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A Fairer Ranking System

Traditional Top Ten Dogs All Breeds

For the past three years, Dog Show Poop has maintained its own ranking system. I wanted to recognize some of those dogs owned by the average dog show exhibitor, the exhibitor who doesn’t have a trust fund, the exhibitor who has a regular job and can’t make it to 150 shows a year, the exhibitor who doesn’t have access to a corporate jet to show in four cities in four days. Bottom line, I think if you give the average exhibitor some recognition, we might encourage more people to enter an AKC dog show. Here’s my attempt at a ranking system that tries to correct some of the inequities inherent in the current system.

1. I started by only counting all breed, but quickly added limited breed shows. Up to now I have not counted specialty shows, but I am considering giving a National Specialty the same status as a BIS.

2. I only count a dog’s 75 highest scoring shows. We have thought for some time that dragging a dog to 150 shows a year is detrimental to the dog and the sport. The Cat Fanciers Association (CFA) instituted a similar concept years ago, limiting rankings to the top 100 rings. There are typically eight rings per weekend available to CFA exhibitors. That works out to be 13 weekends a year, plus a few more outings to replace lower scoring shows.

3. Most radically, I score each group win equal to the win in the other groups. Said another way, a Group One in the Working Group counts the same as the Group One in the Herding Group at the same show. The traditional rankings count all the dogs that competed in the breeds that day. Therefore, a dog, unopposed in a breed, can go forward to the group and get credit for defeating dogs he/she never faced. To illustrate the inequity, consider this; the average Sporting Group winner gets 21 percent of the points at a show, while the average Terrier Group Winner gets 8 percent, even though they both will face a potential 27 opponents at the Group level. Group Two gets three points; Group Three, two; and Group Four, one. BIS will get the sum of the group wins, 28 points (seven Groups at four points each) because a Best in Show is really, really special.

4. I do give extra points for big shows. Shows up to 1,000 dogs score as outlined above. One additional point is added to each win for every additional 250 dogs showing, i.e., BIS at a show with 1,000 dogs is worth 28; 1,250 is worth 35; 1,500, 42; etc. While I am an advocate of the smaller shows for their leisurely pace and friendly atmosphere, I don’t think any of us believe that a 300-dog entry should count the same as a 3,000-dog entry. That being said, it’s safe to say that most exhibitors would rather win BIS at Westminster than at the larger Palm Springs or Louisville shows.

Another change I would like to borrow from the CFA is the concept of regional winners. Competitors are separated into seven separate regions based on the residence of the primary owner. The regional awards offer an opportunity for those without the resources to travel extensively an opportunity for recognition. However, at this time the record keeping is beyond my poor capabilities. Let us know what you think would make the system fairer. And that’s today’s Back story.

Written by

Billy Wheeler has been attending dog shows as a spectator and exhibitor for over 40 years. Billy is the man behind the popular Dog Show Poop. He is a retired management consultant who has advised multiple organizations affiliated with the AKC and the Cat Fanciers Association on business management, long range planning, customer service, and legislative matters. After 25 years of living in the big cities of New York, San Francisco, and Washington, DC, he now resides in his hometown of Memphis TN with his wife, Brenda, her Toy Poodle and his Cairn, Scottie, & IG. When he is not blogging, Billy can be found in the kitchen cooking, and listening to opera.
  • Lynda Beam (Canine Candids by Lynda) February 21, 2012 at 12:39 PM

    Sounds good, I remember MTL Downing suggested something similar way back when. It is tough when you’re competing and have a real job. The most shows I’ve ever made in a year was about 85 and that was a lot!

  • Nancy Strohmaier February 21, 2012 at 3:24 PM

    Sounds a lot more equitable. Now the challenge – getting AKC to adopt something along these lines. Shall we start a petition?

  • Travis Wright
    Travis Wright February 21, 2012 at 9:11 PM

    This is fantastic! Your system values quality and quantity, attempts to level the playing field a bit across groups and breeds, allows the committed, but “regular” hobbyist to aspire to an achievable level of success. LIke the idea of regional rankings as well!!! Billy Wheeler for President!!!

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