Dear readers,

The holiday Season is approaching! All of us are looking forward to warm gatherings with our family and loved ones. Yet another year is almost gone, and what a year!

The expansion of the FCI Offices in Thuin, whose construction started in 2014, was inaugurated on March 20th, 2015. On this occasion, the statue of a Belgian Shepherd Dog casted by the Belgian artist Luc Deblick was offered to the city of Thuin to commemorate the city which has been hosting the FCI headquarters since 1954 and which was proclaimed the World Capital of Dogs in 2011.

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Rafael de Santiago
FCI President
American Cocker Breeder tops the World again

Amsterdam, December 2015 - AN AMERICAN Cocker Spaniel breeder from France is celebrating becoming Eukanuba World Challenge Champion – the second dog they’ve bred to win the prestigious competition.

At 8 p.m., on Saturday, December 12, 2015, more than 12,000 people from around the world watched via live web-streaming to see judge Rafael de Santiago choose Mathilde Leonard-Nole’s American Cocker Spaniel Multi Champion Very Vigie I Don’t Know as his winner of the prestigious international competition which was held during the Amsterdam Winners Show at the RAI Exhibition Centre, Amsterdam.

The breeder of “Ricky” is Laurent Pichard who bred the very first Eukanuba World Challenge winner back in 2007, Multi Champion Very Vigie Vamos A La Playa, an American Cocker Spaniel. The handler of both “Ricky” and “Vamos” is Hugues Schuh, a professional dog handler from Switzerland.

Mr Pichard said: “I started breeding American Cocker Spaniels in 1974 and you don’t get a dog like Vamos or Ricky in every litter. Vamos and Ricky are related on the mother’s side. Ricky is a real showman and enjoys every minute that he is in the ring. He is really enthusiastic and just wants Hughes to be proud of him, his goal is to please his best friend.”

Ricky, who is two years old and fed on Eukanuba products, has already gained his champion title in many countries including the UK, France, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Italy, Malta and also holds the International and European Champion titles.

Ricky becomes the first French winner in the nine year-long competition.

Jacques Médard-Mangin’s is an all round judge and member of the Board of the Société Centrale Canine (SCC) who had the pleasure of holding the French flag in the Eukanuba World Challenge opening ceremony. He said: “France is happy and proud that the American Cocker Spaniel Multi Ch Very Vigie I don’t Know has been selected winner of the prestigious Eukanuba World Challenge in Amsterdam. I have judged this top quality dog many times and he has a perfect temperament, conformation and presentation. Congratulations for the outstanding organisation of the events in Amsterdam and for the friendly atmosphere amongst participating countries”.

Christian Eymar-Dauphin, President of the SCC, added: “The vocation of the Société Centrale Canine is the selection of pedigree dogs, promoted through conformation shows, field trials and working tests. The SCC has been happy to attend the prestigious Eukanuba World Challenge for many years, as it is a show that converges with our ideology”.

With the support of the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) and the Kennel Club (UK), 31 dogs from five continents earned a slot to compete at the event which was held during the popular Amsterdam Winners Show. All the competitors had qualified by either being best in show at a major international dog show such as the World Dog Show and Crufts or being selected by their country’s Kennel Club.

© L.A. Croft-Elliott
back, from left to right : Laurent Pichard (Ricky’s breeder), Monique van Brempt (section judge), Gerard Jipping (Raad van Beheer president, FCI vice-president), Rafael de Santiago (FCI President), Jose Luis Ibanez (EWC Show Chairman), Matthias Schiller (Managing Director Spectrum Brands Europe)
Front : Hugues Schuh (handler), Very Vigie I Don't Know 'Ricky' American Cocker Spaniel (EWC Champion 2015)


Prior to the final, the famous Eukanuba World Challenge Flag ceremony welcomed all competitors into the main ring accompanied by their nation’s flags and many were also joined by representatives from the country’s Kennel Clubs.

Gerald King, Chairman of Crufts, said: “From the opening ceremony to the awarding of the winners we saw a different approach this year in terms of how this unique event was run, and compared to previous years there was an even more relaxed atmosphere. The Kennel Club is proud to support the Eukanuba World Challenge and proud to see the world’s top pedigree dogs in action.”

The honour of judging the “best of the best” final was FCI President Rafael de Santiago he awarded second place to Marina Khenkina’s Scottish Terrier Mcvans To Russia With Love, handled as usual by Rebecca Cross. “Knopa” had won a place at the Eukanuba World Challenge after winning best in show at Crufts in March 2015. “Knopa” -a six year old bitch - is a champion in Russia, America, the UK, Canada, holds the International Champion title and is also a two time American National Winner and has been Best of Breed at Westminster. She is bred by Vandra Huber and Michael Krolewski.

Third place was revealed as Ann Ingram, Kay Ryan, Lisa Nelson, Leanne Bryant and Marlies Morzik’s Toy Poodle Tirkane The Big Issue called “Isak” who was representing Ireland. He is a three-year-old male, is fed on Eukanuba and is an Irish and UK Champion. “Isak” is the son of Tirkane Burning Desire who was World Winner in Denmark in 2010 and Isak also sired the UK’s top winning Toy Poodle puppy in 2015, Nasailleen Tabloid Talk. Co-owner and handler of Isak was Ann Ingram and she said: “To represent your country is such an enormous honour, to experience the enormous support from the Irish was very emotional and to have a third generation, home bred, owner-handled dog so successful, was beyond words!

“To 'Isak', our very special Poodle, you gave it your very best, you brought tears to my eyes, thank you. In the words of the song, 'we are flying without wings', and I think we will be soaring for a very long time!”

Mr de Santiago said judging the EWC final was a unique experience: “I was lucky to have such a high level group of dogs to examine and judge. The three winners were definitely of outstanding quality. All of them were up to their respective breed standards and were great representatives of their breed.”


The semi-final judges were Monique Van Brempt from Belgium, Frank Kane from the UK and Eugene Yerusalimsky from Russia. The night before the competition, all the finalists were randomly drawn into three sections, and then just before pre-judging, in front of a live audience, the judges picked a section at random. Mrs Van Brempt selected Section One and after judging the group of 11 dogs, she chose the Old English Sheepdog Bottom Shaker Zephyr Dream representing Hungary, the flat-coated Retriever Castlerock Simply Magic from Sweden, the American Cocker Spaniel Very Vigie I Don’t Know from France, and the Basset Hound, Youra Dos Sete Moinhos, representing Portugal, as her four finalists for the Eukanuba World Challenge Final.

Section Two was judged by Frank Kane and his four finalists included: the Lhasa Apso Chic Choix Cleopatra Eurydice from Finland; the Wire Fox Terrier Kingarthur Van Foliny Home who was representing the European Dog Show; the Toy Poodle Tirkane The Big Issue from Ireland and the Bearded Collie Beardie Connections Kenji representing the Netherlands.

Section Three was judged by Eugene Yerusalimsky and his four finalists included the Scottish Terrier McVans To Russia With Love which had won through from Crufts; the Kerry Blue Terrier Torum’s Calico Jack at Irisblu traveling all the way from Australia; the World Dog Show conquering Bearded Collie Oops I Did It Again Del Cuore Impavido and the Irish Wolfhound Bourbon Tullamore Good Stuff from Russia.

© L.A. Croft-Elliott
back, from left to right : Gerard Jipping (Raad van Beheer president, FCI vice-president), Rafael de Santiago (FCI President), Jose Luis Ibanez (EWC Show Chairman), Matthias Schiller (Managing Director Spectrum Brands Europe), Simon Luxmoore (UK KC Chairman)
Front : Rebecca Cross, Hugues Schuh, Ann Ingram
Mcvans To Russia With Love (runner up), Very Vigie I Don't Know (EWC Champion 2015), Tirkane The Big Issue (1st runner up)


FCI President, Rafael de Santiago said the 2015 edition of the Eukanuba World Challenge was impressive. “The very few shortcomings of last year were overcome and comments and observations which were made after last year's edition were taken into consideration by the organisers. I want to express my sincere congratulations to Eukanuba and the Raad van Beheer: they have grasped, preserved and even improved the spirit of the event, launched eight years ago in Long Beach, Florida.

“I'm pretty sure that if constructive comments are expressed again (there are so many stakeholders: exhibitors, dogs, judges, officials, visitors, sponsors, etc.), Eukanuba and its partner, Raad van Beheer, will pay particular attention to them in order to make sure that the event keeps being so prestigious.”

Jose Luis Ibanez, Eukanuba World Challenge Show Chairman said: “The event was a resounding success and thanks to months of hard work from my team at Spectrum Brands – we believe this Eukanuba World Challenge was the best one yet! We are very grateful of the successful collaboration once again with the Dutch Kennel Club and the Amsterdam Winners Show organising committee. In 2016, the Eukanuba World Challenge will celebrate its 10th year so we will start very soon on ensuring that preparations are well underway.”


Many of the Eukanuba World Challenge competitors also took part in the Holland Cup and Amsterdam Winners Show during their stay and many went onto win in their breed competition and some even further.

The Dutch representative, the Bearded Collie, Beardie Connections Kenji, - who made it into the best of the best finals - won best in show at the Holland Cup on the Friday and won the group at the Amsterdam Winners Show and the Swedish Flat-coated Retriever who also was a EWC finalist, went onto win best in show at the Amsterdam Winners Show on the Sunday evening, while the American Cocker “Ricky” took second place in the group behind the same Flatcoat. Also, the Lhasa Apso from Finland won the group at the Amsterdam Winners Show.

The Scottish terrier was the group winner at the Holland Cup while the Kerry Blue Terrier from Australia was 2nd in the group and the Russian based Irish Wolfhound took third and also won the group at the Amsterdam Winners Show.


Gerard Jipping, chairman of the Dutch Kennel Club said it was a successful collaboration for the second year in a row: “I am proud of the Winner Team, this group of hard working volunteers work together with the team of Eukanuba and made the 2015 edition of the EWC again very special.

“The new owners of the brand Eukanuba, Spectrum Brands, who where present at the EWC where impressed by the passion and the commitment between the breeders, the handlers and their dogs. I trust that the EWC will be an event that will stay on the year calendar as the main event for Eukanuba.”

Rony Doedijns, Chief Executive Officer of the Dutch Kennel Club, said: “Just two days after the EWC, we are still a bit tired but with a great feeling and very satisfied about the event we organised with the team of Eukanuba. Also for this year’s edition we had a fantastic main ring with professional lights, suitable music and the right amount of drama you need for a world event like the Eukanuba World Challenge. We don’t want to make a musical, but to give the show a bit of extra makes it special for the competitors and dogs.”

“We even had three professional photo studio’s - one for the EWC, one for the Holland Cup and one for the Amsterdam Winner Show. Where else in the world will you find this? The complete event - EWC, Holland Cup and Amsterdam Winner Show - drew an excellent entry of nearly 7,000 dogs altogether. It was great to work together with Marina Scott, to do the joint commentating. For the EWC final Frank Kane and Marina took to the mics and carried out the commentary for the live streaming and I commentated for the spectators present around the main ring.

“In two weeks time we start with the evaluation of this year’s event and with the preparation for the World Challenge, the Holland Cup and the Amsterdam Winners Show for 2016. See you all there and show the world your talent.”

Once again Eukanuba offered free live-streaming of the main ring throughout the three days, enabling a global audience to follow all the excitement in Amsterdam. Official statistics show that the live streaming attracted more than 100,000 views from visitors all over the world, as the event was also broadcasted in the Netherlands through LiveforPets TV.

All the videos from the main ring events at the Eukanuba World Challenge, Amsterdam Winners Show and the Holland Cup are available to view online now at

Media contacts

Jose Luis Ibanez
EWC Show Chairman

+41 79 339 07 30

Roxane Daunt

+41 79 808 33 69

About Eukanuba World Challenge

Supported by the world’s leading canine organisations, ‘Fédération Cynologique Internationale’ (FCI) and ‘The Kennel Club’ (UK), the ‘Eukanuba World Challenge’ is a unique competition designed to bring together the top winning dogs from around the world and celebrate the magnificence of pure breed dogs. Participating dogs are nominated by their national Kennel Clubs or qualified at some of the world’s most prestigious shows, and compete for the highly coveted title ‘Eukanuba World Challenge Champion’ and a EUR 7,500 prize. For more information, visit or