As I compile this week’s numbers, I had what we call in the military, a BGO (Blinding Glimpse of the Obvious). Apart from our top two dogs, there are only a few opportunities left this year for our top dogs to improve their current position in the standings.

Our top two, the Number One Dog All Breeds, the German Wirehaired Pointer, GCH CH Mt View’s Ripnsorter Silver Charm, and the Number Two Dog, the English Springer Spaniel, GCH CH Wynmoor Champagne Supernova, exchanged the lead over the weekend with the Springer, Peyton, going ahead for a day before the GWP, Oakley, regained the lead, finishing the week with four consecutive BIS. They remain so close together that a single show can make the difference.

While many would disagree with me, I am not sure that there is much difference in prestige between being the Number Four or Number Five Dog. I mean, you are one of the Top Five, right? I do think it matters if a dog finishes in the Top Ten. Almost every competition keeps a Top Ten list, whether it’s the top ten films or the ten Miss Universe finalists. Just ask the American Foxhound, GCH CH Kiarry’s Pandora’s Box, who just edged past 2011’s Number One Dog, the Black Cocker Spaniel, GCH CH Casablanca’s Thrilling Seduction, to get that Number Ten berth. Because the Cocker, Beckham, is only being shown infrequently now, and the Number Twelve Dog, the English Setter, GCH CH Oakley’s B’Dazzled, trails her by more than 6,000 points, the Foxhound, Jewel, is likely to hold that position through the end of the year.

What does matter to most competitors is being the Number One Dog in one’s respective group. As noted, the Sporting Group lead is very much in play. The Hound, Working, Terrier, Non-Sporting and Herding Groups are pretty much decided with the leaders having at least a 7,000 point lead over their respective runners-up. The one Group still in play is the Toy Group. The Affenpinscher, GCH CH Banana Joe V Tani Kazari, and the Miniature Pinscher, GCH CH Marlex Classic Red Glare, are the nation’s Number Five and Six Dogs All Breeds, separated by about 3,000 points.

So is there time enough to collect the needed points? The first opportunity will come this month in Pleasanton CA when the Skyline Dog Fanciers Of San Mateo County and the Del Valle Dog Club Of Livermore team for four shows worth nearly 7,000 points. However, the East Coast-based Affenpinscher and MinPin would have to battle several worthy West Coast dogs to collect a big share of those points.

The five shows hosted by the Northeastern Indiana Kennel Club, the La Porte County Kennel Club, the Sturgis Kennel Club and the Marion Kennel Club will draw 6,000 or more dogs to Fort Wayne IN the first week of November. Week three, the MinPin, Classie, can take advantage of the Seminole Dog Fanciers Association and the Greater Ocala Dog Club’s four shows and 5,000 points. The Tucson Kennel Club and the Greater Sierra Vista Kennel Club will offer an equivalent alternative that week in Tucson AZ. There will be a Thanksgiving feast at the Holyoke Kennel Club, Windham County Kennel Club, the South Windsor Kennel Club and the Springfield Kennel Club holiday weekend in West Springfield MA where the take will be around 7,000 points.

However, it will be the last weekend of the show year, the second weekend in December that will make the difference. With but three options available for exhibitors that week, the stakes have never been higher. The Space Coast Kennel Club Of Palm Bay, the Brevard Kennel Club and the Central Florida Kennel Club will warm up for the AKC’s own big party in Orlando FL, the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship. With an expanded entry, the set may very well be the biggest of the year. I expect nearly 10,000 hotly contested entries. With an expected 7,000 points, the four shows hosted by the Medina Kennel Club, the Richland County Kennel Club and the Western Reserve Kennel Club in Cleveland OH will likely draw some of our top dogs.

I and my Best In Show Daily colleagues will be in Orlando to cover all the different competitions at this year’s AENC. Nowhere else will you find more results, analysis, and photos than here on BISD and on my site Dog Show Poop. Check back with us daily for up to the minute coverage. And that’s today’s Back Story.