Judging in Sweden, July 28, 2002 by Anne Midgarden, DVM


I had a wonderful time in Sweden. I was quite fortunate to be invited to judge at the annual, sighthounds only, dog show for July of 2002. This is held at a beautiful outdoor location an hour or so southwest of Stockholm. For those of us unfamiliar with the schedule there, I will explain a bit. There are two days of showing for one actual show. One day the breeds are judged by an "official" judge and the winners awarded CC's (or show points) on the other day an "unofficial" judge (usually a foreign breeder) is invited to judge the dogs for trophies and prestige only. On Sunday evening the winners of Best of Breed Puppy; Best of Breed Veteran; Best of Breed Junior; Best of Breed team of 4 dogs from the same owner; Best of Breed team of 4 dogs from the same breeder; and, of course, Best of Breed hound - all compete for Best in Show in each of those categories. Also, there is not one "Best in Show" but five placements. Once the judge has made his decision, the dogs are called to their placement in reverse order; you can just feel the excitement build. No wonder it takes two days to do all of that!

The official borzoi judging was the first day, so I got to wander around the show grounds on Saturday and look at anything but borzoi. And there was plenty to see. This is a camping event with motor campers, tents, and an entry of more than 700 sighthounds, all in the fields surrounding the show grounds. There were a few ex-pens and an occasional crate, but most dogs were staked out with leashes (and often their own umbrella for shade). I was absolutely astounded how well behaved and well socialized all the dogs were - both with people and other dogs.

The rings themselves were designated by plastic chains laid on the ground. And exhibitors pitched individual 3 sided tents just outside the rings to hold their hounds and watch the judging. When a class was called, entrants just came in from all sides rather than a single gate. The whole atmosphere was more that of a medieval carnival or picnic than that of a prestigious dog show. Certainly there was great fun and camaraderie.

On Sunday, there was a lovely entry of sixty-six borzoi competing on a fine large ring of smooth grass. I found it to be a glorious sunny summer's day, but the natives thought it much too warm. As the judging progressed, more and more bare feet and bare arms appeared (as well as red faces). I am happy to report that no one stepped on anything too hazardous out there. (I am even happier to report that I did not step on anyone's bare feet!)

Fortunately for me I had fantastic (and really fun!) help to guide me through the judging schedule, Birgitta Backman! Also my dear friend and scribe, Susanne Persson, wrote all those critiques for me. Next time we will bring a dictionary!  Susanne has the best male of the Remy-Donya pups from me.  His name is Fiddler.

I watched some lure coursing the next day.  They have just started coursing in Sweden, and although the dogs seem eager , the lure set up and operation was too terrible to be believed.  Those folks need some help out there.  Lots of great fields though.  Dogs run in pairs and are muzzled.  They use a drag lure that has to be restrung for each course.

After the show weekend, Suzie took me on a tour of Stockholm.  A beautiful city on 7 islands.  Once you are there, you can understand how the original people in these lands became Vikings.  You can't get anywhere without crossing water.

I then went to visit Camilla (who some of you have met or read about our Spanish trip.)  Her deerhound Diera was quite cute and playful, Her two male borzoi are Epson (a native Swede) and Iago (a Remy-Nikki son I brought to Camilla in Spain last year.)  Iago is just lovely and here are some pictures of him.  Camilla took me and the three hounds hiking for hours.  And we had a great visit.

Camilla, Iago and Deira  

The train from Stockholm to Oslo took only about 4 1/2 hours, so I headed off for the land of my ancestors.  Fortunately my ancestors were prolific people, so there were plenty of cousins to visit and show me around.  And, of  course, FEED me every hour.  The farm of Midgarden (or Midgaarden) is still in the family and my fourth cousin Gunlau and her family have a dairy farm there now.  It was an incredibly beautiful place, especially the mountain top part of the farm.  

the church (built in 1055) 

me on MidgardenMidgarden


After two days visiting in Norway, I took the train back to Stockholm.  Camilla and the three hounds greeted me at the station and we ate our dinner at the Nobel building.  I wouldn't have missed this trip for the world