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Where Are the Non-Sporting and Herding Dogs?

GCH CH Grandgables The Frat Boy, AKC's Number One Herding Dog

GCH CH Grandgables The Frat Boy, AKC’s Number One Herding Dog

Through most of the year I focus on AKC’s Top Ten Dogs in all-breed competition. However, this sometimes leaves entire groups mostly unexplored. Our current Top Ten includes four Working Dogs, two Sporting Dogs, two Terriers, one Hound and one Toy Dog.

There is but one Non-Sporting Dog in our Top Twenty, the Standard Poodle, GCH CH Brighton Lakeridge Encore, who is only being shown on a limited basis this year. Through the end of March, there were but two more Non-Sporting Dogs in our Top 50, the Standard Poodle, GCH CH Jaset’s Satisfaction, and the Bichon Frise, GCH CH Saks Winning Card, coming in at Numbers 29 and 43, respectively.

One Herding Dog, the Shetland Sheepdog, GCH CH Grandgables The Frat Boy, barely makes our Top Twenty, coming in at Number Twenty, though he is closely followed by another Sheltie, GCH CH PaRay Preferential, at Number 21; the Cardigan Welsh Corgi, GCH CH Aubrey’s Tails of Mystery at 22; the Old English Sheepdog, GCH CH Bugaboo’s Picture Perfect at 26; and the Pembroke Welsh Corgi, GCH CH Coventry Allure at Wyndstar, at 27.

This odd distribution is a function of two factors. One, the race this year is very close. The Number 51 Dog, the Bearded Collie, GCH CH Spiritwood’s Gandalph the Blue, is but 4,000 points behind our Number Ten Dog, the Doberman Pinscher, GCH CH Protocol’s Veni Vidi Vici. When I finish loading last weekend’s numbers, I suspect we will find the Top Twenty looking very different that it did at the end of March.

The second factor is the reduced number of entries in the Non-Sporting and Herding Groups. While overall entries are down around 19 percent, entries in the Non-Sporting and Herding Groups are down over 30 percent. I’m not sure why these groups are lagging behind. Wherever I go, I still see enthusiastic galleries around the breed and group rings. Surely one would be pressed to find a more enthusiastic group of exhibitors than the Bulldog folks. Here’s one aside for the sourmug crowd. Could you possibly have a few shows with afternoon breed judging so the Non-Sporting Group’s most popular breed can be seen by the show-going public? Even die-hard early birds like me have difficulty making it to 8:00 AM ring calls. I appreciate the need to keep things cool for the bully crowd, but half the time the air-conditioning is much cooler at 10:00 AM than at 8:00.

Whatever the cause, I hope this is a temporary condition. Can a breed remain viable if it starts to fade from the show ring? I would be interested in hearing from you all why you think this is happening. 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.
  • Mary L. Yeakey April 13, 2013 at 1:13 PM

    I have been in standard poodles for over thirty years. What I see happening in this breed is that younger fanciers simply do not want to put in the work and time it takes to get this coated breed ready for the ring. To spend nearly 4 hours getting an entry prepared, and then to come in fifth in the ring simply doesn’t give most people enough gratification for the effort expended. They can be in and out of the “wash and wear” ring in an hour, tops–that might be worth their time and effort. Additionally, the move away from independent specialties toward concurrent or after hours specialties is not a “friendly” one for this breed. At one recent show weekend in Raleigh, NC., the entry in the all-breed for standards was twice the entry for the simultaneous concurrent specialty. Why did that happen? Additionally, since we belong to a breed which has both variety and breed winners in our specialties, and which spans two all-breed groups, the variety winners had to wait two hours for the all-breed groups to conclude before they could complete their specialty. Try to keep a poodle “soufle” from falling for two hours! And finally, since back-to-back specialties cannot be accommodated by these formats, finding volunteers to work two days instead of one, and well as having two days of site costs instead of one, will spell the death for breed specialty shows. AKC has much to think about.

    • chaundra
      Dan Sayers April 14, 2013 at 7:52 AM

      You’ve given all of us much to think about, Mary. Those “wash and wear” breeds are certainly less time consuming to show, but nothing equals the dedication demonstrated by Poodle exhibitors. They possess an extraordinary commitment to the breed, as you’ve noted, that is unparalleled in the dog sport.

      Best In Show Daily will be in Salisbury, Md., later this month to attend the Poodle Club of America’s National Specialty. We’ll be bringing our readers a collection of photos and results from this world-class show and we hope to see you there.

      All dog show devotees are encouraged to experience this remarkable event at least once in their lifetime. Doing so will very likely renew your passion for the sport of purebred dogs.

      • kayla
        kayla April 14, 2013 at 9:20 AM

        How do we encourage embracing the more complicated breeds, like poodles or the hand-stripped terriers? And, is it possible to influence show chairs to develop a greater sensitivity when scheduling the more demanding dogs, like poodles, when all all-breed and specialty shows are co-located?

  • William Clark December 18, 2014 at 6:31 PM

    Maybe its time for the complicated breeds to evolve to a more natural state and be less fluff n puff?

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