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Reconsidering the RBIS

GCH CH Bugaboo's Picture Perfect, Westminster Kennel Club's First RBIS

GCH CH Bugaboo’s Picture Perfect,
The Westminster Kennel Club’s First Reserve Best In Show

Last July AKC implemented the Reserve Best in Show (RBIS) award, giving exhibitors a chance to share the spotlight with the Best in Show. As we approach the first birthday of the RBIS, the issue of whether additional points should be awarded for the RBIS has resurfaced. Several times during the last two weeks, I have received a link to a petition that will be sent to the AKC Board requesting that the RBIS winner be awarded the same number of points that the BIS winner receives LESS the number of dogs competing in the BIS winner’s group. I have always thought that this was the logical way to award the points for the RBIS. I have written before about how the current systems penalize the Terriers who generally get 40 to 50 percent of the points that a Sporting Dog or Working Dog receives for a Group One win. I find it a travesty that a Terrier can win an RBIS and walk out of the ring with fewer points than the other six dogs.

There is one major reason that this has not been done. If you are going to award points, you have to set up a system to collect those points. Now this is something I know a bit about. The databases used today by our show superintendents and AKC are complex and expensive to maintain. At this time, no one wants to spend the money to update these databases to calculate the points.

Today it was pointed out to me that AKC is not going to rule on awarding points on the RBIS because it does not award points on any of the Group wins or BIS wins. While AKC awards a dizzying collection of titles, our much revered rankings are not official AKC titles. AKC does not designate a Number One Dog All Breeds or Number One Terrier or a Number One Cairn Terrier. AKC keeps the statistics which others use to award these titles.

Now that may be a great technical argument, much appreciated by Supreme Court clerks and public defenders, but it really doesn’t address the needs of the show-going public. AKC does sell reports with the registered names of dogs, sorted by the number of dogs defeated. (And they just increased the cost of those reports.) The statement, however, implies that anyone can maintain a list of dogs in any order they so desire and call it a Top Ten, Twenty, 100 or whatever. I have long recognized this, but like most of the others who report on our sport, I like to have the AKC numbers as a respected foundation for those lists.

I am already struggling to maintain the statistics I do keep, but given this challenge I assure you that as soon as I can, I will begin maintaining a list of dogs on my blog, Dog Show Poop that includes extra points for the RBIS. Now I wouldn’t be upset if one of you who actually derive an income from your sites decide to do something extra for your readers and beat me to the punch. But then I do my own database updates. 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.
  • Kerrie Kuper May 3, 2013 at 8:34 AM

    Thank you Billy. My Whippet, MBIS GCH Karasar’s Remembrence ( one of your dogs to watch ) has won MORE Reserve Best in Shows than ANY other Whippet in breed history and it seems like a shame that she has received NO points for consistently being up there in contention for Best in Show. I don’t understand why AKC hasn’t figured out a way to recognize any of the dogs winning RBIS.

  • Larkin Vonalt May 3, 2013 at 8:45 AM

    The question for me is more of a philosophical one. With the exception of some specialties, there are no points associated with RWD or RWB. (I know these are different sorts of points, but bear with me here.) It seems that the purpose in establishing a RBIS is so that there is a dog to step up if the BIS winner is disqualified. Surely that instance would be the time when points would be awarded? There is a significant difference between winning and being first runner up– that difference should entail more than seven points, I think.

    On the other hand, I would really appreciate it if the AKC could start awarding “dogs defeated” points to Best of Opposite Sex, because the current system is massively unfair to the distaff side.

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