Question of the Week
Agua Dulce, California
English Cockers RARELY get noticed in the Sporting Group on the West Coast. Many judges don’t bother going down the line past the larger dogs, often stopping completely at the Springer.
Easley, South Carolina
Dachshunds definitely do not get recognized in the Hound Group ring. Seldom does a smooth-haired Dachshund get a Group 1. Thus, it is seldom that a smooth-haired DACHSHUND ever wins Best in Show. They are near the end of the line in the Hound Group. Little short legs that have to compete with the long-legged monsters (they look like monsters to the Dachshund) at the front of the group. But I have seen a few Dachshunds with the movement to keep up with the long-legged monsters without breaking stride. A thing of beauty.
I am not sure why the Dachshunds, especially the smooth-haired variety, get hardly any recognition, but historically that is the case. I would like to see the Hound Group split into two groups: one for the large hounds and one for the small hounds. That would help the smaller-hound breeds get more recognition.
I think so: Peter and "Billy" took care of that. Although I'll always think of Billy Kendrick, who once said to me, with a smile, "Norwich Terrier? Isn't that the little red dog at the end of the group ring?”
My primary breed, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, have never received due attention in the Terrier Group (when a typey, correct one is competing in the group). It is a very tough group, given the amount of beautiful grooming, hair and in some cases superb dye jobs.
I am not a big fan of creating more groups, but maybe the AKC should consider creating a Bull Breeds group, which would draw breeds from several of the existing groups!
Sand Springs, Oklahoma
I have a diverse group of dogs at home, ranging from Standard Poodle to Doberman to Brussels Griffon to Westie, and it seems like the Brussels Griffon does not get very much recognition. My next dog I’m looking at getting will be a Kerry Blue, and there has not been much recognition for the breed since Mick.
Bonnie Linnell Clarke
Holly Springs, North Carolina
I believe both Dobermans and Whippets deservedly receive significant recognition in the groups.
No, Japanese Chins do not get any recognition in the group.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniels getting enough recognition in the groups? No, not exactly. They are companion pets — not stellar, flashy athletes with overgroomed coats. As such, they are rarely valued for their ability to DO THEIR JOB. Low key and quiet — the dog-show ring does not shine the light on their BEST qualities. They are not hunters — or runners — or dogs that float effortlessly around the ring. They have long traditions of being companions — to children, to the elderly — and get along within many groups without complaint. Hard to display that in a singular exhibit. And judges do not seem to penalize the overgroomed, visibly trimmed — acceptable in other breeds, but NOT on a Cavalier. Just my opinion, but as an owner-handler who never KNEELS with my entry, clearly the pro handlers often do not follow OUR traditions of exhibiting Cavaliers as free stacking — again, without penalty.
Commerce Township, Michigan
In my experience I would have to say no. I have a Spinone Italiano in the Sporting Group and because we are a rare breed we do get overlooked.
Sun Valley, California
My breed is the Cocker Spaniel. Since the Cocker is the smallest of the Sporting Group, it is sometimes ignored. Many times the judges do not walk to the end to take the Cocker into consideration. I think that days should be alternated with the showing position from the largest of the Sporting Group to the smallest, then the next day they should have the smallest of the Sporting Group showing first.
I do not feel that my breed gets enough recognition in the group ring or for the Best in Show ring. SO many judges don't know the breed standard, or have not ever seen a Finnish Lapphund, so they skip over a great specimen and go to the popular breeds for placements. That is the safe route, and many judges want to get judging assignments, so picking the popular breeds is a route to get hired.
Some judges will go out on a limb and place an unpopular breed, and I commend them.
I wish that, as judges are looking over the groups, or for Best in Show, they would educate themselves on the dogs in their group. This way, more unpopular dogs will get more chances for placements. Thank you for your question.
Newbury Park, California
In the U.S. English Cockers do not get the recognition they deserve in the group or Best in Show rings. There are times the judges don’t even walk to the back of the line to look at the smaller breeds, at least in the Sporting Group. The English Cocker should not have the big side gait of a setter! I often wonder if the Sporting Group judges know this about my breed! Is the English Cocker being penalized at the group level because of this?
If it isn’t, make it so! Many underperforming breeds have had clever breeders come to them, and done extraordinarily well. I can mention a multitude.
So if you’re using the excuse that your breed doesn’t get enough recognition, well, it might be more your problem within your program. Don’t accept the status quo, stand out, be the difference in your breed, not the norm. Do more, talk less, and go boldly forward.
I own and show Irish Wolfhounds, so the answer to that question about getting enough breed recognition in the group ring is an easy one to answer: No and no and no. However, that only applies to the U.S. as best as I can tell because I have IW friends in other countries of Europe and across Canada who do get group placements.
When the Deerhound went BIS at Westminster, it was a huge joy for all owners of giant-breed dogs. One simply needs to examine the 100-plus years of the WKC-recorded BIS and Best in Group winners to see the prejudice toward smaller breeds embedded in the history of judging groups and BIS.
Sandy Hook, Connecticut
I have to say that my breed, which is the Doberman Pincher, gets great recognition. Because of their “look at me attitude” and beautiful appearance, people usually take another look. There are and have been many top-winning Dobes in the history of dog shows; this alone signifies recognition!