Two months into the new year, our top campaigners are starting to emerge. While five of the Top Ten Dogs All Breeds are holdovers from 2012, two have already implemented the predictable post-Westminster wind down. Another four of the Top Ten were active most, if not all, of last year. Only the Portuguese Water Dog, GCH CH Claircreek Impression de Matisse, was not among the country’s Top 100 Dogs All Breeds in 2012.

Being the numbers nerd that I am, I see a couple of interesting things emerging in these early numbers. We do have two Sporting Dogs in our Top Ten, last year’s Number One Dog All Breeds, the German Wirehaired Pointer, GCH CH Mt View’s Ripsnorter Silver Charm (Oakley), and the Clumber Spaniel, GCH CH Clussexx Collaboration with Traddles (Seymour), and two more in the Top Twenty, the Golden Retriever, GCH CH Summit’s Emery It’s in the Bag (Chloe), and 2012’s Number Two Dog All Breeds, the English Springer Spaniel, GCH CH Wynmoor Champagne Supernova (Peyton). Both Oakley and Peyton have reduced their show schedules, leaving the field open to others this year.

Hounds are still rare among the top rankings, and ironically two of our most rare breeds represent the group, the Number Two Dog, the American Foxhound, GCH CH Kiarry’s Pandora’s Box (Jewel), and the Number 17 Dog, the Harrier, GCH CH Downhome Hitech Innovator (Chet). With four dogs this year in the Top Ten, the Working group is shaping up as the most competitive at most shows.  In the Top Ten are the Doberman Pinscher, GCH CH Protocol’s Veni Vidi Vici (FiFi), the PWD, Matisse, the Standard Schnauzer, GCH CH Blackhawk Finnegan’s Wake (Finn), and the Rottweiler, GCH CH Chancellor Flirt’s Hi Flyin’ Gladiator.  The Great Dane, GCH CH Longo Miller N Lore’s Diamond Lil, joins in at the  Number 18 position.

Our current Number One Dog, the Wire Fox Terrier, GCH CH AfterAll Painting the Sky (Sky), not only leads all dogs by more than 4,000 points, she has almost 11,000 points on the current Number Two Terrier, the Russell Terrier, GCH CH Goldsand’s Columbus (Bosse), who comes in at Number 16 in the all-breed rankings. Joining them at Number 20 is the Miniature Schnauzer, GCH CH Allaruth Just Kidding v Sole Baye (Justin). Surprisingly, we have only two Toy Dogs among our Top Twenty, the Number Three Dog, the Miniature Pinscher, GCH CH Marlex Classic Red Glare (Classie), and the Number 19 Dog, the Pug, GCH CH Hill Country Tag I’m It (JJ).

Perhaps the biggest surprise is the presence of just one Non-Sporting Dog in the Top Twenty: the Number Six Dog, the Standard Poodle, GCH Brighton Lakeridge Encore (Ally). Ally is being shown on a limited basis this year and is unlikely to stay among the leaders for long. Only once in the last five years has there not been a Standard Poodle among our Top Ten. There are several candidates out this year that could possibly fill the void.   Once again we have a trio of Herding Dogs hoping to make it into the Top Ten. The Cardigan Welsh Corgi, GCH CH Aubrey’s Tails of Mystery (Libby), and the Shetland Sheepdogs, GCH CH PaRay Preferential (Satori) & GCH CH Grandgables The Frat Boy (Brother), come in a Numbers 12, 13 & 14, respectively.

Check back with me on Wednesday, and I will tell you how the entry at this month’s Kentuckiana Cluster could affect the race. And that’s today’s Back Story.