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  • #21
    I've always heard that with some breeds- such as Dobes and German Shepherds- you're not going anywhere unless you have a pro handler (politics!), where some other breeds are more owner-handled. Any comments from the dog show gallery on which are more owner-handler friendly?

    Comment


    • #22
      Originally posted by shakeytails View Post
      I've always heard that with some breeds- such as Dobes and German Shepherds- you're not going anywhere unless you have a pro handler (politics!), where some other breeds are more owner-handled. Any comments from the dog show gallery on which are more owner-handler friendly?
      I think it all depends. Certainly breeds that require specialty grooming need a pro to be involved (poodles come to mind instantly). And also breeds where the numbers are really large -- no matter how good your dog is, you really need to "show it off" if you're going to beat 28 other dogs.

      But seriously - go to some shows and watch and see. Most pros/breeders know some judges but most don't know all of them...they rotate AKC judges intentionally. I think that a lot of pros in specific breeds are good because they know what the dog needs to look like to win (grooming, movement, "pizazz" when needed). A shepard can't move like a terrier....if you gait around with your beagle flying in front of you like a shepard you're not going to win, etc.

      So I think it's very possible to show most breeds yourself although I would agree that passing them off to a handler for majors is probably useful in a lot of breeds. And to expect that a first-time handler/owner will go in and win all their shows...it's probably not going to happen because it really isn't as easy as the pros make it look. But if you take a handling class, go to a bunch of shows with some breeders/handlers, watch and learn, you might be surprised that you can do it (or most of it) by yourself.

      If I were just starting out and had no breed preference - I'd ask around about what breeds are frequently owner-handled. Of those, look for low-maintenance coats and small-medium entry numbers. My breed (brittany) actually fits that criteria even though we never considered it when we got our first.

      Comment


      • #23
        Originally posted by shakeytails View Post
        I've always heard that with some breeds- such as Dobes and German Shepherds- you're not going anywhere unless you have a pro handler (politics!), where some other breeds are more owner-handled. Any comments from the dog show gallery on which are more owner-handler friendly?
        That's how it is at least with GSDs in the AKC (UKC required owner-handler, if I'm not mistaken.) I was told by an older breeder (since retired - she owned and showed German Shepherds for fifty years) that our German Shepherds were "some of the best she's seen in a long time," but that due to politics the only way to show him in conformation was to get a pro handler that was well-known.
        If wishes were horses then beggars would ride...
        DLA: Draft Lovers Anonymous
        Originally posted by talkofthetown
        As in, the majikal butterfly-fahting gypsy vanners.

        Comment


        • #24
          I love reading the replies! I think my goal as with showing horses would to be the best we can but I want to do the "work" myself. I is kinda the fun of it . I wouldn't expect to be a world killer but I would be happy with some success.
          I would like to do both Conformation and some agailiy and obedience. Is there any reason I could not do all those type things ? Do you kinda have to pick one and stick to that? The breed I would really like would be the Setters specifically English. Though I realize there would be considerable grooming. Any Setter show peeps here? Would they be ammy friendly to get started with?
          Thank you

          Comment


          • #25
            I show my dog in Agility. He's a mix and while he is registered to show in Agility with the AKC, we went to one show then bagged it bc the atmosphere was terrible. We show in USDAA, NADAC and ASCA. It's a lot cheaper than showing horses, but can still get expensive for a weekend, esp if you travel.

            I am in the south, so we don't show between the end of May and September due to the heat.

            I will say that 90% of my agility class are/were horsepeople at one time or another. I tell you it's MUCH easier to learn the courses if you have been doing it a long time!

            I love it - and our major expense is training. I pay 145 for 6 weeks of group lessons then I take the occasional private lesson which is about $50 an hour.

            The people are SO nice at all the shows. We just LOVE IT!

            Comment


            • #26
              Originally posted by spook1 View Post
              I would like to do both Conformation and some agailiy and obedience. Is there any reason I could not do all those type things ? Do you kinda have to pick one and stick to that? The breed I would really like would be the Setters specifically English. Though I realize there would be considerable grooming. Any Setter show peeps here? Would they be ammy friendly to get started with?
              Thank you
              If you want to show in conformation you will have to first get a decent one from a breeder. That breeder should also mentor you in everything from training to feeding to showing. There are not many English setters being shown and if your goal is to just finish the dog (meaning getting his championship) you should be able to do that as owner-handler. Going into Agility and Obedience is also doable. I Just finished one of my males and he will now go onto Rally and Earthdog titles.

              So called "politics" in the show ring is not as rampant as some claim it is. Each breed is judged against a breed standard, but that is up to interpretation by each breeder and each judge. Each judge has preferences and dog showing is as subjective as horse showing (except in things such as jumpers). The thing with dog showing is ANYONE can put a dog on a leash and go into the ring against the top handlers in the country with NO training.

              Why are some breeds handled professionally more than others? Some is presentation and training of that breed, some is grooming and conditioning. I have good friends that have German Shepherds, she could not physically run once around the ring with her shepherd, therefore she has a handler. Not all owners and breeders are up to the challenge of running with a big dog and running well enough to make that dog look good on the move. (I show dachshunds and can barely keep up with some of my males at times).

              Some claim that judges look at the handlers and only put them up (for the win). I can tell you that the majority of the judges are looking at the dogs. When I judge I do not even notice who is on the other end of the lead, I am too busy looking at the dog.....But many times the handlers are better at presenting the dog and getting the most of of him. Sometimes they have the better dog. I have beat many handlers over the years, even some of the top in my breed.

              But back to cost. Base cost is the entry fee, which, as I said earlier, runs about $30 or so per dog per show, depending on the area of the country, size of show, etc. The cost comes in to YOUR expenses, travel, hotel meals and of course how much money you spend at the show vendors.... I can tell you that I usually am showing two dogs per show so, $60 per day for a 4 day cluster comes to $240 for the weekend and that does not factor in travel, hotel and meals..... but it is still cheaper than hauling and stabling a horse at a big show.

              It is fun and you will meet lots of wonderful people! If you go in with a positive attitude and don't let the negative people get you down, you can have a fun time for years and years.
              We do not have an overpopulation of dogs, we have an under population of responsible dog owners!!!

              Comment


              • #27
                I prefer my performance events and working trials folks over [the majority of] conformation folks I've met
                If wishes were horses then beggars would ride...
                DLA: Draft Lovers Anonymous
                Originally posted by talkofthetown
                As in, the majikal butterfly-fahting gypsy vanners.

                Comment


                • #28
                  I have a client who breeds and shows English Setters. She is a professional groomer, if that tells you anything

                  There are differences between the field/hunting bred dogs and show dogs. Deafness runs in the breed, good show dog breeders will have had this checked, I think they do hips and elbows on the parents too.

                  Sweet dogs but rarely brilliant

                  Comment


                  • #29
                    I purchased a "conformation" show quality lab 2 years ago, and toyed with the idea of possibly showing him. His sire is a top stud in Canada, and his littermate just finished her CH. I decided to show Rally instead, and I love it. Just out of curiosity, I went to the handlers website that my breeder uses. $24/day for training board for dogs that are not showing. That in itself = $744/month. That does not include any handling fees, show fees, etc. That sealed the deal...the dog was neutered. I'm aiming for our first Rally show at State College in a few months, and so far just plan to do AKC Rally. APTD and UKC Rally-O are popular in our area, but I want to at least pay homage to his roots and get 1 AKC title, even if it's just RN.

                    Just curious - what is so special about having a CH title in conformation, I don't want to say they're a "dime a dozen", but geesh. I know alot of exhibitors choose their shows based upon who the judge is and whooeee - let me tell you how upset they get if a judge is changed last minute!

                    oh and a side note...I talked to an Afghan exhibitor this past weekend and asked them how much time they spend grooming. Their SERIOUS answer "not that much, maybe 3-1/2 hours every few days". I died laughing.
                    Cindy

                    Comment


                    • #30
                      Originally posted by Mali View Post
                      Just curious - what is so special about having a CH title in conformation, I don't want to say they're a "dime a dozen", but geesh. I know alot of exhibitors choose their shows based upon who the judge is and whooeee - let me tell you how upset they get if a judge is changed last minute!
                      Well, honestly, AKC registered labs are a dime a dozen. AKC Ch. labs, not so much.

                      Most of the people I've met who show conformation do other things too - hunting, obedience, rally, agility, or all of the above. If you go to specialty shows, national events, etc, they will often have all of these types of events to compete in. Some breeds really encourage those working titles as well - my breed only allows a dog in the national hall of fame if they have a hunting title. It's not just a beauty contest for many breeds.

                      And in comparison to horse shows....haha. Even the expense of bringing my mare to the county 4-H fair was more than a dog show. Sure, it's still money, but everything is more expensive when it weighs 1000lbs.

                      Truly the most important thing is finding the right breed for what you want to do -- and then finding the right breeder.

                      Comment


                      • #31
                        Originally posted by HydroPHILE View Post
                        I prefer my performance events and working trials folks over [the majority of] conformation folks I've met
                        These are the same people for many breeds. Maybe they seem friendlier when they are wearing hiking boots, though.

                        Comment


                        • #32
                          I breed, show and handle Pointers. I used to handle all breeds back in the day. Some breeds are more conducive to owner handlers than others. Its not so much politics all the time, but also competitive numbers in the most popular breeds such as Dobes, boxers etc. You need to have all your ducks in a row due to the huge numbers required for major points. No room for mistakes. Showing can be fun if you do not make it a live or die experience like some, and remember it is a competitive venue and competition brings out the best and worst in people. Since it is a subjective sport there is alot of room for personal preferences of individual judges, therefore, I know certain judges just don't care for my style of dog so I am not wasting the time, money, gas, and hotel expenses to make points for other dogs. Some judges are more handler (as in pro) oriented and you learn how to avoid them. Just like in horses there are all different types of people participating on different levels. You can find your niche and have fun, or you may decide you would rather just enjoy your dog at home as a pet, nothing wrong with that either!

                          Comment


                          • #33
                            Originally posted by Mali View Post
                            Just curious - what is so special about having a CH title in conformation, I don't want to say they're a "dime a dozen", but geesh. I know alot of exhibitors choose their shows based upon who the judge is and whooeee - let me tell you how upset they get if a judge is changed last minute!
                            .
                            As a breeder the CH is quite important. it means you are breeding as close to the breed standard as possible, that your bloodline is doing well. But that is just part of the equation... you should be doing the health testing as well as performance to show that your dogs are not only structurally correct, but they also can perform the functions they were bred to do, be it retrieving, pointing, coursing, herding or going to ground.

                            When there is a judge change people can get upset because they drove long distances, invested a lot of money to show under a judge whose opinion they respect. And then this judge may be replaced by a judge who prefers a different color, is rough with puppies, or whatever....

                            BTW, the same can happen in some performance venues. The judging is subjective. Same as in horse shows.....
                            We do not have an overpopulation of dogs, we have an under population of responsible dog owners!!!

                            Comment


                            • #34
                              Originally posted by S1969 View Post
                              Well, honestly, AKC registered labs are a dime a dozen. AKC Ch. labs, not so much.

                              Most of the people I've met who show conformation do other things too - hunting, obedience, rally, agility, or all of the above.
                              Here are some problems I have with Labrador Retrievers....

                              1. Yep - AKC registered Labs are a dime a dozen. AKC Ch. Labs not so much. Agreed. However, the majority of AKC Ch. Labs I've seen couldn't run 50 yards let alone spend a day out in the field doing what they were bred to do. Anyone see the Lab at Westminster? The one that looked morbidly-obese and actually jiggled and swayed as it trotted around the ring? Pretty [show] dog. I don't see it out duck or goose hunting though.

                              2. As with almost every breed when it comes to conformation, there is a difference in appearance and athletics when it comes to show ring versus working. However, I was happy with Westminster this year when the hosts made mention that so-and-so was also a SAR dog or so-and-so was also an accomplished "insert activity here."

                              3. If I was going out looking for a dog for work purposes whether that be hunting, hunt trials, tracking, trailing, criminal apprehension, protection training, etc. I'd definitely look for a dog proven in those activities. I would also take into consideration if the breeder was breeding "correct" dogs (breed standard, healthy, etc.) but also WORKABLE dogs.

                              4. If we're talking Labs, for example, I'd prefer a Lab with its MH or several HRCs under its belt with a proven track record, all health clearances, stellar temperament over a Lab with a conformation Ch under its, er, collar.

                              That being said, I do know of several breeders who show their dogs in conformation shows AND work them, and while there may be others, I don't see a lot of importance being placed on what the dog can DO in many conformation groups.

                              If you have a working dog, shouldn't the dog's ability to DO work and its temperament be just as important as correct conformation? I think so.

                              I love breeders that strive for the all-around dog and prove it, too.

                              ETA: I love well-bred Labbies, by the way. It's just a breed that is near and dear to our family as my uncle has several MHs out West and takes great pride in his dogs' health clearances and workability. He's pretty much Grizzly Adams so I don't expect to see him prancing around the conformation ring anytime soon.
                              If wishes were horses then beggars would ride...
                              DLA: Draft Lovers Anonymous
                              Originally posted by talkofthetown
                              As in, the majikal butterfly-fahting gypsy vanners.

                              Comment


                              • #35
                                Confo and OB folks- Cherry Blossom Cluster in Maryland

                                Hey all you confo and ob COTHers! Anyone going to the Cherry Blossom Cluster in Timonium, MD this weekend?

                                My friend pulled her dog from Utility due to problems with the drop so I wasn't going to go anymore.....but if there are COTHers maybe I will!

                                My pup and I are still preparing for our competition debut.

                                Comment


                                • #36
                                  Originally posted by HydroPHILE View Post
                                  Here are some problems I have with Labrador Retrievers....

                                  That being said, I do know of several breeders who show their dogs in conformation shows AND work them, and while there may be others, I don't see a lot of importance being placed on what the dog can DO in many conformation groups.

                                  If you have a working dog, shouldn't the dog's ability to DO work and its temperament be just as important as correct conformation? I think so.

                                  I love breeders that strive for the all-around dog and prove it, too.
                                  I don't show labs, so I really can't comment on the one at Westminster. I know that in many breeds the hunting lines and show lines are often different, but that probably doesn't mean that most show-quality dogs are incapable of the physical requirements of their field "jobs". It's probably more of the opposite -- if a truly great hunter isn't conformationally great, shouldn't it still be bred as a great hunter? I think most sportsmen/women would say yes, and that's probably why there are different "lines" in the breed.

                                  Training for field trials is expensive and very time consuming, and so many breeders and handlers can never be truly competitive in the field if they have a "real" job....which most of them probably do. I agree that breeders should still strive for the ideal -- which is what the breed standard is SUPPOSED to demonstrate -- and also try to get field placements whenever possible. But I don't think that conformation championships are meaningless without a field/working title. Most people's dogs are pets (champion or not) and not working dogs anyway.

                                  Comment


                                  • #37
                                    I breed and show border terriers! It can be stressful juggling dog shows on the weekends and work during the week, but I really enjoy it! Our dogs can be seen at www.faireviewborderterriers.com. I also have a 12 month old Doberman Pinscher puppy that I have just started showing. Although the Doberman ring is known for not being too friendly to the owner-handler, his breeder does feel that he is competitive enough and I handle well enough that I can title him myself. Here's hoping, but I will hire a handler, if necessary. I've been working very hard to train him to the hilt so that we can hang with the handlers, which he was done his couple of times in the ring.

                                    Dog shows are great fun! For those considering it, get out to one and check it out!!!

                                    Comment


                                    • #38
                                      Or get a JRTCA Jack Russell and enjoy the heck out of showing where we welcome newbies, politics is kept to a minimum and if your pup isn't a conformation star you can still do racing, go-to-ground, super earth, lure coursing, ball toss, barn hunt, obedience, agility and rally-o ALL AT THE SAME TRIAL!

                                      My friend is an excellent breeder of Welsh terriers. She bred the Welshie that took Best of Breed at Westminster this year. I've watched her prep for HOURS after driving for HOURS to show in one class and, if the judge doesn't like owner-handlers (read Ammy owner ) she's outta there. Now over the years (15) she's gotten better, as have her dogs, and she wins more than she loses, but yet she still has to get together with her Welsh breeding friends to 'stage a major' in order to get a dog finished.

                                      None of that happens with the JRTCA. We don't have dogs that get a permanent Ch. designation in front of their names. Our dogs are champions on the day, but start evenly with the other dogs at the next trial. Of course the better dogs win more championships. But we don't spend many thousands of dollars on magazine ads, handlers, and flying them around the country to collect points and get our dogs names in front of the judges who read the magazines and then judge our dogs.

                                      I have a show string of 5 right now. It will not be unusual for me to spend $200+ in entry fees (@12.00 a class) but I will come home with a bunch of ribbons, trophies and raffle prizes. We will have had a pot luck dinner with friends (we see most of the same people at every trial) and a great time at the raffle. Sometimes we get treated to seminars or dog health screenings. Our club goes out of it's way to help newbies, and if you're smart enough to get a pup (or an adult!) from a breeder that shows they will guide you and give you a very easy entrance to the wonderful world of terrier trialing. There are no professional handlers at terrier trials. We all show our own dogs. Terrier trials are TRULY about having fun with your dogs. The ribbons are just an added bonus.
                                      ~Kryswyn~ Always look on the bright side of life, de doo, de doo de doo de doo
                                      Check out my Kryswyn JRTs on Facebook

                                      "Life is merrier with a terrier!"

                                      Comment


                                      • #39
                                        AzDq......Thank for your post . Well really to everyone who has posted esp to the OP for starting it at a great time!!

                                        I over the last 2 yrs I have really considered leaving the horse shows and since I am a dog person as well and did some showing in our 4H with granny's Collies I thought it would be a great venture. Between board and lessons it's just getting so expensive and I am not enjoying it now. And after paying thoses bills..hauling to a shows has become non extant . I realize showing dogs will cost money as well but ......lol....

                                        I am sure I would want to do the Setters as I have always loved them even as a child. And I an starting to research which would better suit me.

                                        I am in Florida and from what I see there are quite a few...is it possible to " finish" a dog without leaving the state? Keeping in mind I am out for the fun and trying be be as good AS we can I dont expect to set the world on fire....
                                        Again Thank you all for sharing!!!

                                        Comment


                                        • #40
                                          I show the corgi collection in Agility and Rally and dabble in conformation. I'll probably enter in Obedience this year as well.

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