2005 NORTH AMERICAN SIEGER SHOW IMPRESSIONS
by Fred Lanting
Copyright October, 2005 - 2008
The largest Sieger Show in North America to date was held outside of Pittsburgh October 14-16, 2005. Known as NASS, for “North American Sieger Show”, it actually is one of four Sieger Shows held in North America, by as many “national” GSD clubs. If one were to give the pedigree (or “father-line”), acknowledging the sponsoring club, one might have called the event “the NASS of the WDA/GSDCA/AKC”, since that is the hierarchal lineage. The other U.S. club is the USCA (also known as USA, for United Schutzhund Clubs of America), older in holding Sieger Shows, but slipping behind WDA in recent years because of management and personality problems. Their pedigree is USA/WUSV/FCI but as a bastard offspring, because they failed to secure full WUSV membership in the beginning, forfeiting that honor to the GSDCA. There are also independent North American Sieger Shows held in Canada (GSSCC) and Mexico, which last I heard was still part of North America.
The WDA show had an initial entry of 447, but of course that included such classes as Veterans and 4-6-month puppies. Absentees were somewhat numerous in some classes, and a half-dozen or so in each sex failed to make the cut in the courage test in order to qualify to stand for examination in the breed ring. The Sieger Shows in Germany and most countries have dogs of a minimum of 12 months age. Still, the big turnout was something that the organizers should be praised for. Chris Mandela, Gayle Kirkwood, and staff (mostly from the Keystone-Buckeye club) did a great job, although many events did not start close to the published scheduled time. I understand they had an uphill battle with the WDA and GSDCA directors in some matters, but they triumphed anyway.
Handlers were from the USA, Germany, Canada, Holland, Belgium, and other places. So were many of the dogs. The biggest and best-known kennel groups were Mittelwest (Chicago), Wilhendorf (Connecticut), and Kirkwood (Pittsburgh); they and several others showed what good results can be had with a combination of many breedings and much work and selection. However, for the sake of catalogue readers who don’t go to every show and don’t know the unspoken meanings, a couple of advertisements about their achievements could have been worded more clearly. The Mittelwest kennel of Julie Martinez claimed to have the #1 kennel in 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2005 (even though this year was not over yet!). John Henkel’s Wilhendorf ad said that theirs was the #1 USA kennel in 2002 and 2003 (and other years). Now, maybe it would have been clearer if Julie had said “WDA” and John had said “USCA” or spelled out United Schutzhund Clubs of America, because “USA” has more than one meaning.
The judges were far less confused or confusing than the ads, though. Gayle and all her associates picked eminent and excellent judges, Heinz Scheerer and Leonhardt Schweikert, both of whom have been Chief Körmeister for SV. The helpers for the bitework qualification tests were also excellent choices.
For new readers, the Working Dog classes are basically for those 24 months and up, with a schutzhund title, having passed the courage test at the current show, and having certain other prerequisites. They can be rated V (excellent), SG (very good), or (rarely) G (good). Dogs between 12 and 24 months can get rankings as high as SG, and puppies under 12 months as high as VP (very promising), the rest usually get P for “promising”. The best of the V animals get VA (excellent-select). Customarily, that goes to about 10% of the class entries at the Sieger Show (in Germany and elsewhere).
Andrew Masia advances toward the ambush-attack-on-handler portion of the courage test, to qualify for the conformation judging part of the show. His Leri Unesco (Denmark, now Florida) turned in one of the most impressive performances in the courage test.
Now to my comments, as requested by many websites and magazines. I was busy handling a bitch and a male in the adult working classes, so I missed several critical observations, but I studied many of them at the bitework ring, around the grounds, and when the breed judges were not looking in our direction. A longer list with brief comments is attached or at the end of this piece. Let’s look at the Working Class (titled) males first. Herr Scheerer’s choice for Sieger was a very cowhocked Cherry Bergmannshof son Leido Kuckucksland, who could have had a little more width of chest in the area of the elbows. Cherry is an Ursus son ex the Scott Deodatus dau. Whitney Agrigento. Leido’s dam: Zala Arminius (Scott son Zeppo KlepingerSchloss ex Ursus dau. VA Zambia Arminius). From back in the V-7 position, I heard the judge say that the dog was well known to him in Germany (where they both live). Well-deserved VA-2 was Linda Lundborg’s Ghandi Arlett son, Urban Gleisenauer-Schloss. VA-3 was the dog from Holland that I would have had exchange placings with Leido: the Orbit Tronje son Gonzalez. Five more dogs were given VA rankings, and at 28% of the class, that might be a little excessive, but at least it wasn’t like the last USA Sieger Show, where the vast majority seemed to have been awarded this honor that should represent only the cream of the crop.
In the titled bitches over 24 months, the Siegerin was from Norway, which was a first, if memory serves me. Bloodlines represented by the females were somewhat varied. There were 8 VA awards (nearly a third of the class!). It was a nice touch that the club gave recognition to American-bred animals, giving an extra trophy for that reason to the VA-3 Olly Mittelwest (Commander daughter). In males, that honor went to the VA-5 Zeke Kirkenwald. Both of these adult classes had quality in depth. I was handling a Hobby grandson to a V-7, right behind us was a beautiful Chuck van der Lust son, with and true excellence went all the way back to a striking dog in V-25 place (whom I had handled at a show over a year earlier).
Helder Garcia of Maryland, who really got his feet wet when he went on one of my Sieger Show tours, had both the first and last place in 4-6-mo. bitches. His VP-1 Eva is really a super pup and should do extremely well as she matures. The next two behind her were also very nice. Proportions, toplines, and gait on all these were outstanding, even at such a young age. In 4-6 males, the leader, an Orbit Hühnegrab son from Canada, was the stand-out, which must have pleased the judge, who is the breeder of the sire. With an entry of 41, the 6-9 female class had four out of the top five from Connecticut. There were three really outstanding winners up front at the end: two Marko della Valcuvia half-sisters were 1 and 2, and Val MacMillan’s Hannibal Stieglerhof pup was 3rd. By the way, Hannibal was the only adult male at Ulm this year who did not get a V rating there. "Hannibal became ausreichend because of Schussempfindlichkeit [evidence of gunshyness]. On a show in Germany directly after the Siegerschau with the gun test he was V-1 under Heinz Huhn". That quote is from one of Europe's most capable and respected judges. Watch for Hannibal to do much better next year. I missed the 6-9-mo. males.
In 9-12 females, a truly fantastic Pakros d’Ulmental daughter out of an Eros Luisenstrasse daughter took the class. Her catalog photo shows a very steep croup, but she did not evidence that in a natural pose or in trotting. Her litter brother was VP-2 in the 9-12 male class, although there again, the best one in my estimation was the VP-3 Gonzalez son (looked very much like the sire), Odin Gold-Berg. This was a small but high-quality class of 18 pups with about a third standing out.
The German winner of 12-18 mo. females is, I was told, a complete outcross VA- Quirin Hochmoor daughter. Right behind her were equally beautiful Yusko Kirschental dau. linebred on Ursus Batu, and then a very nice Ando Altenbergerland daughter. In the same age group males, the winner was the spectacular Nero Nöbachtal son from CT, Teejay Wilhendorf. In second was a Yasko son who stepped too high and wild in front. When I looked at the fronts in the Yasko progeny group, I saw too many that were close in the elbows and relatively short in upper arm. He has not yet produced the same quality as has been shown in Europe. The 3rd-place CT dog and 4th-place Pittsburgh dog were much better in front action. 5th place went to a dog bred by the judge. But hey! He would not have placed him there if he didn’t deserve it. I remember Mort Goldfarb agonizing over whether to give a first place to a pup he had bred, and I convinced him to forget what people might say, and put the right dog up. The dog can’t help who bred him. I only remember the first two or three in the 18-24 females, and greatly admired the first couple there in a brief look at the class. In 12-18 males, there was a very nice SG-12 American-bred dog (Odin DreiEck) that I would have placed much further up. The class winner was a Quantum Arminius son, pressed by some very respectable competition.
Let’s hope that the USA (USCA) organization (whose members incidentally supported this WDA show very nicely) will have a respectable entry next April in Connecticut. Until the two merge (unlikely until the WDA shakes off the manacles handcuffing them to AKC), we will continue to have competing Sieger Shows in this central band of the North American continent.