One of the real joys of writing my Dog Show Poop blog and this column here on Best In Show Daily is the opportunity to see the young dogs coming up in the show ring. I love it when I stumble across one of the offspring of a dog I had followed in previous seasons. Breeders spend entire lifetimes trying to produce that one perfect show specimen for their programs. The lucky ones that achieve that goal are then faced with the conundrum of a delicate balancing act between the show ring and the whelping box. Just how much time does one put into the show ring before bringing a dog back home to a breeding program? It is not an easy question, and there are no standard answers.
When I first started showing in the 1970s, it was rare to see dogs out being campaigned for multiple seasons. While we all remember those top dogs that had back2back group wins at the Garden, those were generally dogs that were out 15-18 months, not two to three years. There were also many fewer shows. It took some effort to get in 100 shows. Today many top dogs log 150 or more shows a year, for two or more seasons. Obviously there are different approaches for dogs versus bitches. Dogs have the biological advantage of having longer breeding lives and improved technology in the use of frozen sperm. However, three-year-long campaigns of 150 shows per annum still present logistical issues that infringe on the breeding program, any way you slice it or dice it. It’s easier to manage if you keep the dog home and stress free rather than trying to fit in collections between shows.
Nonetheless, there are several examples of Top Ten Dogs that are already producing top-winning offspring. The 2011 Dogs In Review Herding Dog of the Year, the Bearded Collie, GCH CH Tolkien Raintree Mister Baggins, has two BIS-winning offspring competing this year, the bitch, GCH CH Dunhill Celebration, and the dog, GCH CH Spirit Woods Gandalph the Blue. Roy was bred by Larry & Angela Stein, Lesley Woodcock & Robert Lamm.
The German Wirehaired Pointer, GCH CH Ripsnorter’s Mt View Lookout, was one of our Top Ten Dogs All Breeds in both 2009 and 2010. His son, GCH CH Reece The Buck Stops Here JH, had 17 BIS last year. His daughter, GCH CH Heywire’N Highfield’s Hey Look Me Over, picked up her first all-breed best just last month. Scout was bred by Helen Witt, Claire Wisch & Kelly Wish.
It is possible to have a bitch in the Top Ten Dogs All Breeds producing top-winning offspring. 2010’s Number One Non-Sporting Dog, GCH CH Dawin Spitfire, has a BIS-winning daughter in the show ring, GCH CH Dawin Hearts on Fire. Daughter Flame had five BIS last year and already logged two this year. Mother, Jetta, was bred by Lynda Campbell.
The bottom line is that it is possible to balance show career and parenthood. However, it’s just as hard in the dog show world as it is in our human world. And that’s today’s Back Story.