The numbers are in for next month’s AKC/Eukanuba National Championship show in Orlando FL, and they are huge. Fanciers will say goodbye to the 2012 season with the biggest entry of the year – 4,058 dogs entered in the regular classes. The three all-breed warmups hosted by the Space Coast Kennel Club Of Palm Bay, the Brevard Kennel Club, & the Central Florida Kennel Club will also be among the biggest shows of the year with entries of 2,784, 3,052 & 3,356, respectively. Imagine that: 2,784 dogs…on a Wednesday. That totals 13,250 points available. Note here that the nation’s Number 21 Dog is about 13,250 point behind the Number Ten Dog. While our Top Two Dogs are beyond the grasp of the rest of the crowd, no one else can be sure that a good week in Florida won’t totally alter the end of year rankings.

There are a couple of things to note, apart from the sheer size of the entries. While the Sporting dogs lead the entry with 726 dogs, about the same percentage (18) we have seen throughout the country this year, the Working Group entry of 627 is a little below the national average with only 16 percent of the entry. I suspect that difficulty of transporting some of the giant breeds may have had an impact on the entry. Conversely, the entry of 641 Toy dogs, 16 percent of the entry, is above the national average, but about normal for a Florida show. To me the Terrier Group was the most surprising, with 504 dogs, 12 percent of the entry, nearly 50 percent higher than we see at most shows. The Non-Sporting entry of 530 dogs, 13 percent of the entry, is on par with that group this year. However, the Herding Group with 485 dogs, 12 percent of the entry, is the smallest of the groups, a spot normally relegated to the Terrier or Non-Sporting dogs.

Golden Retrievers lead the entry with 93, 45 of which are specials. Labrador Retrievers and French Bulldogs are next with 75 entries each. The rest of the Top Ten entries are pretty evenly distributed with the Australian Shepherds (69), Cavalier King Charles Spaniels (63), Rottweilers (61), Chinese Crested (56), Papillons (55), Boston Terriers (55) and Pomeranians (54). It’s that even distribution of entries that impressed me with almost 50 breeds with entries of 30 or more.

If you have not done one of these yet, treat yourself to an earlier Christmas gift. AKC and Eukanuba have put this show together to maximize the participation of the exhibitor and spectator. You will be hard-pressed to duplicate the quantity, quality and variety all wrapped up in a consumer-friendly package. And that’s today’s Back Story.