The Joy of Showing Your Dog

Ah, the joy of showing a purebred dog! Most of us enjoy watching Westminster Kennel Show on television, while some of us dream of actually owning and showing such beautiful dogs. A few of us has had the pleasure (and the trials) of showing purebred dogs at dog shows.

The first step is to find a purebred dog. Not an easy task since most of the purebred dog owners or breeders, will keep such beauties for themselves. Then if you find a good-natured owner who is willing to part with a good puppy, you must research the pedigree line: parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, etc.

You must also research any congenital health problems associated with a specific breed. For instance, cocker spaniels became too popular after the movie Lady & the Tramp by Disney. Everybody wanted a “Lady” adorning their homes. Breeders could not keep up with the demand and some of them started inbreeding (breeding with closely related dogs like mother/son).

The problem with inbreeding is that it will bring out the good traits and the bad traits a specific type of dogs has to offer; therefore saturating the market with congenitally ill dogs. An example is that many cocker spaniels are now suffering from epileptic seizures imbedded in their genes.

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OK, you have researched and found a great puppy with amazing champion lines and you have the money to spend on such puppy (be prepared to shell out quite a bit of money). You take your prize home and everyday you start practicing; the two of you walking with a lead (show leash).

Not to mention there’s the weekly handling training classes with many other puppies (every “star” dog must learn to mix and mingle with other dogs). Then you must register such champion with the AKC (American Kennel Club). Once you have received such papers, which will take a few months to receive, you can finally register your beautiful puppy to any beginner’s dog show near you.

It is recommended, if you have never shown a puppy before, to begin with informal dog shows, mostly done outdoors or in tents. It is best to visit such shows before buying any dogs to closely see what is involved. Who knows, you might meet that special dog breeder with that special puppy that you wish to own. Do not be shy in asking all kinds of questions, for an informed person will prosper in this field.

Now the day of your first dog show arrives. You have trained for months, your puppy has learned to interact with other puppies, has learned to walk the line. You have spent a small fortune on equipment, ranging from a dog crate to treats. Now it’s time to show!

As your heart jumps in your throat, you and your pooch join more than half a dozen other beautiful puppies with other proud parents on the other side of the lead. You and champion take your place with the number tied with rubber bands on your left sleeve, treats in your right pocket, hopes, wishes, and a comb in the other pocket.

Now your turn comes, you two walk the walk towards the judge, you put champ on the table, set him on stand, feet straight and together. The judge comes by the table, looks at champ, feels his fur on the back of his neck and chest, checks the scissor bite, runs her hand along the back, looks at the tail, checks for family jewels, steps back and ask to walk the pooch.

You put champ on the floor, adjust his lead, and take the longest walk ever. All the months of training come down to this one important walk. Hopefully champ will not be distracted by any of other dogs. The cheers, from the audience, make you feel like a winner already.

Finally, it’s the last tour around the ring with all the puppies for the final decision. You know your puppy is the best but as the judge calls out the number, yours is not mentioned. Oh well! We’ll practice more and the next show we will be the winners.

DISCLAIMER: The information on this site is not intended to replace the advice of your own veterinarian or doctor. Should you think that your pet needs medical attention, please contact your local veterinarian.  
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