Dog Training - Attending A Dog Show
Urgent Press Release For Dog Owners:
If you've never been to a dog show, you're in for an exciting, and perhaps, confusing time. At an All-Breed Show (where every breed accepted in a registry is allowed to show), you'll find a huge variety of breeds, and even varieties within a breed.
For instance, in the Cocker Spaniels, they have Any Solid Color Other Than Black (ASCOB) which includes the well known "blond" variety, the Black Cocker, and the Parti-colored. The Black Cockers can have some tan on them, but must be less than 10% of the total coloring. The Parti-Colored are the ones with white and another color in splotches or spots. Each variety is shown, then, the Best of Variety goes into the Group Ring, just as a Best of Breed would.
The Collies, too, come in varieties. There is the Rough, which reminds you of Lassie, and the Smooth. The Smooth is build like the Rough, but with substantially less coat. It can be rather amazing to see what lies beneath all that beautiful coat.
Chihuahuas are long- and short-coated, the Welsh Corgi comes with (Cardigan) and without (Pembroke) a tail, the German Shorthair Pointers come in smooth and wire-coats, and there doesn't appear to be a lot of difference between the Curly-coated and the Flat-Coated Retrievers (except the coat, of course), although they are shown as different breeds.
Chinese Crested dogs come in the standard variety with almost no coat and in the "powder-puff" variety with a total coat. Beagles come in two sizes--13" and 15" and Daschunds come in three coat varieties, as well as Standard and Miniature sizes.
Underneath all these variations, though, there are basic characteristics that each breed must adhere to. These are called the "Breed Standard." Most Breed Standards will describe the "ideal" dog and any disqualifications that would keep a particular dog from being shown, such as too much white on the Cockers (except the parti-coloreds).
Once you find the breed(s) you want to observe in the ring, you'll find that all breeds show the dogs (males) first. From 6-9 Month puppies up to the Open dogs. The winner of each of those classes will come back into the ring for Winner's Dog. Then, the bitches (females) are shown the same way and go for Winner's Bitch. Next, you'll see the Best of Breed competition which the Winner's Dog and Bitch will be entered in. Other than those two, all the entries in Best of Breed are Champions. From these, the judge selects the dog or bitch that best exempflies the Breed and a Best of Opposite Sex. If neither of those is the Winner's Dog or Bitch, one of those will be selected as Best of Winners.
The way a dog or bitch becomes a champion in the AKC is to garner "points" from wins. Fifteen points are required for a championship with two "majors" needed. A major is when a set number of animals are entered in a competition. The numbers vary from area to area so it is difficult to tell you the exact numbers required. You can find that information on the AKC website (www.akc.org). Points are awarded according to the number of entries "defeated" in the classes.
Once all the Best of Breeds have been determined, it's time to go to the Group Ring. Here, the Best of Breed for each type of dog in a specific Group (i.e., Sporting, Non-Sporting, Hounds, Herding, Terriers, Toys, and Working) will be judged. They will be placed 1-4 and the number one winner will go on to the Best In Show competition.
In the Best In Show ring, there will be only seven entries. These are considered the cream of the crop for that show and only one will be selected out of them. Winning Best In Show is a huge honor and competition can be fierce throughout the climb to that exalted pinnacle.
If it all sounds a bit confusing, well, yes, it can be for the neophyte. If you attend several shows, though, it slowly becomes more clear and the fun part is, you can pick your own choices and see how you did compared to how the judges place the entries.
As you get to know the ins and outs of showing and familiarize yourself with Breed Standards for any breed you're interested in, attending dog shows will become even more fun and you'll get caught up in the air of excitement and competition there.
If you wish to learn more about a breed, it is best to talk to the competitors after they show and, please, always ask to pet a dog before you do. For some of the breeds, there is a lot of work that goes into grooming for the show, and they will not thank you for messing that up.
Go, watch and enjoy a few dog shows. It's a great way to spend a day.