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DSFCA 1st National Breed Specialty, Longmont, CO September 2, 2006 (Results in far right column)

World history in a weekend, in The USA
By Helene Riisgaard Pedersen

Over the weekend of September 2nd and 3rd, 2006, world history was written for Danish/Swedish Farmdogs.

The first breed club for the breed, outside of Scandinavia, is a reality. It is called DSFCA (Danish/Swedish Farmdog Club of America), and the club held in conjunction with an ARBA show it's first National specialty show.
This show was not only the first of its kind in The USA, but also the first of its kind ever, in the entire world, outside of the Scandinavian countries.

For us here in The USA, it was a very, very big event. I have been deeply involved myself in making this show become reality, and have to say, that the instant it WAS reality, and I was in the middle of it, with Farmdogs all around me, the heart skipped a beat, and the knees turned "soft".

The USA is a big country, and there are hundreds, even thousands of miles between where the few and scattered Farmdogs live. In spite of this fact, the owners are in very active and close contact with each other, and have been for years, through an internet group.

The curiousity in putting "faces to the names" of the others was great, while at the same time, the love for the breed, the interest in the breed, and the wish to learn more about the interpretation of the breed standard, priorities and strengths/weaknesses in one's own dog is great. Because there is a desire to help the breed develop in the best possible way, while being most faithful to the native countries, Denmark and Sweden.
Many in this country have never seen other Farmdogs besides their own and maybe one or 2 more, if another owner stopped by to visit, or if they picked up their dog as a puppy at it's breeder.
The owners group was "ripe" for something to happen, to gather as many people and dogs as possible in one place, and to learn something.

Lars Adeheimer
Lars Adeheimer, Sweden, gave open critiques at ring side, and it was very educational

Over 1/3 of the total population was planning on coming, previously the largest group of Farmdogs had a record of 14.
People were booking flights for themselves and their dogs, inquiring about possible preparations to make, traveling so far with their dog. Some, who couldn't come themselves, even arranged for others to bring their dog for them, so it could be judged by someone with knowledge about the breed, someone who came from one of the breeds' home countries.

25 Danish/Swedish Farmdogs ended up arriving from near and in particular far, to Longmont, CO throughout Friday the 1st of September. We had a group rate at the Radisson, which was situated nearby where the show would take place. To take the dogs out for a walk, was almost like being in Denmark, there were Farmdogs everywhere it seemed. And familiar people, who already seemed like they were almost family, wanting to say hello. Just a lot of happy faces of people who had been looking forward to this weekend for months, and had prepared themselves and their dogs, for what in many cases was the very first show, they had ever participated in.

Our adult puppies, litter mates who hadn't seen each other since they left home, were brought together again, families who by email had known each other for years, met each other for the very first time with hugs. The feeling was family feeling, warm, relaxed and oh so wonderful.

Maddy's puppies
Here is my absolute favorite picture, 6 of our Maddy's 10 puppies, brought together at the occasion, and who's owners had this picture taken. The happiness and pride in their expressions makes one so happy inside. The bond tied here is the kind, which lasts for life.

The owners in The USA have a great bond, which is hard to describe. But if from i.e. Scandinavia it puts things in perspective, if comparing distances in the Scandinavian countries with the size of The USA, added the piece of information, that dogs from 9 states, in north and south, east and west, participated.
Maybe that can give an idea about how strong the wish to be there was...the price itself for a show entry, was nothing compared to traveling expenses, whether it was vacation days to drive out by car (and thereby gas expense) over several days, and afterwards for several days to get back home, or it was plame tickets to fly for many hours, plus hotel cost.

Add that some came with the entire family, others had to arrange care-taking of children and/or other dogs/animals while they were gone. To come to a national show in The USA is therefore something which really demands months of planning ahead, and of course expectations were high, it had to be worth the trouble and efforts.

And I can report, that is was. From every participant it has been claimed, that they would do it again. The show part itself was only a bit of the total experience, because in between, we were together at meals and good times. There was a lot of "socialization".

Show practice
Show practice class Friday night in the hotel parking lot

Friday night we gathered a show class, mainly consisting of the ones, who had never showed a dog before. We had a big class, to "de-mystify" and take the edge of the nervousness. We succeeded, and if there were still some, who had a little butterfly in the stomach at the show Saturday, the judge helped people and dogs to relax, in a very capable way.
It was a very positive show experience to be showing before a judge, who was there of his own volition and wish, and who wanted to help in giving everybody a good experience.

Ranger on table

Birkita on table

Greta on table

Samson on table
Bailey on table
Frisco on table
Everbody agreed that the judge was very good at helping both people and dogs to relax and not be nervous

There were shows by ARBA both Saturday and Sunday, 2 shows a day, and Saturday they added a 3rd show. Our specialty show was the last one on Saturday afternoon. At that time we had had coffee and bagels etc. for breakfast, and had the dogs situated under good and quiet conditions, 2, 3, 4 and 5 dogs together in pens, side by side. We simply set up camp.

No other breed was represented in as large a number as the Farmdogs, and just the fact that our little breed dominated the show, was a new and big experience.
Once we had showed in the first morning show, we brought in lunch, and our judge came and met us.
We had asked to have a breed parade with all the dogs in the ring at the same time, for one thing to show just how many we were, to boost our community feeling (as if that was needed, HA!), and to just for once, have them all in the ring at the same time. This was a big event, and we had never had so many gathered at the same time in the same place. The judge kindly suggested, that we had our parade before the show started, to give the dogs the experience of being in the ring, before being "on". That was agreed upon, and it was really very considerate to allow us to do it this way, considering that over half the dogs and owners, had never been in a show ring before, less thought, that they'd ever even try this, before they got their Farmdog.

Camp Farmdogs
Farmdog camp one side...

Camp Farmdogs
...and Farmdog camp the other side

Breed parade

I can't quite describe the experience of the breed parade, but I would like to try, because it meant incredibly much and take up most "space" in the memory of the weekend.
When we got our first Farmdog, there were less than 15 Farmdogs in The USA, and there were at the most shown 3-4 dogs once a year. Since then, I have worked hard to maintain contact to new, both US-born and imported Farmdogs, and tried to promote, that they have contact with one another, for the very reason, to some day be able to "do something" together, all together.
Now there are 71 Farmdogs, and counting the litter, which was born the day this show happened (this announcement Saturday evening released applause and cheers), we have a total of 76. I have previously been at a show, where we had 14 Farmdogs, and that was "big".

Now for weeks, I had been sleepless over practical preparations, being responsible (and thanks Lill for your help, and for taking this responsibility with me!) of "taking care of" so many dogs and people for an entire weekend. I had for 4 years worked on helping in getting a breed club established in The USA, and for 3 years I had worked to put a national show together and make it happen, including all the obstacles, which do come along, especially when attempting this for the first time.

And it is, bottom line, a fact, that one can prepare as much as one wants, and arrange everything the best way possible, but there will no matter what, not be an event, until people actually show up and participate!

Breed parade1
Breed parade2
Breed parade of 25 Danish/Swedish Farmdogs in The USA was an incredible experience, which us, who were there, will never, ever forget.
What was prior to the event itself, and what was involved as far as preparations and planning by each of the participants, in order to be there, is actually incredible, and yes, the emotions ran off with many of us, eyes filled with happy tears.

And I think that was what took my breath away, and still does...the fact that people went through "fire and water" and actually were there with their dogs. To walk into the ring, close the circle and look around in the entire ring, the faces of the many known people, which I have come to care much for, and the little spotted Farmdogs, filling the ring all the way around...yes admitted, that did make the emotions over-flow and brought happy tears in my eyes. It was un-expected and surprising, and I wanted to keep that moment of time and place forever inside. I thought that NOW I had experienced my biggest dream come true, and pinched myself in my arm, to make sure I was awake. It was amazing. SO far away from home, the most beautiful sight of wonderful dogs and people, the feeling of very, very strong shared interest and dedication, and I thought: "Could everybody at home just see us now, could this instant just last forever".
Many others were caught by surprise of the effect, it was that strong. And it may sound silly now, but one would probably have to have been along, through thick and thin, to completely be able to relate.
And once (sooner than one might think) there are 100's of Danish/Swedish Farmdogs in The USA, we cannot expect to be able to maintain this bond in the same strong "family-small-group-sense". That is why I am so extremely thankful, to have had this experience, because us, who were in the ring that day with each other and our beloved little dogs, will always carry that feeling inside us, of something we shared, and of something so special, it can never be repeated.
A "one timer" would be appropriate description, and when standing there with everybody else, I knew, because a success can never be repeated, and only once is the very first time. 36 people and 25 Danish/Swedish Farmdogs, we were there!

Show time

And then the show everybody came for started.
Lars Adeheimer gave open critiques at ring side and took into very strong consideration, that here was a group of people, who pretty much didn't know anything. In a very capable manner he managed to make a formal activity, which a dog show is, a somewhat different and very nice experience. He "came across the ring side" with knowledge and good explanations of his observations, both positive and negative, he made the dogs in the ring relax and show at their best, and he made people laugh.

open critique at ring side
crowd listening
The judge gave open critiques at ring side, and a crowd wishing to learn is listening intensely

I am still not certain, whether we hired a dog judge or a Swedish entertainer with a rare for the breed (Swedish!) sense of humor, but as dog judge, he quickly became very popular, because he was good, there was consistency, line, wisdom, and sense in what was said, and most of all, everybody learned incredibly much.

After the show group and best of show was judged by another (American) judge. We were cheering on our Farmdog best of breed dog, and the joy was great, when Danish/Swedish Farmdog took Group 1...but that was nothing compared to the excitement and applause, when Danish/Swedish Farmdog took Best In Show Reserve. We were so proud, one for all and all for one, didn't matter which of our dogs won, just that a Farmdog placed that high, was all the trouble worth to experience. "Another one up" for the group feeling for sure.

Ranger Best of Breed
Ranger Best in Show Reserve
Best of breed is chosen, who later proudly presents the Best In Show Reserve rosette

And above everything shined...well, for one thing the sun, but also the breed club's logo, which for the first time was printed in color on a huge banner, with the club's mission statement in text.

Logo banner

DSFCA's logo printed for the first time on a huge banner with the club's mission statement in text. We all agreed, that it was the best of many possible logos, we could have chosen

Also the logo brought many "big" and positive feelings to see "live", just to produce, select and "fine tune", it took us many months to reach agreement about, and when it has hanging above our camp, we all agreed, that is was the best logo we could have chosen.

We rushed back to the hotel, where dogs were walked and fed, then it was time to feed the humans. There was reservation made in a neighboring restaurant, where we all gathered for dinner and a well deserved drink. Lots of talking, Lars Adeheimer joined us, and expressed very great satisfaction, with what he had seen in the quality of our dogs. It was encouraging to hear, that he feels we have a good base to work with, for the future of the breed. Our dinner was wonderfully un-formal, we chatted, toasted and laughed. Everybody was tired after a long day, but no-one wanted to break up first, and we also had a seminar planned, scheduled to begin at 8 PM. Most of us only had time to quick-walk our dogs, before we gathered again in a meeting room at the hotel, and were ready with coffee, water, paper and pencil.

A detailed A-Z interpretation of the details in the breed standard was given, partly some from the Swedish judge's compendium (material designed to educate judges to judge the breed), and I also recognized several pictures and items from the Danish judge's compendium. Further Lars Adeheimer had added some pictures himself, which he also commented on. It was incredibly confirming to hear the breed standard interpreted and presented so true, to what I have managed to gather of information from Denmark through the years, and it was refreshing to learn, and experience to understand, even more. It is very obvious, that the breed standard in it's appearing to be simplicity, is with all it's tiny details an incredible master piece, which it necessarily must take years, if not decades, to become real confident in interpreting. But for us here in The USA, the bull was at least taken by the horns, and eyes were opened up.
In the probably last 2-3 hours, there were Q's and A's and general talk about the presentation, as well as examples from real life, naturally based mostly on Lars Adeheimer's own experiences, as a breeder of the breed through almost 20 years.
It was a fun and not boring seminar, and in spite of everybody being "tired to the bone", there was great attention and active participation from the about 20 was "golden grains" thrown before a very hungry group, who wanted to learn and wished to understand, and an entire new world opened op to the many, who have never had anybody explain to them, what the breed standard actually means.

Since that evening, I doubt any of the ones, who were there, have looked at dogs in quite the same way, as they did before. It is exciting, because it opens up for the possibility, that the more eyes looking, the more we'll see all together.

Sunday Farmdog fun-games

Sunday started early again. We had most the Farmdogs entered in another ARBA show with a US judge, and we had planned to play with the Farmdogs, little fun and silly games, which had nothing to do with show. When she shows were over, ARBA permitted us to use one of the show rings for our "Farmdog Fun-Games".

Ready for fungames

Ready for fun, in relaxed "mode", while looking at fungames or waiting for one's name to be called to participate

And how great it was, that we did this. Lined up at ring side was the camping chairs, people just watching, or waiting to be called in to participate. The mood was very happy, very relaxed, and a silly, almost childish competition state of mind, came up in people...who could re-call someone else's dog quickest? Which dog could catch most balls in the air? Which team could fastest drive their dogs in slalom in a wheelbarrel? And who could get the judging panel (consisting of the kids) to fall for the best dog trick?

Hans wheels Greta

Piper wheels Spiff

Mike wheels Cheyenne

Linda wheels Emma

Caitlin wheels Spiff

Brita wheels Vago
Tom wheels Major
Winning, spinning, wheeling team!
Slalom in wheelbarrel, the competition was intense! The winning team at bottom right.

If there wasn't team feeling and spirit before, there sure was, once we started playing...good advise and cheers, "dirty tricks" (still wanna know who put treats in the wheel barrel!), and conspiracies, quick switching of dogs, which could do more or less than others, etc. etc. Everything only for the fun of it, and fun it was. Some happy hours with a happy group and one big family, from all "ends of the world", all possible different traits and life-styles...everybody with one thing in common, that they love their little dog endlessly much, and they "burn" for its breed.

Chris w Skoen grass skirt

Ina w Jake grass skirt

Warren w Frisco grass skirt

Lill w Bailey...Bailey where? grass skirt

Caitlin with Spiff grass skirt

Flying Sally w Anna grass skirt
Winning grass skirt team
There are no limits as to what you can get people to do! And there is just nothing as hysterically funny as running slalom, with a ball on a spoon, one's dog on a leash, wearing a green grass skirt and a silly hat!

One could wish to throw in a word about, that geopgraphically and sociologically viewed, it is un-likely to be able to bring such a group of people together, and make them spend an entire weekend in each other's company...but that they all the while, all as one, can go home after that weekend, and bring with them an experience for life, which they wish to repeat with the same people, that is theoretically just about impossible.

Major...hmm I can see them
Samson...maybe I can fish them out
Target...this is how it's done!

Anna AKA Hoover

Greta...blop, blop

Bobbing for hotdogs...there are a known number of hotdog pieces under water in the many ways to get those out, yet there's really only one way!

The Danish/Swedish Farmdog in The USA has come to stay, and it is currently in the very best of hands, with some very, very enthusiastic families, which all have that in common, that they so much want to help in giving the breed the best start, and thereby the best future.

I myself will remember that weekend, as one of the greatest experiences I have ever had, and I am thankful to have lived to have had that experience.
The specter of emotions and facts, which one went through during various high-lites of the weekend, well even late evenings, when the company was reduced to a few on the patio, or even less in the room, is actually so complex, that I still several weeks after, get to laughing over something that was funny, suddently remember something someone said, or think of something I have to remember to follow up on.

Everyone who participated in the weekend in CO have reported back, that they had an unforgettable experience, which was worth all the trouble they went through to get there, and that they will do it again.

So that we will, because our next National breed club show is scheduled for November next year, where Ole Staunskjśr, Denmark will be judging. There is already now a number of preliminary confirmations of people wanting to be there, they were making promises already in CO about next year, as soon as they heard about it.
And even more, who couldn't be there this time, have already now reserved time in the calendar, because they realize they missed out on a great event, and they certainly want to be there for the next one no matter what.
I am looking at least as much forward, as I was up till this time, because I already know now, that also that weekend will become a fantastic experience, good, fun, family-like, and educational. We are also looking forward to give Ole Staunskjśr that experience with us, because of course we think ourselves, that we all together are pretty darn good company!

Group Longmont CO 2006
Group picture Longmont, CO 2006 of people and Farmdogs.
All in all we all think, that all together we're pretty darn good company!

From Helene and Maddy
From Maddy and me

Best of Breed
Best of Breed, Winners Dog, Best of Winners, Group 1, Best in Show 2 (=Reserve)
My Bonnie Oelleboelle Oellebroed, AKA Ranger

Best of Opposite Sex
Best of Opposite Sex
Agerhoenen's Flora Floedekaramel

Winners Bitch
Winners Bitch
Annika's Tulare, AKA Lexie

Reserve Winners
Reserve Winners (Female)
Amanda's Anna, AKA Anna

Reserve Winners
Reserve Winners (Male)
My Bonnie Perikles Perleloeg, AKA Bailey

Best of Breed Puppy
Best of Breed Puppy
Little Denmark's Annie Oakley, AKA Birkita

Little Denmark's Brace Class
Best Brace Class
Kennel Little Denmark's

Little Denmark's Brood bitch class
Best Brood bitch class
Kennel Little Denmark's

Show results show 1, Saturday with US judge:

Annika's Tulare
Winners Bitch, Best of Winners, Best of Breed, Group 1, BEST IN SHOW 1
Annika's Tulare AKA Lexie
The first Danish/Swedish Farmdog in The USA to ever win Best in Show!!!

Javika's Terkel
Winners Dog, Best of Opposite Sex
Javika's Terkel AKA Tukko

Javika's Bestle Nestle Kakao Ko
Reserve Winners (Female)
Javika's Bestle Nestle Kakao Ko AKA Kikka

Little Denmark's Arapahoe
Reserve Winners (Male)
Little Denmark's Arapahoe AKA Jake

Little Denmark's Annie Oakley
Best of Breed puppy, Group 1 puppy, Best in Show Reserve puppy
Little Denmark's Annie Oakley AKA Birkita

Show results show 4, Sunday with US judge:

Gonzo's Folmer
Best of Breed
Gonzo's Folmer AKA Vago

Javika's Prinsesse Madeleine
Best of Opposite Sex
Javika's Prinsesse Madeleine AKA Maddy

Annika's Joaquin
Winners Dog, Best of Winners
Annika's Joaquin AKA Frisco

Little Denmark's Birgitte The Conqueror
Winners Bitch
Little Denmark's Birgitte The Conqueror AKA Emma

Javika's Bestle Nestle Kakao Ko
Reserve Winners (Female)
Javika's Bestle Nestle Kakao Ko AKA Kikka

Little Denmark's Boerge The Explorer
Reserve Winners (Male)
Little Denmark's Boerge The Explorer AKA Samson

Little Denmark's Annie Oakley
Best of Breed puppy, Group 1 puppy, Best in Show Reserve puppy
Little Denmark's Annie Oakley AKA Birkita