The Shelties in Finland


Anne Toppari


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  The judging system in Finland is quite different here than in the USA. Here we don't collect any points, but the dog has to get three (3) Championate Certificates from three (3) different judges to become a Finnish Champion.

We have four different classes in our shows: Juniors 9-15 months, Youngsters 15-24 months, Open Class 24 months - 7 years, and Veterans over 7 years. The Champions and nonchampions compete together, but all Champions are in the Open Class because the dog has to be over 24 months to get its last Championate Certificate.

In every class the dog first gets awarded the quality prizes. Their definitions are: 1st prize - Very good in type and temperament with no defects; 2nd prize - Good type and temperament with no prominent defects; 3rd prize - Acceptable with no major defects; or 0 prize - Disqualifying defects in conformation or temperament. When you enter the Junior Class, you have to be given 1st prize to go on to the Junior competition class. Then the Judge will rank the first prize winner giving the Honor Prize (which means the dog is promising for his age) or the Certificate Quality (well worth a champion title) to those he/she thinks deserve it. But the judge does not have to give them at all. This same process goes on throughout the other classes, too. If you have gotten an HP, you could not compete any more.

Finally, all the males who have gotten a Certificate Quality compete for Best Male competition. If the first one is already a Finnish Champion, then the second can take it and so on. The same system applies to the females. Finally, the Best Male and Best Female compete for Best of Breed/Best of Opposite Sex. The Best of Breed winner goes on to Group Competition. In Finland, Shelties are in the Herding Group (FCI Group No. 1), and there are 47 breeds in Group competition.

Shelties must be over 24 months to get their last Championate Certificate, and then they have finished their Championship title.

If you have a very outstanding Sheltie, you can travel all over Europe to try to get many Championships from different countries as well as Winner titles like World-, European-, Finnish-, Norden, etc. If a Finnish Champion goes to Sweden, it has to get only one Championate Certificate there in order to become a Finnish-Swedish Champion. The same system applies with other FCI (Federation Cynologique Internationale) countries, too.

There are two kinds of dog shows in Finland - International and National. In an International show, the Best Male and Best Female get Cacibs. A Sheltie must get four (4) Cacibs from three (3) different countries to finish an International Championship. In order to get a Cacib, there must be at least one (1) year and 1 day between the first Cacib and the fourth Cacib. The dog must also be at least 15 months of age to get a Cacib.

Besides these Champion titles, the dog could compete for different kinds of Winner titles. Once a year in Finland is the Finnish Winner Dog Show, where all the Best of Breed winners get to compete for the Winners title. In Scandinavia, there is the Northern Winner Dog Show once a year as well. Many outstanding dogs travel in Europe to get a lot of different Championships and titles.

There are no professional handlers in our shows nor show photographers as in the USA. Only the group winners or Best In Show winner are photographed in magazines.

Our Shelties' basis is in English bloodlines, and they are mostly imported from England or Sweden. The type varies in many ways from the type in the US. Here the shelties have less muzzle, less bone, and in many lines less coat. The head is also different: less underjaw, eyes and ears are bigger. We have some problems with temperament - some are quite nervous and shy. The size is difficult: we do have the standard and the ideal sizes, but many Shelties are too big or too small. The judges prefer bigger ones. It is very difficult to get success with the ideal size male.

Last year there were 756 Shelties registered in Finland, and 21 became Finnish champions. The Sheltie is the No. 8 breed in all breeds.

If you want to breed Shelties in Finland, you have to check the sire's and dam's eye officially before you can register the puppies. Normally the breeders check the pups as well before they go to their new homes. Here there are so many problems with the eyes. There is no big line between the show and pet puppies. Normally all the puppies in the litter are sold for the same price - about $600-$800 USD. I haven't heard of anybody taking more even for very good puppies. Puppies are sold at about 7-8 weeks of age.

There are a couple of Shelties imported from the USA here, but they haven't finished their Championships yet. I have imported two more Shelties - a female and a male - so we will see in the future how they will go and how they will affect Sheltie breeding in Finland.

Note from Lynda Bernier, Cathance Shelties dated May 22, 2006:  In July 2005, we exported a lovely tri male to Kapalakopla Shelties in Turku Finland and he has completed the following:  American/Finland/Estonia/Russian/Latvia Ch. Cathance Music Maker.

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Last modified: April 19, 2012