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What Did That Title Cost?

You Never Know Who is in the Gallery at a Dog Show

You Never Know Who Is in the Gallery at a Dog Show

I review a lot of online catalogs while preparing reports for my blog, Dog Show Poop. Although I report on only the Best In Show, Reserve Best In Show and Group winners, I do look at all the Group placements and many of the breed placements. While looking at catalogs recently, I saw two interesting sets of entries. They were breeds where all the entries were made by the same breeder/owner.

Now that’s always a red flag for me. There are some circumstances of multiple entries by the same owner I can endorse. In our less popular breeds this is sometimes unavoidable. It’s never an issue when there are entries from other owners to provide competition to the owner with multiple entries. One set of the above referenced entries were all from the same litter. I, myself, have entered an entire litter of puppies under a breeder-judge to get some help in deciding who to keep. I know lots of people who come together to try to build a major when there is a chance for more than one dog to win the points. Occasionally you will find someone who will enter a puppy so a friend can finish a more mature dog. Generous, but still a questionable sentiment.

What I really object to is the packing of an entry and then artificially manipulating the outcome. I choose to believe that an outcome is never prearranged. I don’t bet on dog shows, and I don’t pretend to know the mind of any judge. What I find objectionable is to sit at ringside and see only one dog out of five or more presented in an acceptable fashion. I have witnessed owners bring dogs of their own breeding into the ring dirty and ungroomed, and then present them in a purposefully clumsy way. This always astonishes me. Sure, the owner may get the points he/she needs to finish a dog, but at what price? When I first started showing, I was counseled that I should budget $100 for every championship point I put on my dog. Adjusted for inflation, that’s a pretty substantial sum today. These days, entering five or more dogs at a cluster could easily cost more than $600. But then I wasn’t really talking about a cost in tangible dollars.

Let’s assume for a moment that a breeder has managed to have some successes over the past few years and has started to get noticed by fellow breeders, exhibitors and the judges. Let’s assume that they have started to find a market for their puppies. Then one weekend that breeder goes to a show where they have good reason to believe they will be the only of their breed in attendance, hoping to get that last point on a dog that perhaps should have never been in a show ring anyway. They groom the hopeful as best they can to accentuate his good points, and then they take their other entries into the ring in an obviously less than competitive state. Let’s assume that at ringside you have a couple of your fellow breeders, maybe a member of one of the clubs you belong to, maybe a judge who has an upcoming assignment in your breed, a family looking for a puppy, a photographer, or even a dog writer. What has that title cost you now?

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.
  • Dave Michaels July 5, 2013 at 8:01 AM

    Whatever happened to the concept of sharing(showing) your best as breeding stock ?????? Exhibiting a single special and perhaps even a promising youngster. Not any more…stack the entry at any cost to garner the # 1 spot . As the old R and B song goes….”the thrill is gone”.

  • Ward Young September 29, 2013 at 1:21 PM

    At recent Midwest show, a larger than usual entry for less popular hound breed. Several of us ringside were astonished – seriously dirty dogs and clearly less quality. Seemingly all bred by or related to one kennel. So disappointing in a breed known for elegant beauty.

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