World Dog Show 2019 Shanghai

World Dog Show Shanghai 2019

After much controversy since its announcement at FCI World Dog Show Milan in 2015, the 2019 edition of the event took place in Shanghai on April 30th to June 3rd. It’s a first time for China, where the pet industry is developing at rapid pace and pet ownership changing before our eyes. It’s also bringing the event back in Asia after 37 years of “western exclusivity”. As a reminder, the last edition in Asia took place in Japan in 1982

The controversy

A few weeks after China Kennel Union (CKU) being selected to organise the 2019 WDS, a series of attacks against the Fédération Cynologique Internationale came from a few national kennel clubs, pointing out that China was a country of dog eaters and therefore should not be allowed to hold such a prestigious event. Some called for a re-vote… or a boycott of the event in Shanghai.

What could have been a 2-weeks buzz like the web is used to, blown into a full-scale, 4-year long hate campaign. 

Rapidly, various extreme-right groups and anti-China organisations with a political agenda joined the ranks of animal activists with legit concerns, throwing a serious shadow on the -previously- unanimously acclaimed event.

The event

Despite hatred campaigns, the show opened quietly on April 30, 2019. The organiser confirmed 7,720 entries for 170 breeds. That’s a bit less than in previous WDS organised in Europe, but can be considered as a success knowing the difficulties to travel and bring pets to China and back. Multiples delegations from overseas, including from Asian countries (Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand… and of course Japan, South-Korea…) and remote destinations (Argentina, etc.)

During the press conference (see the full video below), the Hungarian judge Tamas Jakkel detailed again the reasons justifying the choice of China and CKU. Soft power,  continuous education, best practices sharing are so much better tools to bring the country forward than social media boycott campaigns, he insisted.

World Dog Show 2019 Press Conference
Play Video

It is interesting to note that Chinese authorities have put efforts in making it easier for foreign participants to bring their dogs to the show. A special fast-pass was granted by Shanghai customs to registered participants, lifting the usual inbound and outbound quarantine procedure.

There’s still a lot to do for Chinese cities to improve the lives of its pets and pet owners, but these are positive signs that should not be ignored.

FCI promotional video

China native breeds

Reception in China

Considering the difficulties around international communication, the World Dog Show 2019 can be considered as a success in terms of participation and entries.

In terms of visitor attendance and impact in the chinese pet industry though, the event was rather disappointing. Little noise around the event was heard before the show on chinese social media and forums, and therefore the event attracted mainly a crowd of professionals and consumers from Shanghai and nearby regions.

It might have been a good idea to promote the event to a broader audience and focus more on educational programs before and after the show. Hopefully, it will come with the numerous events CKU organise throughout China all along the year. 

To conclude on a positive note, we share below visitors comments posted on Weibo, a major social media platform in China.

I saw a lot of special dogs, they are so cute. I did not imagine i'd be this excited watching a dog competition. As an amateur audience, I somehow paid more attention on the owners' guidance and dressing than on dogs themselves. I learned a lot.

My childhood dream comes true. I saw and touched many dogs from all over the world, dogs I could only see in illustrated books before today. I noticed the effort that my country did for animal protection and healthcare. Even though it's still a long way to go and still a lot of effort do to change the bad image of our country, i feel happy today.

The 2019 World Dog Show took place in Shanghai World Expo Exhibition & Convention Center on April 30 to May 3, 2019, along with the exhibition  Shanghai International Pet Expo.

SWEECC - World Expo Exhibition & Convention Center

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