It’s well known that I love my numbers. Charts and graphs are my security blanket. Like a child hiding under the covers from the boogeyman, a couple of spreadsheets provide me with the illusion that I really know what’s going on in my beloved dog game.

top twenty chart

While behind in my show reports, I am up-to-date on my numbers and I will share with you just how crazy it is out there right now. Before we begin, let me remind you that I do this for my amusement and that of my readers. The below numbers are based in part on a mathematical model of my own design. My model has been accurate within 0.5 percent over these past five years. Nonetheless, some of these numbers are estimates. Considering how close the race is in parts of the rankings, this could make a difference. Now that the lawyers are happy, here’s where we are through Tuesday.

top twenty list

At the midyear point, our Top Three Dogs All Breeds are starting to settle in. The Number One Dog, the Wire Fox Terrier, GCH CH AfterAll Painting the Sky, maintains a commanding lead of over 11,000 points on the field. However, the Number Two Dog, the Portuguese Water Dog, GCH CH Claircreek Impression de Matisse, has been coming in strong lately with three BIS already this week. Also posting multiple BIS in the past two weeks is the Number Three Dog, the Miniature Pinscher, GCH CH Marlex Classic Red Glare, who is almost 3,500 points behind Matisse.

Sitting in fourth place, some 11,000 points behind is last year’s Number One Dog, the German Wirehaired Pointer, GCH CH Mt View’s Ripsnorter Silver Charm. Oakley has maintained a more leisurely pace than the other top dogs as he heads for the major milestone of 100 BIS. Coming in at Number Five is Oakley’s kennel mate, the Giant Schnauzer, GCH CH Kenro’s Witching Hour. Dora has risen like a rocket through the rankings in the last two months. She trails Oakley by a mere 3,000 points. Also having a lot of success this summer is the Number Six Dog, the Clumber Spaniel, GCH CH Clussexx Collaboration with Traddles. Seymour is but 2,000 points behind Dora.

The rest of our Top Twenty are separated by the equivalent of a couple of good group placements. Look no further than the Number 20 Dog, the Boxer, GCH CH Winfall I Dream of Style, for evidence of how tight this race is. I have Macey trailing the Number 19 Dog, the Cardigan Welsh Corgi, GCH CH Aubrey’s Tails of Mystery, by the razor-thin margin of seven points.

Another way of looking at this is at the group level. The Sporting, Working, Toy, Terrier and Non-Sporting Groups have clear leaders. The Hound Group is very much in contention. The Harrier, GCH CH Downhome Hitech Innovator, trails the group leader, the American Foxhound, GCH CH Kiarry’s Pandora’s Box, by a little more than 2,500 points. Both the Bloodhound, GCH CH Quiet Creek’s Kiss and Tell, and the Afghan Hound, GCH CH Tells Matrix Reloaded, have been climbing the rankings and are now sitting in the 17th and 18th spots. The Herding Group Top Twenty residents are the Old English Sheepdog, GCH CH Bugaboo’s Picture Perfect, who is our Number 11 Dog, and the aforementioned Corgi, Libby, who is our Number 19 Dog.

The wild card in this year’s race is the size of the entries. We continue to see exceedingly small numbers in many of our northern shows, from New England through the Great Lakes region. The distribution gives dogs in the southern and western regions a distinct advantage. We’ve recorded a number of 300-point BIS lately. You need a lot of those to make a difference in the rankings.

Check back with me here on Monday, and I’ll tell you who the big winners were this weekend. And that’s today’s Back Story.