Aware that the 2010 National Dog Show is always aired Thanksgiving afternoon, I made a special effort to see and analyze it this year. After all, dog shows are judged by breed standards, and as a Featured Pet Contributor I felt I needed to know more about the specific breeds and groups competing in the National Dog Show.
National Dog Show Breed Standards? What About the “IT” Factor?
When I compared my picks to the ones the judges made, I discovered major disparities with one exception: We did agree on Best in Show, which went to an absolutely gorgeous, completely delightful Irish Setter named Clooney. As his handler Peter Kubacz said: “(Clooney) loves to show. He loves the attention; he loves people; he loves being in the ring . . . and everyone fussing over him.. . He is a very entertaining dog.” Clooney, winner of the Sporting Group, and Best in Show, is the one and only instance in which I agreed with the judges, and here is why. I picked the dogs with the “IT“ factor, or star quality, dogs I would love whether or not they met the breed standards. The judges must follow the AKC-specified standards, and the “IT” factor is just icing on the AKC cake.
Why I Did Not Pick the Winner in the National Dog Show Toy Group.
The Toy Group includes some of the cutest, cuddliest dogs in the show. For example: A Yorkshire Terrier, and a Shih Tzu with long flowing coats that fall perfectly smoothly to the ground so that when the little guys trot alongside their handlers, they look like walking mops. There were many others I oohed and aahed over, like the Papillon, the Japanese Chin, and the Havanees. (All black and white and cuddly looking.) The one dog in the Toy Group that left me cold was the winner, the Affenpincher, a curly black canine they call “Monkey Face.” But he is cute, if you like monkeys.
Why Doesn’t the Most Adorable Dog Ever Win?
The winner in the Non-Sporting Group was another unique breed, the Schipperke: A perky black dog with no tail. (They dock the tails when the pups are just days old. Some Schipperke’s are born without tails, so that may have become the breed standard.) This group includes, among others, the most beautiful “mop dog,” the Lhasa Apso, the puffy fluffy Chow Chow, the Lowchen, the Keeshond cloud of fur, and the poodles with their painful looking cuts. But the star, to me, was the snowy Bichon Frise who sported a rounded almost-puppy cut that made its face a perfect circle. Talk about adorable! Is there a rule that the most adorable dog is not allowed to win?
More of My Picks for the National Dog Show: Looking for Lassie
All the great collies and corgis and shepherds and sheep dogs are in the Herding Group, My pick would have been the lovable Bearded Collie, but the winning Australian Sheepdog was a great-hearted beauty too.
Hickory, the Scottish Deerhound was odd looking, with skinny stick legs unlike a deer, hound or any other dog I can recall. She won in the Hound Group. What was wrong with the precious dachshunds and beagles and the imperious afghans?
In the Terrier Group, an American Staffordshire Terrier won, looking sort of like a boxer, and in the Working Group, the boxer won.
After further analysis, I concluded that while the National Dog Show judges look for the most perfect specimens according to AKC breed standards, I look for movie stars. Dogs with the Lassie factor, Rin Tin Tin panache. Dogs who deserve to have their own sitcoms, posters, and line of greeting cards. Dogs I want to take home. Needless to say, the AKC never consulted me!