I have barely wrapped this dog show year and I am already looking forward to the new year and the January shows that will set the pace for 2012. There are three venues in that critical first month of the year that provide dogs the opportunity to build an early lead.

The dog show year begins in the storied winter playground of Palm Springs CA where there will be four days with two giant all breed shows preceded by very large limited breed events. The Kennel Club of Palm Springs two outings have been among the largest AKC shows for many years. Coupled with the limited breed Inland Empire Hound Club Of Southern California,, the Desert Empire Terrier Club Of Southern California, Toy Dog Breeders Association Of Southern California, & the Sand To Sea Non-Sporting Association Of Southern California, a dog could start the year with a 5000 point lead on the field.

This year the Standard Poodle, GCH CH Brighton Lakeridge Encore, & the Affenpinscher, GCH CH Banana Joe V Tani Kazari split the prize to take the early lead in the Top Ten race. They ended the year as the Number Four & Number Five Dogs All Breeds respectively.  (Photo by Vicki Holloway)

An even bigger prize is available later in the month when those hoping to be among the top dogs in the US head to the Pacific Northwest for the four all breed shows hosted by the Tualatin Kennel Club & the Dog Fanciers Association Of Oregon. Once again the ante will be raised by limited breed shows courtesy of the Mount Rainier Working Dog Club & the Terrier Association Of Oregon. The take will could be as high as 10,000 points for one lucky dog. This year’s Number Eight Dog All Breeds, the Pharaoh Hound, GCH CH Northgate’s As You Like It, grabbed just one of the four BIS, joined the Top Ten and never left it all year. (Photo by Infocusbymiguel)

Finally if you prefer to spread your bets around, there is the Florida Marathon, ten all breed shows shoe horned into just eleven days in Brooksville FL. With almost 16,000 points available, a dog only has to get lucky half the time to join the early Top Ten. Among those that did in 2011 were the Number One Dog, the Black Cocker Spaniel, GCH CH Casablanca’s Thrilling Seduction, the Number Three Dog, the Boxer, GCH CH Winfall Brookwood Styled Dream, and the Number Ten Dog, the Bichon Fise, GCH CH Saks Hamelot Little Drummer Boy. (Photo by Jeffrey Hanlin)

That’s six of 2011’s Top Ten Dogs All Breeds that secured their places in the record books during January this year. I hope you’ve got your next star already entered.   I will be taking off for the holidays, but will be back with you New Year’s Eve to give your the Back Story on the Palm Springs weekend.