilhendorf. Vegas, the Sieger from 2008-09, had an excellent progeny class (including Sultan and Tyson Fixfrutta) with very good size and secondary sex characteristics. This year’s Sieger Remo had (as expected) an excellent class, including his excellent second-place adult longcoat son, Pico Langenbungert  whose normal-coated brother Pacco  went V8; VA Omen and his V-19 brother Opus , V5 Cobra d’Ulmental , V29 Whisk Wasserkuppe , V40 Randy Leithawald , etc. You might have noticed that litter brothers might have considerably different Zuchtwert scores, and the reasons are less a difference in their own hips than it is due to who they are bred to. If a stud dog is mated only to really good-hip bitches, she will cause his rating to go up (the number to go down) because the offspring hip qualities are credited to both parents. So it befits the owner of a good stud dog to be careful who his dog is bred to. As is true in politics and other fields, reputation matters!
I mentioned the longcoated dogs a couple of times. It’s only been a couple of years that the SV has been holding classes for this group. The real reason is that entries over-all have been slipping, and the formerly-banished longhaired dogs’ entry fees are badly needed. Regardless of what other reasons may have been given. It’s good, though, as there is a market for them, and utility is almost as good in most circumstances.
If you have any questions or if I have stimulated your desire to attend a Sieger Show, whether or not as a member of my group, I’d be happy to hear from you.