Judge's Perspective

The Best of the Best: With an abundance of shows and the ability to travel, how do exhibitors decide where to compete?


There was a time when dogs were campaigned in and around the area of the country where their handler or owner lived. A judge flying in to a show would be able to make a fairly educated guess as to which handlers and dogs he might see there.

Back then, the nation’s top-winning dogs seldom met except at the breed National Specialty, the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York, the Kennel Club of Beverly Hills and the once-mighty Santa Barbara Kennel Club in California. If a terrier needed to be taken seriously in dogdom, it competed against the top terriers at the Montgomery County Kennel Club in Pennsylvania in early October.

Big names start traveling far
About 20 or so years ago, exhibitors’ habits began to change. The morning buzz on the opening day of the show might be something along the lines of, “Did you hear John is here with Sadie?” The assumption was that everyone knew John and Sadie. Other exhibitors would then look to see who the judges were and what other factors convinced John to spend a lot of money to fly in with Sadie for a possible Best-in-Show win.

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