If the Eukanuba National Championship is like the Stanley Cup of dog shows, the Eukanuba World Challenge is like the Olympics of dog shows. And to prove that point, the procession of the worlds dogs into the arena for the first judging was just as opulent. Every dog, who is a champion and selected by their country to represent the best of their best, was escorted into the ring by a handler, sometimes an owner, and by someone carrying their nations flag.
"AKC Ch, Grand Ch Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay, Mexican, Peru Int. Latino American Ch Alex de Akido San"
First, a little background.
The World Challenge is an event sponsored by the American Kennel Club, the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (also known as the World Canine Organisation) and Eukanuba. Champion dogs from 50 countries were invited to the event for the chance to win the World Challenge trophy and $10,000.00. Judging is done a bit differently than the National Championship. The dogs invited were selected by their countries or international regions (in the case of some smaller European countries) as the best of the best. Those winners were divided into four groups (not Hound groups or Working groups as in the National Championship, but 4 groups of dogs without regard to region or breed of dog). Each group was adjudicated by judges considered to be the best in the world, and each judge will select 3 out of each group to participate in the finals. In the finals, one of the 12 will be selected to be the World Challenge winner.
The experience was particularly electrifying, watching these dogs and owners from all over the world walking into the ring. Each hoping to represent their countries as the best of the best - very much like the Olympics.
A happy St. Bernard participating in the World Challenge
An awesome Siberian Husky
Pre-judging actually took place earlier in the day, with the judge responsible for each group secretly selecting 3 winners from their individual group. Only after each group is gathered into the main arena do the judges publicly select the top 3. One judge actually mentioned that he hadn't completely made up his mind until he saw the dogs re-stacked (displayed) that evening, which says something about how spectacular each animal really is.