Perhaps the last major event of the year, the FCI European Dog Show opened on Tuesday 28 December, at Hungexpo. Helló Magyar thought that, as dog lovers, they must check out the first day.
The event, originally scheduled for May, had to be postponed to the end of the year due to the pandemic. Hence, the FCI Dog Show became the closing event of the “One with Nature” – World Hunt and Nature Show. The show was also visited by Helló Magyar.
The biggest event involving dogs in Hungary and Europe is held at Hungexpo in Budapest this year. Between 28 and 31 December, each day a colourful range of programmes will entertain dog lovers.
The exhibition is jointly organised by the World Canine Organisation (Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) in French) and the Hungarian National Association of Dog Breeders (MEOE Association).
Tickets are averagely priced. Adult tickets are available for HUF 3,500, while senior citizens and students can visit the dog fair for HUF 1,800.
The event can be divided into two parts. There is a large area (Pavilion A, D, E) where the dog show itself takes place with judges and “competitors”. Concurrently, there are programmes and performances, by and with dogs every day in Pavilion G.
Those professionally involved with dogs in Hungary were very much looking forward to the event. Understandably, as the last time our country hosted the FCI was in 2008. According to the organisers, around 16,000 dogs from 57 countries will take part in the four-day event. We can see it already in the car park that visitors have come from all around the world. There are several caravans and minibuses, meaning people traveled thousands of kilometres just to compete with their pets at the FCI.
The climax of the event will be on 31 December. The breed group winners (selected from the breed winners), will compete for the title of Europe’s most beautiful dog. On the afternoon of the 31st, the winner of the most valuable trophy will be chosen from 16,000 dogs. If you are a fan of the domestic breed, you are especially recommended to attend the World Meeting of Hungarian Dog Breeds on 30 December.
It is important to note that the show is a very serious competition for the participants. The winners of the breed championships and other prizes do not only bask in the glory of the awards. Winning also has a significant impact on breeding practices. The price of offsprings can easily be inflated due to international recognition.
The dog owners attendees invest an incredible amount of energy, time and money into their pets. It is more of a professional league, with very few enthusiastic “amateurs”. It is also clear from the equipment that some families or groups of friends have been competing in this field for a long while. Depending on the breed, competitors have their own beauty table and grooming products, and many take their own mobile stirrups and cages to the four-day European Championship.
One thing is for sure: if you are a dog lover, you will not regret attending the FCI show, where only the best of Europe compete. On top of that, you can meet some special dogs up close that you have only seen in pictures.
However, it is also fun to watch the more popular dog breeds compete so that you can see what a “real” German Shepherd, Dachshund or Golden Retriever looks like.
Presumably, the organisers are focusing on the competitors, because people who are simply interested like us are not really provided with information. There were no maps or descriptions at the entrances to the pavilions, so many people just wandered around the vast area without any clue.
There is also no timetable on the stages so that visitors could learn about the upcoming events. Unfortunately, we could not find any support staff when we had questions to ask. At such a large-scale event, the minimum expectation is to have organisers at the entrances who can direct guests and provide information. This is what we missed the most.
We would also have liked to get rid of our winter coats, but this was not possible, as to our surprise, the cloakroom was not open. It goes without saying how uncomfortable it is to walk around for hours like this, especially when you have to carry your winter coats but also want to take photos of your favourite breeds.
The huge stage and temporary grandstand in Pavilion G were very well designed and, for a better experience, you can even follow the demonstrations on large screens.
The organisers are planning to have obedience and rally obedience performances, service and search dog demonstrations, dog dancing performances, distance directing performances and the Hungarian breed agility championships. We checked out the obedience show, which attracted a couple of dozen people on Tuesday at noon. This venue will be full when the event moves here in the afternoon and the judges announce the winners of the day.
The number of vendors at the exhibition was very low, partly due to the cold weather and partly due to the end of the year.
On the central streets between the pavilions, there were a few stalls where you could buy food specialities. In Pavilion G, there were dog souvenirs on sale (blankets, statues, mobile kennels and the like). This exhibition will not become the favourite event for gastronomy lovers, as the selection was moderate and also quite expensive. For example, we tried some pork cuts with chips, asked for mustard and bread on the side, and although it was a large portion, we ended up paying HUF 5500.
This event is truly only recommended for dog lovers, as the dogs often get up close and personal with the visitors, and people who are less fond of dogs could possibly feel tense during this time.
But those keen on dogs will love the closeness and even a few petting sessions, with the owners’ permission of course.
All in all, we do not regret visiting the FCI European Dog Show, and if you can, go to Hungexpo in the next few days. You can find the official website and the programme schedule here.
Source: Helló Magyar