Over on my blog, Dog Show Poop, there is a lot of emphasis on what I call the “Traditional Top Ten.” One thing you’ll notice this year is three dogs from the Sporting Group, three dogs from the Working Group and no dog from either the Hound Group or the Herding Group. One of the reasons that there are so many Sporting and Working dogs in the Top Ten is that overall entries are greater in those groups. At the average all-breed show, the Sporting and Working Groups will have 50 percent more entries than the Hound, Toy, Non-Sporting or Herding groups and more than twice the number of entries of the Terrier group.

Now that would seem fair on the face of it, but that’s because we all think that the Traditional Top Ten is based on dogs defeated…well, not actually on dogs defeated directly. It’s based on the total numbers of dogs defeated by the one dog you defeat. So if a Chesapeake Bay Retriever that faced no breed competition to get into the Sporting Group places above the Golden and Labrador, he could collect better than 300 points even though he only actually faced off with 20-something dogs. The same can be true of a Neapolitan Mastiff that might only rarely face competition at the breed level. It was this kind of disparity that led me to the creation of the Dog Show Poop Top Ten. The issue is compounded even further when comparing the competition between groups. The same Chesapeake Bay Retriever could possibly get a Group Four and more than twice the points that the Scottish Terrier that actually faced more dogs. (There are 28 breeds in the Sporting Group and 29 in the Terrier Group).

I instituted my own rankings for a number of reasons. Not only did I want to correct some of the inequities inherent in the current system, I wanted to recognize some of those dogs owned by the average dog show exhibitor: the exhibitor who doesn’t have a trust fund; the exhibitor who has a regular job and can’t make it to 150 shows a year; and the exhibitor who doesn’t have access to a corporate jet to show in four cities in four days. Bottom line, I think if you give the average exhibitor some recognition, it might encourage more people to enter an AKC dog show.

Here are the Dog Show Poop ranking criteria:

  • I count all-breed shows & limited-breed shows, and also count a national specialty BISS as equivalent to an all-breed BIS.
  • I only count a dog’s 75 highest scoring shows. I have thought for some time that dragging a dog to 150 shows a year is detrimental to the dog and the sport.
  • Most radically, I score each group win equal to the win in the other groups. Said another way, a Group One in the Working Group will count the same as the Group One in the Herding Group at the same show. Group winners are awarded four points. Group Two gets three points; Group Three, two; and Group Four, one. BIS gets the sum of the group wins, 28 points (seven Groups at four points each) because a Best In Show is really, really special.
  • I do give extra points for big shows. Shows up to 1,000 dogs score as outlined above. One additional point is added to each win for every additional 250 dogs showing, i.e., BIS at a show with 1,000 dogs is worth 28; 1,250 is worth 35; 1,500, 42; etc.

Of course, I still track and report the traditional rankings. I am not a populist extremist wishing to overthrow the dog world elite, nor do I harbor any delusions about who I am. The traditional rankings are important, and I respect that. However, remember, these lists, like dog shows, are recreation. So don’t take them too seriously. Have fun with them. My intent is to encourage you out there to get enthusiastic about dog shows. And that’s today’s Back Story.