Number one Samoyed breeder in the country in Helen Chen, the proud owner of 'Smiling Snowball Luminous Pandora' “Panda,” has carved an astonishing legacy in the world of Samoyed breeding and showing.
Panda, bred in Estonia with Kristiine Uspenski and sired by Helen’s home-bred champion dog INT CH. AUST. AM. LV. EE. BALT. PL CH. Lunasea My Game My Show, entered into Helen's life at 12 weeks old. Due to quarantine laws, however, Panda journeyed to the US before arriving in Australia at the age of 11 months old.
This marked the beginning of an extraordinary journey that would lead to consecutive victories at the prestigious Melbourne Royal All Breeds Championship Dog Show, earning the coveted "Best in Show" title for two consecutive years.
Panda's illustrious career kicked off in 2015, just three days out of quarantine, when she claimed the Reserve Bitch title out of a competitive pool of over 40. This auspicious start set the stage for an unparalleled Show career.
Helen proudly shares, "She's the record holder of Best in Shows for the bitches in the breed around the world, winning 68 all breeds Best in Show titles, both in Europe and locally."
Despite facing interruptions like the COVID-19 pandemic, Panda managed to maintain her leaderboard position. Holding the place of the number two show dog in the country in 2019 before an even more promising year in 2020, Panda later secured the number three spot when Show’s resumed.
In 2022, Panda clinched the prestigious Best In Show title at the Melbourne Royal Show, a remarkable achievement in its own right. What makes this accomplishment even more extraordinary is that she repeated this success again this year—an unprecedented back-to-back win of the Best In Show title, a feat unmatched by any other dog in the history of the competition.
“Winning a class at the Melbourne Royal Show has always been on my bucket list,” said Helen, “but to win the Best In Show prize - twice - was just unbelievable, especially since no other dog has ever won it consecutively.”
Helen's first encounter with a Samoyed dates back to 2007, starting with her first dog gifted to her by her father, who happens to be Panda's great grandfather. For the last four years Helen has consistently held the position of the number one Samoyed breeder in the country, showcasing her dedication and passion for the breed.
“I didn't even know about the breed until my dad brought one home in China. When we moved to Australia, I contacted a local breeder, got my first dog, and started showing,” she explained.
“It must be the Asian in me,” Helen joked, “but once I start doing something I just want to be the absolute best at it, so I give it my absolute everything.”
Key to her success, she says, was her involvement with a prestigious Show like that of the Melbourne Royal Show, that gave her an excellent benchmark early in her career.
“It’s just such a prestigious Show,” said Helen. “If you can get something at the Melbourne Royal Show it's a real testimony to what you have bred and what you have achieved.”
“It’s also pretty special to be able to receive feedback from some overseas, very well-known judges who can give you their opinion on what they think of your breeding program and what they think of the dogs that you are showing,” she said.
Panda, also winning the world title in Europe this year, was described as a "once in a lifetime dog.”
Not only will she leave an indelible mark in the show ring, but she has also contributed to the lineage's success by producing world winners.
Helen beams with pride, "It's not just her – her son was also crowned a world winner this year in Europe.”
Helen’s unfathomable success in the show ring is a testament to her passion, love for the breed, and competitive spirit, and she will no doubt leave a lasting legacy on the All Breeds Championship Dog Show at the Melbourne Royal Show for a long time to come.
Click here to view all of the results to the 2023 Melbourne Royal All Breeds Championships Show.