AKC Gazette Columns

AKC Gazette - August 1991


On April 26, 27 and 28, the Bernese Mountain Dog Club of America held its 16th annual, 14th independent national specialty show, obedience trial and sweepstakes in Coraopolis, Pennsylvania, at the beautiful campus of Robert Morris College, and 8th tracking test at Mingo Creek Park, Eighty-Four, Pennsylvania. The locations were excellent as they were just minutes away from the Greater Pittsburgh International Airport.

This, the largest national to date, was hosted by the Three Rivers Bernese Mountain Dog Club under the capable chairmanship of Mary Dawson and her assistant, Deborah Godfrey. A unique aspect of this specialty was saluted by the host club in the catalog with a welcoming page that noted, "Sincere thanks are due to those Bernese regional clubs and individual members of the BMDCA who volunteered to help with this specialty, making it a truly national effort!"

Next time you see a Pennsylvania license plate, note the state's motto, "You've Got a Friend in Pennsylvania," and believe it. Courtesy, hospitality and helpfulness were evident every- where. Charlie Howison, "the Van Man," provided the best possible shuttle service. There really is a lot more to a national than just who wins what. It is truly a statement from a breed club as to what the members and dogs are all about. How rewarding it was to see beautiful Berners and their wonderful owners who, for the majority, were as gentle, kind, friendly and fiercely protective of those they cherish as are their dogs! The unprecedented entry of 393 dogs was absolutely fantastic. The quality present in the exhibits was a testimonial to the care that Berner breeders here and abroad are applying to their breeding.

Show Results

Mrs. Eve Menegoz of Quebec, Canada, ably presided over an entry of 132 dogs in sweeps. This highly regarded breeder-exhibitor of Bernese selected for her Best Puppy and Best in Sweepstakes Cita V Sagispicher ," owned by Kim Behrens and bred by Marianne Iff. This impressive Swiss import at eight months of age made her ring debut with the superb handling of Michelle Ostermiller.

For the first time in the club's history, the regular classes for the specialty were judged by a foreign judge, Mr. Christopher Habig of Wiesbaden, Germany. Licensed to judge 135 breeds in his native country, Mr. Habig is also an international judge. At the judges' dinner he received two standing ovations, proclaiming his astute ability to judge Bernese Mountain Dogs.

Mr. Habig's selection for Winners Dog was the 12 to 18 months dog, Tallpine's Lodger, owned by Douglas P. Hitchcock and bred by Mr. Hitchcock and Sherry L. Edwards. Reserve Winners Dog was the 6 to 9 months puppy, Grunberg Xactly Right, owned by Mary Alice Eschweiler and bred by Deborah Mulvey.

Mr. Habig's selection for Winners Bitch was the 6 to 9 months puppy that had been the previous day's Best in Sweepstakes, Cita V Sagispicher.

The Reserve Winners Bitch was Roya V Holz-Chilchli from Open bitches, owned by Ruby P. Ackert-Herzig and bred by Martha Wuethrich.

For the first time, the Veteran classes were divided by age. This is a much more equitable arrangement considering that the younger veterans generally have more stamina. Veteran dogs, 6 years and under 9 years, was won by Ch. Car-Mars Mountain Shadow, C.D., owned by Charli Nicholas and bred by Carolyn Lockhart. First place in Veteran bitches, in the same age division, was Ch. Shersan's Advanced Warning, bred and owned by Robert and Carolyn Kinley.

The number of entries in the Veterans 9 years and over class was considerably fewer. Ch. Aragorn V Adlerhorst, 10 1/2 years old, owned and bred by Judy Butenas, placed first in dogs. Among the Veteran bitches, 9 years and over, Kati V Sturmbuhl, owned by Carol Krell and bred by Albrecht Hauser, was first. Kati further proved her prowess in the whelping box by winning Best Brood Bitch.

Best of Breed competition, with an impressive entry of 48 dogs and 27 bitches with few absences, was the highlight of the weekend. Taking the dogs and bitches in smaller groups, Mr. Habig efficiently made his cuts and thereby narrowed his field to a final ring of splendid specimens. The dramatic choice for Best of Breed was Ch. Donar V Mutschen, owned by Hans and Jo Dee Hauser and Edelweiss Vale, and bred by Lotti Schrode; Donar was beautifully presented by Beth Friichtenicht. As an import from Switzerland, Donar was the second Swiss import to win BB at a national, the first having been won at the first national in 1976 by Ch, Zyta V Nesselacker. Best of Winners was the dog, Tallpine's Lodger. Best of Opposite Sex was the Veteran Bitch, 6 years and under 9 years, Ch. Shersan's Advanced Warning. Handled by Bobbi Kinley, daughter of the bitch's owners, this lovely veteran brought back memories of her romping to Best in Sweeps from the 6 to 9 months bitches and going on to Reserve Winners Bitch at the 1984 BMDCA Nationa1.

Awards of Merit were given to the Winners Bitch, Cita V Sagispicher; to Ch. Rasco VD Schwarzwasserfluh owned by Janice Provenzano and Dr. Martin Queller, and bred by Greti Zbinden; and to Ch. Bev's Baron V Greybern, owned by Beverly Burney., and bred by Malcom Gray. The last named dog also won first place in the very large Stud Dog class.

Tracking and Obedience

With a dedicated group of well-wishers, Mrs. Beverly Johnson and Mr. Richard O. Zerbe conducted the early morning tracking test. Of the three entrants, two passed. They were Seacrest-Bev's Raven U Random, C.D.X., owned by Dr. Patricia Losco and bred by Gail and Kevin Whitesell; and Ch. Zeder Hugle's Raleigh V Rolo, C.D.X., T.D., owned by Ruth Prenosil and bred by Jack Klassen, who "ran a fantastic track."

The obedience trial was judged by Mr. David Denis, one of the BMDCA's Canadian members. He was thoughtful and considerate throughout his judging. High in Trial was Ch. Zeder Hugle's Raleigh V Rolo, C.D,X., T.D., with a score of 191 1/2. Rolo was also Highest Scoring Champion in Trial, having already distinguished himself in tracking.

Junior Showmanship

Mr. John E. Phillipson presided over Junior Showmanship competition. Nathan Ripley, with his Ch. Grunberg Ura, which he co-owns with Deborah Mulvey who is her breeder, was Best Junior Handler.

In Retrospect

Mr. Habig, unconditionally admired by all present, addressed those at the judges' dinner with his views. He was impressed by the size, type, temperament and overall natural quality. His comments were indeed helpful for surely the direction of a breed following a specialty is as marked as a compass rose. To maintain a forward course, the national conducted its second judges study group, provided nightly seminars and presented Bonnie Dalzell, who gave an enlightening program that analyzed Berner movement. Yes, the protectors of quality Berners maintain their sense of direction.

-Julie Crawford, Route 2, Box 110, Delmar, MD 21875.