This Fall, the Doberman Pinscher Club of America held its 85th National Dog Show and Convention. Over two hundred Dobermans and their owners fired up their motor homes, took off in their vans, braved the friendly skies and followed the yellow brick road to the Capital Plaza Hotel and Convention Center in Topeka, Kansas.
I clicked my ruby red Keens
and headed to Topeka to watch my mom show her Doberman, Trinket -Ch Soquel’s Last Souvinere and to be part of the fun.
The difference between a national dog show and a regular dog show is that a national dog show focuses on one breed of dogs. The Doberman pretties competed for titles in conformation, obedience, agility and rally. Dog show competitors hope the great Oz will reward their Doberman’s beauty, brains and courage with ribbons and dog show titles.
The hotel had a glass elevator which our Doberman took in stride. One night, as we crowded onto the elevator with three Dobermans and a pup, a non-dog-showing guest stepped back from the elevator door. We smiled, “There’s room.” The wiggle Doberman puppy was very inviting, while the other three Dobies looked on encouragingly. As we held the door open, the guest tentatively stepped aboard. He stood very still as the elevator moved upward. When he exited saying, “I can’t believe I just shared an elevator with four Dobermans,” we were all glad he recognized his good fortune.
Dog shows are fun. I have been both an exhibitor and a spectator, and have always had a great time. I would encourage all dog lovers to go to an all-breed dog show at least once, and to attend a national or local specialty if you are interested in a particular breed of dog. The benefits are many …
- Resources: Exhibitors have usually been breeding and showing dogs for many years, so they are excellent resources for grooming tips and general information about the breed. If you’re interested in adopting a purebred dog, it is extremely helpful to first attend a dog show and mingle with breeders.
- Meet unique breeds: A Komondor will show off its long dread locks. The noble Neapolitan Mastiff, looking a little like a mini-rhino, will take its place in the breed ring. Is it a dog or a lamb? Say hello to a Bedlington Terrier! Have you even ever heard of a Peruvian Inca Orchid? When you attend a dog show, you might find this hairless wonder crossing your path. Some shows even have a “Meet the Breeds” program, which allows you to get up close and personal with the competitors and their owners after judging.
- Shop ‘til you drop: Most dog shows have a wide array of booths selling books, handmade clothes, collars, leashes, and pet treats, among other items. Also, representatives from major pet food companies are usually available to answer your questions about pet food and nutrition. My mother’s Doberman walked away from the Doberman National sporting more bling than Queen Elizabeth.
When you attend a dog show as a spectator, leave your own pup at home. Dogs not registered in the dog show are usually not allowed. Don’t ask questions of the handlers or breeders while they prepare for the show ring or they will growl at you. After they show, they are usually more than happy to answer your questions. Refrain from messing with the Poodle’s poofs, unwinding the Puli’s locks, or patting the crest of a Chinese Crested. If you flatten a poof that a groomer has been perfecting for hours, don’t be surprised if they come at you with their grooming scissors.
Why show? It certainly is not for the prize money, since there isn’t any. Breeders show their dogs for many reasons, chief among them to prove and promote their breeding programs. The agenda is to produce dogs that meet the breed standards, and good breeders justifiably take pride in their ability to do so. A championship is one criterion for a good breeding dog. Others include good health, appropriate breed temperament, and working ability – the intelligence and physical attributes to hunt, herd, pull a cart, aid law enforcement, do search and rescue, guard, compete in obedience or agility, and/or become a treasured companion.
My mother shows her Doberman in obedience because she enjoys interacting with her Dobie through training, competing in the show arena, earning titles, and having fun with other like-minded dog owners.
If you enjoy being with dogs and the people who love them, there is no place like a dog show!
My Odd Family loves pets. Tell us above your precious furs!
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