Champions in Chile
I had judged several times in Chile, and always enjoyed the shows so much. A couple of years ago, I was so pleased to be invited and available to return. Unfortunately, due to Covid, the show had to be cancelled, as in so many parts of the world. Then, once shows were held again, I was not available for several dates. So I was very pleased to be available for the Kennel Club of Chile on January 26-29. Living in New York, it is always a treat to go to a warm climate in January.
Macarena Pantaleon chaired the great committee organizing the show. Macarena is a world-famous Beagle breeder and has campaigned her dogs here in the States and in South America. Diego Garcia is campaigning a red-and-white 13-inch bitch for her right now. This past Sunday in Miami, my 15-inch BOV was one of hers as well. South America has produced many top Beagles through the years, and many became big winners in the U.S.
Normally I prefer to book my own airfare, but Macarena did it for me. I told her that I fly United out of Newark, and she sent the available schedule. United no longer flies direct to Santiago or Buenos Aires. From Newark we now have to connect through Houston, and there is only one flight per day.
Tuesday the 24th I got to Newark and had the shock of my life: I had forgotten to bring my passport. I probably have flown internationally well over a hundred times, and I felt like a total idiot. I immediately got booked for the same flight the following day, which was Wednesday.
Wednesday morning I changed the flight leaving Newark at 3:30 p.m. to 2 p.m., since I was worried that any delay leaving Newark would make it difficult to make the connection in Houston. So glad I did, because the flights were running late.
I was very relieved when the flight to Santiago took off at 10:30 p.m. After a very long delay and a few drinks at the United Club, I knew I would be able to sleep for most of the 10-hour flight from Houston to Santiago. Between the two flights, it is a total of 14 hours flying time.
I was scheduled to start judging at 9 a.m. on Thursday. Macarena changed it for me to start at 10:30 a.m. We landed at 9 a.m., and I got my luggage, got through immigration and met the driver around 9:30 a.m. There was not much traffic, and I was at the venue by 10 a.m. This gave me time to change into judging clothes and wash up a bit. Thursday I only had 97 dogs, and was able to make up some time, so I did not delay the ending of the show. I also judged Best Cachorro, or Best Puppy.
My largest entry Thursday was 24 French Bulldogs. Having judged the adults at the World Dog Show in Brazil and in neighboring Argentina in November, I was not surprised to find very, very nice depth of quality. My BOB winner was a Junior black-mask fawn bitch. I think she can compete very well anywhere in the world today. I was glad that the other judges liked her as well as I did.
We arrived at the hotel about 7 p.m., and dinner was at 8:30 p.m., so this gave me time to check in, hang up my clothes and take a long-needed shower. A relaxing dinner with Macarena and the other judges was a great treat. The other judges were some of my favorite friends, including Gerardo Paolucci, Juan Miranda, Luiz Ribas and Dr. Guillermo Carrillo, who I had not met before. He is a famous Labrador breeder from Mexico, and I very quickly enjoyed his company. We have so many mutual Labrador friends from all over the world. Juan’s partner, Jorge, joined us every night for dinner, and he is such a pleasure to spend time with. Every night, the dinners were wonderful, even the meals we ate at the hotel. Being in Chile, I enjoyed many pisco sours.
Thursday evening it was a real treat for me to sleep in a bed after traveling a full day, sleeping on the plane sitting up, and then judging most of the day.
Friday morning I awoke feeling great and looking forward to a wonderful day of judging. I was doing 47 assorted Terriers, 12 Sighthounds and Miscellaneous breeds, which were eight American Bullies and six of the Chilean Terriers, which are like our Rat Terriers, only smaller.
There were eight Afghan Hounds, all from the kennel of Ramon Podesta. It was a pleasure to judge so many good ones. While in Argentina this past November, I put up a bitch for BIS from the kennel of Ramon. But here in Chile, I put up a young male BOB over her. The male has the beautiful springy movement we are not seeing in the breed very often. Friday I also put Best Baby in Show a very exciting six-month-old bitch from this kennel. The Von Haussman kennel of Ramon is one of the greatest breeding kennels in the world today, and is one that has the luxury to do a lot of breeding of different breeds.
Saturday was a day where they had only judges from Chile do the show. The rest of us did specialties. This meant I did not leave the hotel until around noon. I had 30 Bull Terriers and 26 Staffordshire Bull Terriers. The overall quality of the Bull Terriers was very good, and I had some difficult decisions because of depth of quality. Some of them could win anywhere in the world today.
The Staffies were wonderful. South and Central America always have good Staffies. Best Male was a beautiful young dog that had finished his championship the day before. The BOB was a super bitch, and she is as good a Staffie bitch as I have ever seen. She won the group one of the days under Gerardo Paolucci.
In order for the specialties not to conflict with the regular show, I could not start the Staffies until 7 p.m. We did not leave the building until around 8:30 p.m. Macarena called the hotel to make sure the dining room would accommodate us judges. The staff at the Regal Hotel was so accommodating in all regards. Our waiter was so kind to very quickly get me a pisco sour, and before I finished the first one, he delivered a second. Being that the Saturday show went until a bit after 8 p.m., we were all glad to be able to dine right in the hotel.
Sunday my assignment was a lot of FCI Group 2, or our Working Group. In FCI, Bulldogs, all Schnauzers and Min Pins are in this group. My largest entry was Dobermans. My breed winner was a dog from Argentina that was my BOB at the recent WDS in Brazil. This Doberman was also my Winners Dog at the AKC National Championship show in 2021.
I also judged breeds in FCI Group 7, which are our pointing breeds and setters. There was only one Bracco Italiano, but he was of exceptionally top quality.
Sunday I had the pleasure of judging BIS, and the lineup was so very strong. The 10 group winners made for a final as strong, and maybe stronger, than the WDS in Brazil. Several dogs I had before me had won big at the WDS. All 10 group winners were dogs that can win anywhere. I had the pleasure of placing the final one, two, three, four and five. After my choice for BIS, the second-place winner from that group was allowed to compete, but actually did not show up.
The people who know me really well have always asked me, “Desi, what would you do if you had a great Labrador and a great Bull Terrier for BIS?” I always said I would cut the ribbon in half. Well, it finally happened. I put a Junior black male Lab BIS. I believe he is owned in Brazil. Bred by a very famous kennel in Sweden, he is sired by an American dog that was sold to Sweden. I was so pleased that Guillermo Carrillo, being a breeder, liked him as much as I did. He did win Group 8 at all four shows. I am hoping they will bring him to Potomac this April. I think he would be very competitive against the best Labs in the world.
My Reserve Best was a super 7-year-old White Bull Terrier male. The dog is from Chile, but sire and dam carry the Peracho kennel name. This is a very famous kennel in Argentina. This dog is so full of virtues and was in rock-hard condition. He owns the ground he stands and moves on. It was very exciting to see a moving machine in action. It truly was one of the most memorable assignments ever for me.
I also had a wonderful brindle Boxer that won the group the first day at the WDS. Also the wonderful Bracco Italiano, a super Dogo Argentino bitch, the lovely young Afghan male, a very nice Maltese and a super Wire Dachshund bitch. She won big at the WDS under Tamas Jakkel. Sorry to say her handler stayed on the Labrador, and she did not show well to me with a stranger.
Sunday night Macarena took us to a fabulous restaurant and we celebrated the great four days of judging with great dogs.
Monday around noon Macarena picked us up and took us to a very old and very beautiful winery. It was such an interesting tour. We first started with a glass of great wine and walked out to see where the grapes are grown. Then the process from start to finish of great wines. So much of the wine consumed in the U.S. comes from Chile.
After the tour we went back to the city to enjoy a wonderful lunch. Monday around 7 p.m., a driver took me to the airport. Sorry to say the United Club was closed, due to a new terminal being built.
It certainly is a very long flight, but so worth it. I enjoyed the dogs so much. It was a great pleasure to spend so much time with some of the great judges of the world. Being with great judges is always a great learning experience. I was so pleased when Juan pointed out that we will be together this summer in Croatia and Vietnam in the fall. It is always more fun being with friends in foreign countries.
Thank you, Macarena and the entire committee, for making this assignment so memorable. Special thanks also to all the breeders and handlers for bringing so many great dogs to judge.