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3rd World Afghan Congress Report #2
I am happy to provide this report on my visit to Denmark. Unfortunately I did not get there in time to attend the congress (panel), and when I got there I had to put Gorilla in the bath, but I visited the shows, (the 25th anneversery show of the Danish Afghan Hound Club & The European Winners Show) and I met all the wonderful Afghan people from every corner of the world, and THAT was a thrill!
The first thing that really struck me was how much everybody knew about everybody else and their dogs. When you're living in a small country like Sweden (and anywhere else for that matter), I think it is very important to read everything that you can about our wonderful breed , and we are lucky in Afghans to have the most wonderful magazines in the world. There are many enthusiasts who video even the smallest club shows in their own countries which are often sent overseas and shared with friends around the world. It was a thrill and a pleasure to meet many of the people that I've been writing to, or have called, e-mailed, faxed,etc. over the several years that Afghans have been my biggest interest. The meeting in Denmark made it possible for me and everybody else to meat our "penpals". Sometimes it feels that you know each other more than well and when you eventually meet, well sometimes it was a shock, but mostly it was like meeting an old friend.
Of what I heard about the congress, I understand that a number of people were invited to sit on a panel and give their views on the Afghan Hound. I'm sure it was very interesting to listen to all the "oldies" in the breed, like for example, Christina Jernberg of the famous El Khyria kennel (the breeder of my"Alf"), Roberto Posa (Switzerland) , Lotte Jokrgensen (Boxadan), among others. But as we all know its not that easy to just rise from your chair and "spill out" what you really have on your mind....Therefore I think that the real dabate was held in the evenings in the bars and around the ringsides of the shows.
Many of the people and breeders attending the congress had braught their foto albums and pedigrees of their dogs, and it was really interesting to talk with each and every one of them on a more relaxed basis. I talked to many people who had visited the congress in San Diego, and they said this congress/show were very different from the last one, not that this "meeting" in Denmark was better or worse, just that it was different, and I think its good to have the congress in different parts of the world each time. Why I think so is because there will always be some enthusiasts who will visit every world congress, no matter where it is, and they can can help the ones that visit their first "meeting" for the first time, and tell about how the last congress etc. We all know how expensive this hobby of ours is, and not everybody can (or want to) make a living of it. And in this way eveybody will have a possibility to visit a congress sometime!
What everybody (I think) was discussing the most, was about the trimming, or the NOT trimming of the Afghan. The English and the Irish people had (of course) their own opinion about that.....but the other side of Europe (not the WHOLE Europe...) and the U.S appear to share common views that trimming is an acceptable part of presentation. Australian opinion was (I think) somewhere in between.....Those who were totally against trimming, referred to the reference that an Afghans coat should be natural....The"other camp "answered with the fact that bathing a dog every week in high perfumed shampoos is 'not natural either,nor the use of dryers"......and so it went on.... But some interesting reflections and thoughts were "aired" anyway, and I think thats what this should be all about dont you?
Then there was was the dicussion about linebreeding & outcrossing, and the issue of who has the "right" type of Afghan. The people that I spoke to agreed that each and every one of us HAVE the "right" type, and that you MUST appreciate the breeder whos Afghans you can "point" out and separate from the rest of the dogs in the ring. This does not mean that you necessarily have to LIKE the type, but you have to give that breeder some credit for the work he/she have put down on the breed....and if he/she is doing alot of winning you have to congratulate!
Handling was another a big discussion matter too. The U.S is of course the "fasion makers" of the handling tecnique, with the Europeans as copycats. But you have to remember that in the U.S you have a lot of pro.handlers and in Europe most (all?) of the dogs are owner-handled... Here in Sweden for an example, we don't have a single person who you can call a pofessional handler. Of course we have people who shows dogs better than others and we help each other out if neccesery, this help is usually given for free. It's also in the interest of the breeder, or stud owner, ex.me and my male, to have the offspring looking their best in the ring as possible. The problem today is that we (me too) can easily run too fast with our dogs when we show them. Some of the judges want to have it that way, but some of the judges dont have the courrage to tell the handler to slow down (if its well known...) On the other hand I have been showing under a judge who wanted everybody to WALK with the dogs!
Then of course we discussed PRODUCTS, how important is the shampoo and the conditioner? THERE we had a thing that EVERYBODY had different opinions in! Some were sure that the climate had the most influence, some said that the shampoo is the most important thing........And then the names of different products started to flow, and some things did'nt exist in some countries, so believe me when I say that right now the post offices are beeing real busy with shipping shampoos etc.to all AFGHAN ENTHUSIASTS around the world!!!!!
The thing that WE ALL agreed on, was the fact that no one regrets the time and money we spent for the oppertunity to visit the show/congress!!!!! And for all of you that are thinking of visiting Australia in 2000 for the World Congress....DO IT!!!!!!.- It IS worth it! I'm gonna be there,count on that!
This weekend have taught me more about Afghans (and the Af-people!) than ever, and i'm only sad that I missed San Diego, but from now on, i'm gonna visit every one of the congresses! And the thrill to meet the "stars" (both dogs & peopole ) that you've been reading about for so long was really FUN!
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