Success in Show Dogs

Can an unknown dog ever score a big win?

By | Posted: Thu Dec 2 00:00:00 PST 2004

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The statement that I found particularly interesting in Parsons' write-up was, "Could he (King) possibly make an immediate mark as he did in Britain? It's hard over there where a dog often has to serve an apprenticeship before the judges will allow it to take the top wins of the all-breed shows." King did conquer America, but that is not the point here. (As reported earlier in Dogs in Review, King was BOW at the Poodle Club of America specialty in June this year, then went on to win Best in Show at all-breed shows the next three days. - Ed.)

Were we only able to dismiss Parsons' statement regarding judges as his opinion alone! But looking at what occurs weekend after weekend, and particularly at the close of each year, sadly proves his point. It's not about dog judging, it's about shoring up win records.

At last year's Westminster I stood and talked to a small group of friendspeople who I consider to be among the more knowledgeable in today's dog game. The question arose as to what judge we would take a truly outstanding but totally unknown young dog to and expect to conceivably go all the way to the top, or at least as far as was deserving. The short li st was just thatshort!

Thus far I've spoken only of the situation where preference is given dogs with major accomplishments. Our box is far more exclusive, I'm afraid. There are "preferred" breeds as well. There are probably a half-dozen breeds in each of the variety groups that will be given placements simply because they are those breeds, while dogs of other breeds, often dogs of great quality, will seldom get more than a cursory look.

When a dog of one of the overlooked breeds finally does break through and begins to amass a noteworthy (and well-publicized) record, suddenly the breed emerges. They all get good. Just then? Please!

Who's to Blame?
Is there a reason for all this? Some tell me it's because of advertising and/or the statistics that are so highly sought after. I'm afraid that just doesn't stand up to examination. What is being said is that because of advertising or the statistics pursuit the judge is forced to judge within the box. That is only true if popularity is the end goal. There is only one person that stands in the middle of the ring and points. Guess who? I pity those who live their lives doing what the media tells them to do!

I do think that the hue and cry of aspiring masses of judges who have demanded "equality" for one and all in the judges application process has had a negative effect on the quality of judging. The check mark approach to being granted breedschecking off a predetermined list of activities an aspiring judge must completetells little of what the aspirant really knows about dogs. In fact, it stands as deterrent to those who are serious about this pursuit and as a "go ahead" for those who simply want more breeds.

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