The AKC/Eukanuba Show

An International National Championship


No question about it: we now have an important new dog show on our hands in America. The 2007 version of the annual AKC/Eukanuba National Championship, held Dec. 1-2, 2007 — the seventh since the first one in 2001 and once again held in Long Beach, Calif. — marks a huge step forward in AKC’s stated goal to create an event that’s really world class. What used to be mostly good intentions and overblown hype has matured into a dog show that lives up to high expectations, one that shows every promise of developing its own profile and standing on its own feet.

This really hit home sometime on Sunday afternoon, probably around the time that participants in a new feature called the World Challenge were gathering around the ring. There were tons of people watching and a festive air, flags of many nations were unfurled and both people and dogs from all over the world seemed to enjoy the proceedings. It didn’t feel like Westminster — nothing else will ever feel like Westminster! — but it seemed like the beginning of something new, something exciting and worthwhile, not just a media event but a show that, if it continues to develop along these lines, will be something that dog people in both America and abroad can look forward to.

I know I was not alone in this feeling. Everyone I talked to seemed enthusiastic. One “grassroots” person who is deeply involved in her breed but not terribly aware of what goes on outside it — and is usually even less impressed by it — put it like this: “I was kinda impressed by the spectacle this show has become. I had no idea they are trying to make this event so big. Do they have their sights on giving Westminster a run for their money as ‘the’ show?”

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