Next week I am heading to Houston for the Reliant Series of Dog Shows, a week of specialties, limited-breed shows, and three all-breed shows that are among the largest we will see all year. The Houston shows cap a three-week tour through Texas that started two weeks ago in Dallas and is currently in San Antonio. The three all-breed shows in Dallas came in with over 5,800 entries. There are more than 4,600 in San Antonio. However, the Houston all-breed shows alone will draw nearly 7,000 dogs.


I took a look at how the Houston numbers break down, and I found some interesting things. First, there is a remarkably even distribution of the entries. As expected, Sporting Dogs lead the entry with 18 percent, about what we see at other large shows in the US. The Working Dogs are a little less than normal with 16 percent. However, Terriers come in at 15 percent, almost twice their normal strength. The Toy entry is smaller than I would anticipate at 14 percent. The Herding Group comes in at 13 percent, which is about the national average this year. Much lower than what I would have expected are the Hounds and the Non-Sporting Dogs which have only 12 percent of the entry.

Within the Groups, there are some dramatic differences. The one that surprised me was the Cairn Terrier entry. At a cluster that features two all-Terrier limited-breed shows as well as three all breed opportunities for points, there is but one Cairn entry at each of the all breed shows. To put that into perspective, the Cairn Terrier is the fifth most popular Terrier in the AKC registry and was among the largest of the entries at last year’s Terrier Superbowl, the Montgomery County Kennel Club show. Other unusually low entries were Labrador Retrievers with just 26 and Pekingese with just one entry each day. On the other hand, there will be nine Boykin and 11 Clumber Spaniels, 25 Borzoi, and 28 Italian Greyhounds.

The numbers are interesting, but I expect that who shows up will be even more interesting. I look for several of our Top Ten to take advantage of the potential big point payoff. If you can make it to Reliant Park next weekend, you are sure to see some of the best AKC has to offer. And that’s today’s Back Story.