AKC Gazette

September 2010




A friend who called recently described a dog who was Winners at a recent show as a “showing fool”. The caller went on to say that this dog had some obvious faults but that his showmanship put him in the winner’s circle.

Picture yourself as the judge in the show ring. In Best of Breed competition you have before you a Winners Dog who is not too exciting, plus the two male champions. One male champion has good type and proper Bulldog temperament, but he is not groomed or showing well. The other champion is groomed immaculately and is showing beautifully. Whom do you put up?

Judges are frequently faced with this dilemma, and we will not be able to answer the question unless we consider, What is really the purpose of a dog show?

When I first came into dogs, I was told that the purpose of a dog show is the exhibiting of breeding stock for the improvement of the breed. Consider for a moment: If this were not the case, why does the AKC require that no dog or bitch who has been spayed or altered may compete in dog shows?

If a dog show were a beauty contest, type and soundness would not be as important as being showy and catching the judge’s eye. The paramount requirements would be that the dog be perfectly groomed and show trained. The breeding potential of the dog would be secondary.

The experienced breeder considers it anathema to see a judge put up a poorer-quality dog who is showing beautifully over a better representative of the breed who is not. The experienced breeder wants the judge to put up dogs who have type, soundness, and good temperament and who are good representatives of their breed, without handing out “bonus points” for good showmanship.

If the true purpose of a dog show is the exhibition of breeding stock that will maintain quality and improve the breed today and for generations to come, then it is important that the better dog win, no matter how he is showing.

Let us always remember that what we do today impacts the future. Our concern should be to breed for true Bulldog type and good health in our dogs. We cannot ignore health as an important consideration when we breed.

Amelia Averil, 8 Willow Brook Rd., Hillsdale, NJ 07612.