As we wrap up the first quarter of the show season, I am impressed with how wide-open the rankings race is. While our current leaders have a pretty comfortable lead on the field, one should take note how many dogs have moved up the rankings in the last few weeks. Post Westminster, the show year begins in earnest. Last year’s leaders who have been contemplating retiring have gone or are making only sporadic appearances, and this year’s players have declared themselves. Here are eight dogs that have made impressive advances through the rankings since mid-February.

Upwardly Mobile Dogs

Five weeks ago, the Tibetan Mastiff, GCH CH Dreamcatcher Major Victory Of Loki, had just entered the Top 100 Dogs All Breeds. Since then he has advanced 33 spots to the 60th spot. Just ahead of Major is the Maltese, GCH CH Scylla’s Small Kraft Re-Lit, currently sitting in the 59th spot, having traveled all the way up from the 82nd place. Post Westminster, the Bouvier des Flandres, GCH CH Hatch Tillie De La Salsa, was at the very bottom of the Top 100, but has climbed all the way to the 48th position.

Even more impressive is the Lakeland Terrier, GCH CH Larkspur Acadia Save Me a Spot, who hadn’t broken into the Top 100 before mid-February. Now Spot can brag he is the 37th Dog All Breeds. A dog that has been in the Top 100 most of 2012 is the German Wirehaired Pointer, GCH CH Reece Afterhours The Buck Stops Here JH. Since Westminster, Truman has passed 25 dogs to claim the Number 35 ranking. The Puli, GCH CH Cordmaker’s Rumpus Bumpus, spent all of 2011 in the Top 100 and is having a very good 2012, moving from Number 50 to Number 29 in the last five weeks. As a former Maltese breeder, I can’t help but smile as I watch not one, but two, Maltese scamper up the rankings. GCH CH Chrisman’s Shiny Toy Gun, Gunner, has moved 30 places to the Number 26 All Breeds ranking.

CH AfterAll Painting The Sky

However, the most upwardly mobile dog in AKC has to be the Wire Fox Terrier, CH AfterAll Painting the Sky. Sky and handler Gabriel Rangel had not even stepped in the ring this year before debuting at the Park Shore Kennel Club show in Chicago, IL, on February 23rd, where they grabbed a Terrier Group 1. They duplicated that performance the following day at the Blackhawk Kennel Club. They finished off the weekend by taking home both the big rosettes at the prestigious International Kennel Club of Chicago Saturday & Sunday shows. Since then Sky & Gabriel have added several big group wins and a BIS on the Kentuckiana Cluster. This all-out assault on the rankings has them in the Top Twenty Dogs All Breeds as the Number 17 Dog. Pretty impressive. And that’s today’s Back Story.