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Learning a Lot in Louisville

Treeing Walker Coonhound

I just made it home from Louisville, KY, and I can’t help but think how much I learned during this trip. The Kentuckiana cluster is one of the best for seeing several representatives of one breed, including all ages from puppies to veterans.

One of the nicest advantages was the presence of a number of judges at ringside who had come to Louisville to learn more about breeds for which they were applying. I sat with one judge who had traveled to Kentucky to watch the Sporting Dogs, and I picked up several points on English Setters. I don’t get that perk at most shows.

With 22 breed specialties including three parent club-sponsored specialties, you get to meet breeders from all over the country, and it’s the longtime breeders who are our walking research libraries. I especially enjoyed my conversations with the Scottish Deerhound, Bedlington, Brussels Griffon, & Pug breeders. I also got the chance to talk with legendary Boxer man, Gary Steele, about one of my favorite subjects, breed type and gender. Gary’s daughter Kimberlie Steele-Gamero is currently showing the Number One Boxer, GCH CH R and G’s Mystical Dancer, the 18th BIS winner bred by the Steeles. I have written frequently about how I have enjoyed seeing, over these past few seasons, excellent specimens of both genders in the show ring. I especially appreciate it in the Working Group where we frequently see the more elegant bitches besting the boys in the breed ring.

I have to admit, somewhat sheepishly, that I now can tell the difference between an Icelandic Sheepdog & a Finnish Lapphund, and a Harrier & a Treeing Walker Coonhound.

I also had my powers of observation tested by a couple of the dogs being shown in the group by handlers other than the ones normally seen with the dogs. Here’s a note to all the handlers out there: find another place to put your comb other than over your armband number. The gallery wants to know the name of your dog.

If you haven’t attended one of the sport’s mega-shows, put one or more on your schedule. No matter how long you have been in the game, these shows are like going back to school. 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) March 20, 2012 at 12:42 PM

    Please mention to the clubs that while the floral arrangements, etc. are pretty, they block out what spectators, judges and the freelance photographers are there to see … I heard many people complaining about things from I can’t see the dogs move to I can’t see the dogs at all. I actually reported on my Facebook page that the Wire Fox Terrier won BIS on Saturday because I could not see that she had pointed at Armando and couldn’t see him either. I could see Gabriel Rangel and he looks pretty happy all the time after Best in Show :) … sign of a good sport!

    So kennel clubs, ring decorations are pretty but if you must have them, try not to block the vision of your spectators!

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