All About The Show Dog
For over 6 years, TheDogPress.com readers have petitioned AKC for 2-show days - UKC has had them for over 20 years, cat associations for even longer so why won't they work in AKC?
AKC’S TWO SHOWS PER DAY
Barbara J. Andrews, TheDogPlace.org Publisher - April 1, 2014
An overwhelming majority of exhibitors and kennel club officers were in favor of the two shows per day but the concept cooled in an unnatural climate of denial.
We were puzzled about that but a little digging revealed that professional handlers were dead set against the idea. I called some handler friends and after receiving honest answers, I understood.
Having two shows in one day would be so advantageous to owner handlers that ii Pro Handlers would suffer significant losses. Not only that, several handlers said it would adversely impact their income although no one really explained how or why that would be true.
The real bottom line is that only a fool would believe that clubs control the AKC show system. No handlers = fewer entries which = a significant loss of income for show clubs.
Self preservation is one of the strongest human instincts. We get that. But some of us come from the old school; a time when every handler would proudly declare that their first interest was the dogs. Surely their protégés remember that their second duty is to serve the owners.
True, there are a lot more handlers today but then there are a lot more dog shows. That should add up to more opportunities for both professional and owner handlers to win. Let's hope so because owner handlers have declined into a losing minority. That too costs the show-giving clubs.
Unrelenting, TheDogPress.com and this site pushed for the 2-Show Day. Subscribers were overwhelmingly in favor and so were many handlers. Finally, the AKC pilot program for 2-show days or what it calls “two all breed shows per day” is underway. That was met with gratitude from owner handlers- and stiff opposition by Dog News! Go figure. The two-show day only applies to dog shows that previously had less than 500 entries. While I can’t disagree with the concern expressed by Dog News regarding the health and welfare of the dogs, I have a broader perspective earned by having also shown horses and cats.
Any exhibitor of prize livestock would scoff at the idea that their prized stallion or bull could only be shown once in a day. Rodeo and show horses compete strenuously several times per day. CFA (Cat Fanciers Association) holds multiple shows per day and TICA (The International Cat Association) is famous for its 12-ring shows which draw higher entries than most dog shows. The coddled cats are judged six times, in six rings, each day. If a cat wins best of breed it may be judged in as many “Group” rings each day. “Campaign cats” maintain glorious coat, condition, health and fertility.
The inescapable conclusion then is that dog owners would be no less loving and caring for their animals and dogs will do just fine being shown multiple times per day. (they already are if they win a class, go on to win Best Of Breed and then compete in the Group, and possibly Best In Show!
The other fact to be faced is that the most successful handlers are set up to show a lot of dogs per day BUT each one only one time per day except the “campaign dogs” that hopefully get shown in Group and Best In Show. Even with a squadron of assistants, it would be hard on the handlers. I hear you thinking “but they could just cut back on the number of dogs they carry and make just as much money.” I’ll tell my handler friends you said that.
But here’s the key to why AKC has suddenly “come up with the idea” of a 2-show day, at least this is my best guess. I think it has to do with desperation and UKC.
Entries are falling like leaves in, well, fall. In addition to a declining economy, loss of interest on the part of owner handlers has impacted AKC clubs. Owners can ill afford the higher travel expenses and entry fees when weighed against their poor chances of beating the pro handlers under judges who struggle for assignments. Owner handlers either give up, show cats, or turn to UKC shows.
The United Kennel Club first started having 2 shows a day in January of 1991, before they began having All-Breed Shows. Tony Vacha, Executive Director of Conformation Events tells us “The first All-Breed show was on October 29 & 30, 1994 which was UKC's first Premier. There was only one show per day at Premier but the all-breed clubs were able to offer two shows per day.” Tony explains “… in the beginning most of the clubs were only hosting a small selection of the breeds instead of all the breeds recognized by UKC. Clubs were not required to offer classes for every breed (but) today a majority of the clubs do offer every breed.”
To argue against the tried and true, proven practice of multiple exhibition opportunities within a 2-show day demonstrates a lack of knowledge, a skewered perspective, or more concern for professional handlers than for breeders and owner handlers.
Owner handlers were once the backbone of the sport. In today's AKC system, they are the patsies who pay dearly to support dog shows. Sorry but that’s the way we see it.
AKC is to be applauded for acknowledging and being willing to try a not-new concept that cannot harm a well cared for and attended dog. 2-show days will breathe new life into financially failing clubs. When we look around and ask Where Has Everybody Gone? There are two answers – they’ve stayed home or gone to UKC shows that offer 2-shows per day opportunity.
The sport is in trouble and the biggest reason is that it has become too expensive for the average dog owner or breeder and in too many instances, prohibitively expensive for clubs. When entries decline as they have over the last 5 years, smaller clubs are forced to close down. The sport is hanging on by a thread, thanks to the generosity and devotion of the ultra-wealthy. To them, we are grateful and we are indebted but in order to survive, there must be opportunity for the novice handler or owner.
Without breeders and owner-handler support, the sport cannot thrive, much less survive.
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