COMMENTS ON THE TRANSMOGRIFICATIONS OF OUR DOG SHOWS
The introduction of the Annual Awards/Titles - "No. 1 Dog in Breed," "No. 1 Dog-All Breeds," and in some breeds, the "Top 20", has changed the ideology of our show ring. The desire to "Breed the Best" has been replaced by the desire to own the dog that "Wins the Most..." To be breeder, is not necessarily part of the equation. Originally Dog Shows was a breeder’s "stage," where they exhibited their best dogs, and the most coveted title was that of Champion." Where the comradery between breeders/exhibitors was generic, ideas exchanged, bloodlines discussed, novices and newcomers educated. In the 60's and 70's, many breeders were proud to show and handle their own breeding, competing against their peers. To breed the best was their mission.
A Dog named to the Top Awards list, or the Top 20, also begets invitations to the exciting, glamorous Eukanuba and Westminster Shows, generating an avid challenge to exhibitors, and creating an ultra competitive environment in the breed ring. To own the dog that wins "No. 1 Dog in Breed," has become the "creme de la creme" of achievement to many, and indeed, it is a thrilling accomplishment. However, in fairness to all, it should be recognized that competition for this award is circumscribed by circumstances. There are many beautiful, aspiring Dogs being shown who exemplify their Standard that will never become a "No. 1 Dog in Breed" Contender, or even among the "Top 20." Why? Because they are owned by exhibitors who do not have the time, the wherewithal, or/and the desire to travel the grueling road it takes for their dog to be included in the statistical line up. I use the word "statistical" because these titles are based on "statistics." They are awarded to the Dog that "Wins" the most BOB's and BISS., gaining a point for each dog entered at the numerous shows they must attend. The award of No. 1 Dog in Breed would be more aptly named - Top "Winning" Dog in Breed. A subtle difference, but truly definitive.
Once a dog/bitch gains recognition as being a contender for such titles, the BOB competition, within the area they are being shown, drops off considerably. It is very difficult, to overcome the numbers, and promotional campaigns, although, on the occasion when a deserving dog or bitch, not included in the statistical lists of Top Winners, is awarded BOB, or BISS, over dogs that are, sincere congratulations come from all sides - Dog folk, owners, exhibitors and handlers, will seldom deny a quality dog. Nevertheless, nowadays, the comradery ring side is polarized, and not as conducive to the exchange of ideas, educational discussions, etc. Our hobby is expensive. Entry Fees, travel, etc., has increased, and exhibitors are more selective entering shows.
There are now many more facets to our AKC shows than the Breed Ring. The Performance Events such as Agility, Obedience, Tracking, etc., are very popular. Unlike the Breed Ring, these events address the "Whole Dog" - temperament, physique, intelligence, athleticism, and take place on an autonomous playing field - leveled by performance of Dog and Handler. They are available to everyone who has the time and stamina to work with their dog/s. Takes total dedication by dog and owner, with whom it creates close bonding, an awareness of what a beautiful, sensitive, loving animal they own, or are owned by. The enthusiasm for Agility Events is such, the entry often has to be limited. When first introduced in the U.S. Agility was looked upon as an event for small and mid-sized breeds of the herding and sporting groups, now many large breeds participate. We have Danes with multiple Agility and Obedience Titles behind their name, and a Championship title in front. It is truly delightful to witness the exhilaration and athleticism our Danes manifest when racing through an Agility Course. The thrill of achieving one’s goal in a Performance Event is the greatest, and the sincere support and encouragement from one’s peers unending.
The friendships, lifestyles and companionship generated by our Canine partners is incomparable. Raising a beautiful, healthy litter, is the breeder’s "Top Award." Titles, before or/and after their name, is the icing on the cake.
Mrs. Paddy Magnuson,