Through most of the year I focus on AKC’s Top Ten Dogs in all-breed competition. However, this sometimes leaves entire groups mostly unexplored. Our current Top Ten includes four Working Dogs, two Sporting Dogs, two Terriers, one Hound and one Toy Dog.
There is but one Non-Sporting Dog in our Top Twenty, the Standard Poodle, GCH CH Brighton Lakeridge Encore, who is only being shown on a limited basis this year. Through the end of March, there were but two more Non-Sporting Dogs in our Top 50, the Standard Poodle, GCH CH Jaset’s Satisfaction, and the Bichon Frise, GCH CH Saks Winning Card, coming in at Numbers 29 and 43, respectively.
One Herding Dog, the Shetland Sheepdog, GCH CH Grandgables The Frat Boy, barely makes our Top Twenty, coming in at Number Twenty, though he is closely followed by another Sheltie, GCH CH PaRay Preferential, at Number 21; the Cardigan Welsh Corgi, GCH CH Aubrey’s Tails of Mystery at 22; the Old English Sheepdog, GCH CH Bugaboo’s Picture Perfect at 26; and the Pembroke Welsh Corgi, GCH CH Coventry Allure at Wyndstar, at 27.
This odd distribution is a function of two factors. One, the race this year is very close. The Number 51 Dog, the Bearded Collie, GCH CH Spiritwood’s Gandalph the Blue, is but 4,000 points behind our Number Ten Dog, the Doberman Pinscher, GCH CH Protocol’s Veni Vidi Vici. When I finish loading last weekend’s numbers, I suspect we will find the Top Twenty looking very different that it did at the end of March.
The second factor is the reduced number of entries in the Non-Sporting and Herding Groups. While overall entries are down around 19 percent, entries in the Non-Sporting and Herding Groups are down over 30 percent. I’m not sure why these groups are lagging behind. Wherever I go, I still see enthusiastic galleries around the breed and group rings. Surely one would be pressed to find a more enthusiastic group of exhibitors than the Bulldog folks. Here’s one aside for the sourmug crowd. Could you possibly have a few shows with afternoon breed judging so the Non-Sporting Group’s most popular breed can be seen by the show-going public? Even die-hard early birds like me have difficulty making it to 8:00 AM ring calls. I appreciate the need to keep things cool for the bully crowd, but half the time the air-conditioning is much cooler at 10:00 AM than at 8:00.
Whatever the cause, I hope this is a temporary condition. Can a breed remain viable if it starts to fade from the show ring? I would be interested in hearing from you all why you think this is happening. And that’s today’s Back Story.