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What a weekend - 2 new champions & some FCI history made in NZ

The Easter weekend in Canterbury was filled with shows run by the North Canterbury Kennel Association, the Canterbury Kennel Association and for the very first time in NZ. the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI), in conditions that managed to run the full gamut of the weather spectrum.

Friday saw us at Mandeville in bright sunny weather for 2 North Canterbury Kennel Association shows - an Open show in the morning and a Championship show in the afternoon. In the Long Coat Chihuahuas, Ben (Kitaco Ben de la Crème) took Baby Puppy of Breed in both shows, and once again, Nikita took Best Neuter of Breed and of Group in the champ show.

We are thrilled to announce that with this win, Nikita has now qualified for her Neuter Championship title and will henceforth be known (Dogs NZ approval pending) as NZ CH, NZ Neut CH, Eldivino Señorita Nikita

The real star of the day for Team Kitaco, however was Tinky (Kitaco Mastermind), who was just a delight and in a huge field took Best Bitch, Reserve Best of Breed and Junior of Breed in the Champ show.

Not to be outdone. our Team Kitaco Poms also stepped up, with "The Void" (Tribble to Helen Back at Kitaco) taking Best Bitch and Reserve of Breed, while our boy Astro came to visit us from his forever home in the North Island and with his Best of Breed and the Dog CC is now (Dogs NZ approval pending) also officially a New Zealand Champion!

Saturday meant packing up the gazebo and all our gear and heading out to the CKA Kennel Centre at McLeans Island where the previous day's perfect weather was replaced by gale-force winds that nearly blew the babies away.

In another huge field, Ava (NZ CH Kitaco Smashed Avacado) took the Best Bitch CC and Best NZ Breed of Breed, Tinky again took the Best Junior of Breed, Ben took Best Baby Puppy of Breed while Nikita, proving the previous day's group win was no fluke, took both the Best Neuter of Breed and Best Neuter of Group.

The Poms also cleaned up, taking both Best of Breed (Astro) and Reserve Best of Breed (Helen).

Sunday and now it's cold and pouring rain for New Zealand's very first official FCI show.

The FCI is the largest World Canine organisation with 99 members and contract partners, and although NZ has been an affiliate member for some time, it was only in 2021 that our first official shows were approved, which were then, inevitably, postponed due to COVID. Sunday saw them finally kick off and a chance for our dogs to receive an official FCI ranking, but also, if they are awarded 3 CACIB certificates at different shows, the title of "International Champion".

So. with Astro headed back to the North Island with his forever mum, it was left to The Void to represent the Team Kitaco Poms. And she did. Brilliantly! With the rain bucketing down at the start of the show, a very soggy, but still cheerful Helen, took the very first NZ FCI Pomeranian Best of Breed, Best Baby Puppy of Breed and received a ranking of "Very Promising".

Poms are part of the Toy Group in regular NZ Shows so it was rather weird waiting around with the Breed winners to be judged in Group, amid all those enormous breeds we never see in the Toy ring, like the Spitz breeds, Huskies and Borzois, which make up the "Spitz & Primitive Types" Group 5 in the FCI schedule.

Helen was quite the novelty, got many cuddles and was dubbed the "Teacup Samoyed" by her admirers. The eventual winner of the Baby Puppy of Group 5 was a gorgeous Siberian Husky who was roughly 20 times Helen's size and probably does poops bigger than her!

Thankfully, the rain had eased by the time the Chihuahuas hit the ring. Ben took Best Baby Puppy of Breed and was graded "Very Promising" (the highest ranking a baby puppy can get), while Ava received an "Excellent" grading and was also awarded the first NZ FCI Chihuahua Bitch CACIB and Best Opposite of Breed. We were absolutely thrilled that even though she was runner up in the Junior class, Tinky was also graded as "Excellent". She is too young to qualify for a CACIB, but a dog cannot receive one without an "E" grading, so it's a great start for her and speaks well for her future chances of one day achieving the International Champion title.

As the weather improved we also got the opportunity to shoot some stock footage for TVNZ's HeiHei show. They are working on a Junior Dog Handler series for their online channel and came out to the show grounds to shoot some background shots.

We spent quite a while with the team walking up and down and then up and down again and again so the camera crew could get the right angles and shots they wanted. Chatting to the camera operator afterwards, we mentioned Nikita's stage career in Legally Blonde, The Musical and as Mr Piffles in the Piff the Magic Dragon Show, and it turned out she'd seen Nikita in Legally Blonde, so she just had to shoot a whole new bunch of footage of Nikita doing the "speak" trick she learned for the show.

It was a fun way to finish off the weekend, made even more fun by the fact that just as we were on the verge of leaving for the day, the TV camera appeared again and the operator begged us for more time with Nikita, with whom who she utterly smitten and apparently could not get enough of her on film. We have no idea how much of the footage (if any) will make it past the cutting room in the final series, but we'll definitely post a link to the show on line when it goes live.

Thanks to all the show committees who worked so hard to put on such a big weekend of shows and a special thanks to the FCI stewards and writers who did an awful lot of "learning on the job", in the rain, in a show format never before seen in NZ. They did a sterling job and the show ran remarkably smoothly, thanks to their efforts.

Special thanks, too, to Deb Barltrop for managing to take a photo of Helen in full sunlight where you can actually see her face!


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