Now that I can turn my full attention back to dog shows, I started looking over my plans for next month’s AKC/Eukanuba National Championship. While looking for my application for a press pass, I ran across a comment from an exhibitor that I would like to share. “…it is just another show now…” Yeah, and Mozart was just another piano player.
I am a rabid advocate for freedom of choice and staunchly support the rights of exhibitors to make their own choices. If you want to spend your time showing at local shows, where you know more of your fellow fanciers and you can have a good time while picking up a few points, I fully support you. However, if you want to build a reputation as a serious breeder and exhibitor, you will have to go where the serious folks are. That means you need to show up at your breed’s national specialty, at Westminster and at the AENC. If you have a Terrier, add the Montgomery County Kennel Club show to that list.
The AENC is not just another show. No other show offers as much.
- Even as a by-invitation-only show, the AENC drew the largest entry of any conformation show in the US last year, nearly 4,000 dogs. This year’s version, which will have class entries, will make it a must-do for dogs who want to finish the year with a hefty point take.
- It draws the most knowledgeable gallery in all of the dog world. Now that’s a bold statement, but consider that it not only draws this country’s top breeders, handlers and judges, it also draws smart dog people from all over the globe.
- While Westminster may be the more prestigious event, exhibitors will have to deal with substandard hotels and schlepping their dogs and gear between venues. Orlando offers more modern, reasonably priced hotels, and all of the events under one roof in one of the country’s most modern and comfortable venues.
- And there are events for everyone. In addition to the regular Best in Show competition, there will be a Best Bred by Exhibitor in Show, the AKC Agility Invitational, the AKC National Obedience Invitational, the AKC National Juniors Obedience Competition, the Eukanuba Breeders Stakes Finals, the Eukanuba World Challenge and the AKC Meet the Breeds. The World Challenge with its Olympic-like opening ceremony is a thrilling moment in the dog game.
- Then there is the money. The $50,000 for Best in Show is the richest prize in dogdom. The $15,000 for the breeder of the BIS winner and for the Best Bred by Exhibitor will certainly pay for a few show weekends.
While I think the above makes a persuasive argument, I have to admit what keeps me going back is this: I have fun and I learn a lot. At my age, that’s worth a lot to me. Entries close today at 3:00 PM CST. And that’s today’s Back Story.