My name is Kirsi Nieminen. I have judged more than 20 years. The first breed I got cc-rights was Flat-Coated Retriever, and soon after that I got cc-rights for Golden Retrievers, as well. Nowadays I’ll judge all retriever breeds, many spaniels, Lagotto Romagnolos, many hounds, dalmatians and also some terriers.


In our family we have always had dogs. My father, like also my grandfather,  were interested in hunting, so we always had Finnish Hounds and Spitzes. At the age of 14 I wanted to have a dog of my own, a Golden Retriever. I followed the shows already at that time and knew exactly where I wanted to get my puppy, but the plans did not succeed so I finally decided for a Flat-Coated Retriever. My first Norfolk Terriers I got in the beginning of 90’s and Cairn Terriers I got 9 years ago.


At the very early age I became involved with club activities. I have been working for  Finnish Retriever Club, Finnish Flat-Coated Retriever Club, Finnish Norwich and Norfolk Terrier Club, The Finnish Exterior Judges Club and the show and exterior section of the Finnish Kennel Club, as well as the Finnish Hound Club. 


I breed with my father under affix Heilurihännän (wagging tail’s). We have bred more 100 Finnish Champions, 40 International Champions and 2 Field trial Champions. The Finnish Kennel Club has awarded us Vuolasvirta prize for breeding Flat-Coats and Norfolk Terriers successfully.


At the moment  I have at home Flat-Coated Retrievers, Golden Retriever, Cairn Terriers and  Norfolk Terriers. 


Previously I have judged Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Italy, Austria, Germany, Poland, England, France, Estonia, Lithuania, Russia, Ireland, The Netherlands, Belgium, Portugal, Czech Republic and Australia.


I’m really looking forward to my judging appointment in Canada!

Kirsi Nieminen  Finland (Heilurihännän Kennels)

Conformation Judge

Lori Mihm-Kunz  Fairbanks Alaska, USA (Artic Sun Flat-Coated Retrievers)

Sweepstakes Judge

Lionel Whittaker  Edmonton, AB

Obedience and Rally Judge

I have been involved in the sport of competitive obedience for the past 20 years.  During that time I have been fortunate enough to train and trial four exceptional Labrador Retrievers.

I actively campaigned for three years with two dogs (MOTCH Denmoney Black Eyed Kate SH WCX in 2004 and MOTCH Denmoney Abby of Carnmoney JH WCI in 2005 and 2006).  Kate (who retired from competition in 2004) finished that year ranked # 1 Obedience Labrador, #4 Sporting breed and #6 all-breed Obedience dog in Canada.  Abby was ranked #2 Obedience Labrador in Canada in 2004 and #1 Obedience Labrador in 2005 and 2006. 

My current Labrador, Alvercreek Grace Dieu of Bedgebrook, JH CD RE, is my “work in progress”.


While the majority of my ring experience has been in the regular classes I have trained and handled my dogs in both the brace and team classes.

In addition to Obedience and Rally Obedience I am also licensed to judge all levels of Hunt Tests and Working Certificate Tests and am a member of both the Obedience and Working Certificate Councils and the Appeal Committee.

Firstly, a big thank you to FCRSC for inviting me to judge. As with many dog people, I did not grow up in a family who showed dogs. We had a housedog and we had hunting beagles that lived outside in Wisconsin. After graduating high school in Sheboygan, Wl, I knew everything about life so I moved with 3 harvest gold suitcases (grad gift) to Fairbanks, AK. Alaska has been my home for over 40 years. I have raised 2 children and have been consumed by dogs!


My first purebred dog was a Great Pyrenees but not long after owning one, I realized it wasn't the right dog for my lifestyle. Living with a hunter who needed a dog to hunt with, surprise, a golden retriever puppy threw me into the dog world. I was one of the first people in Alaska to earn a new AKC title Tracking dog in 1981. The conformation bug grabbed me and I proceeded to buy a show prospect. As most of us learn as novices', she was not a show dog but did earn AM CAN UD including a HIT.


A friend Mary Phelps had a beautiful male Flat-coat named CH Katoc's the Crowd's Choice "Jack". Although he was black and I am not a fan of black dogs, I got a female puppy "Spinner" out of CH Whazthat Chocolate Mousse X CH Katoc Sundance. The litter was extremely successful, producing CH Spring Valley Kodiak, CH Katoc Black Walnut Argus to name a couple. Spinner aka AM CAN SKC CH Katoc's Artic Sun Double Scoop AM CAN CD went on to earn her first JAM in 1990, a BOS in 1995, and another JAM from the veteran's class. What a dream!! Spinner produced many fine dogs like CH Artic Sun's Wingover Chat MH*** CDX HOF, CH Artic Sun's Northern Exposure UD (HIT Multi), CH Artic Sun's Talk of the Town. Her legacy continues through my breeding program. I do not breed often but have been successful producing talented and pretty dogs! A wonderful co-breeding with Deb Brown has produced my current special GCHS Artic Sun's Hot Pursuit 'Bosch" and Deb's boy GCH Artie Sun's Pursuing the dream JH.

As with many breeders and handlers, the next step is pursuing judging. I had the pleasure of judging sweeps at the FCRSA National Specialty in CA and have judged smaller venues as well. Through my years in dogs I have been a professional handler for over 30 years and run a small boarding kennel and grooming shop in my home I also share my home with 5 standard Long-hair Dachshunds which I blame my oldest who nagged us for years to get a dachshund.

During the school year I am fortunate to be an Elementary School Secretary and when summer comes around in the land of the midnight sun, I garden with Dahlia's being my passion. Looking forward to judging FCR's in the beautiful city of Edmonton this coming summer!