Too Much of a Good (??) Thing
How many dog shows are too many? After increasing the number of show giving clubs to bolster a sagging income, the AKC now allows clubs to band together to make mega-events. Our local Apple Blossom Cluster is just one example. It has now increased to five shows on Thursday thru Monday of Memorial Day weekend. All we need to do is add some evening specialties to make it perfect. God forbid we worry about the dogs!
Back in the days of the dinosaurs when I showed Collies my dogs never saw more than two shows per weekend. The rest of the time they got to rest up, play and be quite comfortable at home. Our record was quite competitive and the dogs didn’t get too stressed. I worried about showing puppies because I guessed that every day at a show was one when they missed growing. How selfish!
Besides being a strain on the dogs all these shows are breeding other problems. Specialty shows are fighting hard to stay alive for many reasons. Finding an affordable site is becoming tougher and many people find showing under all breed judges to their advantage. When your only acquaintance with a Collie is to take an open book test and attend a national specialty, strange things can happen.
The point scale has gone to heck in a hand basket for many reasons and you can now have a major with a handful of Collies. In the old dinosaur days a major was a real feat and to be treasured. Depending on where you showed it took 20 or so dogs and in California it was ridiculous. Now we have majors with 7 or 8 dogs in some cases and read ads where dogs finished with “all majors!” Please get a life!
One of my other favorites and another money-making scheme is the Grand Champion. It helped me decide I no longer needed to judge these things we now call dog shows. It seems there are various degrees of Grand Champion. I recently saw a dog advertised as the only Platinum Grand Chump (oops!) in its breed. Can Diamond Encrusted Grand Champions be far behind? Anything to get more dogs shown and shown and shown.
When I started to show seriously, Bill Van Dyck told me one day that Reserve Winners meant Best of the Losers. He promptly gave me reserve when first I showed under him! Today in addition to Grand Champs the judge has to worry about select, awards of merit (or lack thereof) and, at larger shows, who makes the cut. People do advertise making the first, second or ad infinitum cuts at the national. Please get a life? It’s only a bloody dog show not a nuclear disarmament treaty.
I might as well get one more pet peeve off my chest while on the subject of shows. The pictures I see of Collies (and Shelties) at shows often with professional handlers sometimes cause me much anguish. When I showed dogs grooming was a thing I prided myself on and worked at constantly. The grooming of a Collie was an effort to make the animal resemble as closely as possible what the standard describes Yes, I did say “standard”, that oft maligned and apparently seldom read document.
The Collie is to be trimmed for showing in a subtle, but definite manner. Forgive me if I quote that confusing old standard again. “The forelegs are smooth and well feathered to the back of the pastern. “(Not to the floor)” The hind legs are smooth below the hock joints. Any feathering below the hocks is removed for the show ring.” If you don’t know how to groom, please learn particularly if you’re paid for your efforts, oh yes, “excessive posing is undesirable. (Had to get that in)
Collies are herding dogs and should appear as though they can do the job whether or not they ever saw a sheep. In breeding and grooming we should strive for an animal that looks like they could drive livestock to market not pull them in a blasted wagon! “Cumbersome appearance” is not desirable. On what planet should a Collie look like a clumsy clod?
Think About It!! Please!!