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My First ARBA Show

I recently attended my first American Rare Breed Association show. It was relatively close to my hometown, held in Spanish Fork, Utah, of all places. So how could I pass it up, right?

It sounded like a “must go” for anyone interested in learning about new breeds that could potentially be recognized by the AKC in the future, like the most surprising dog I met, the Swedish Danish Farm Dog.

A Swedish Danish Farm Dog

A few of the other interesting breeds that I got to watch – and chat with their owners about – were the Biewer Terrier, the Miniature Australian Shepherd, the Miniature American Shepherd and the Toy Australian Shepherd. Below are some photos of great examples of these interesting and new-to-me breeds.Honestly, going into it I may have set my expectation meter a bit too high. Or maybe you could say I have been spoiled by the extraordinary events held by the AKC. Either way, going to the ARBA show was a good experience, just not quite what I expected. I would have liked to see a larger entry and a little more organization. But on the other hand, the regular exhibitors seemed to really enjoy themselves. So that was great to see!

A Biewer Terrier.

A Miniature Australian Shepherd.

Over the course of the day, I was also able to speak with two current AKC judges who were judging at the ARBA show. They gave me their take on why they judge these different events and what they gain from the experience.

Brad and Karen Child of Riverton, Utah, have been immersed in the dog show world for 24 years. They have exhibited Giant and Miniature Schnauzers and West Highland White Terriers.

“The ARBA show experience affords judges the privilege of seeing some of the up-and-coming rare breeds that are gaining in popularity,” Brad says. “Yes, finding these pockets of fanciers can be hit and miss, depending on where the show is held. Our experience allowed us to evaluate the Biewer Terrier, the Miniature Australian Shepherd, the Miniature American Shepherd and the Toy Australian Shepherd.

“Through ARBA, these breeds have found a niche where they can gain experience and competition before the AKC opportunity becomes available. Any system that affords these fanciers a chance to participate in the dog show experience creates more potential fanciers for the long haul.”

Thank you to Brad and Karen, for their dedication to our sport and for sharing their thoughts on this unique show experience.

OK, one more cute photo to leave you with…

A Toy Australian Shepherd puppy.

See, I told you, Dogs Freakin’ Rule!

Written by

Kayla Bertagnolli is a 23-year-old from Ogden, UT, who's been involved in the dog show world her whole life. A former junior handler who learned about breeding Beagles from her mother Leah, she assisted several professional handlers and is currently working to become a Junior Showmanship judge. Kayla is passionate about photography and writes the twice-weekly blog, DFR. She plans to continue breeding and showing, and expects to stay involved in dogs "for life!"
  • ljmilder
    Linda Milder July 19, 2012 at 6:42 PM

    I have judged a couple of the ARBA shows and they are fascinating. I love talking to the breeders and learning about a variety of dogs that I may have never seen before. Usually the breeders are well informed and anxious to share the good and the bad about their particular breed. I have met some very devoted breeders who work very hard to make sure that their breed survives.

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