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All About The Show Dog


FREE information by pro handlers, kennel clubs, and dog show judges can lead you to a successful hobby, home business, or rewarding career in the $$$$billion sport of purebred dogs.






by Barbara "BJ" Andrews, Publisher


Is doping dogs to enhance performance so common in today’s dog show rings that dog health is impaired, bad temperaments masked and risks unchallenged?


Tell us what you think on Facebook about horses being routinely drug tested after the race but in dog sports you know doping also exists! In fact, most professional dog show judges say performance enhancing drugs are nearly as rampant in dogs as in human sports.



Why? Many reasons, from enhancing “…greater than normal muscle size and strength” as recently reported by The New York Times but also to enhance show ring performance. (“Uppers” work as well in dogs as in people…) Being alert, focused and happy will get a dog show judge’s appreciation far more than a dog that is bewildered, off balance or “psyched up”.


So how common are “uppers” in the dog show ring?


We don’t know! Dogs are rarely tested and then only by demand and a paid fee. Huh! But wait, “drug enhancement testing” is routinely done in Thoroughbred racing and while that is because of gambling laws, every time you walk in a dog show ring, it is a costly gamble based on the judge’s perception of breed type and character.


Their decision should be based on honest knowledge and nothing else.


Whereas racing winners are decided by a clock, dog shows are basically a visual sport where breed type, conformation and soundness are what counts. So, with $$$ thousands often at stake, are you wondering why doping dogs is so rarely mentioned? Why do we only whisper about something that “rarely happens”?


Back in the '80s I managed a top racing Greyhound breeding kennel owned by devotedly honest people. Just as we expect a puppy to look and act like its BREED as described in the AKC Breed Standard, Paul and Norma Harris expected their dogs to be healthy, lovable and FAST.


Well… the first two they bought loved to run but were losers on the track. The Harris’s spent most of their time in Chicago where their business was so they decided to take advice from the trainer and breed their best bitch to a top winner. “Boosting” performance was mentioned but rejected. As Paul observed, he wanted to breed a winner not “manufacture” one.


I whelped that litter, loved those pups and was as thrilled as the Harris’s when two of ten ‘made the grade’ and bountifully repaid their investment. They did it honestly, no doping and the point is that the two we kept for breeding produced more winners – because winning was in their GENES, not from hypodermic needle…


Show dogs pay back their owners in countless ways. From buying a bitch to breeding her to a compatible top winner and rearing a promising litter is incredibly gratifying. When your mutt dog sits on your foot (he ‘possesses’ you) or your little Chihuahua alerts you to an intruder, you know why God made dogs.



Many horse enthusiasts would argue that planning a breeding, transporting the mare, and holding your breath for 11 months is just as fundamentally satisfying. Yeah, there are absentee owners in horses too but still, they love and support the sport. Thank them all – animal breeders who do it for love and honor.


Whether they are dog breeders who exhibit, horse enthusiasts who maintain a stable, or softies that adopt stray animals, animal lovers are special. My dear friend Dr. Roberta Lee who held multiple PHD degrees, one of them in Comparative Religion, says God made animals to keep us grounded.


She was right. God made animals to comfort and serve us because He knew we needed them. EST 1998 © Dec 2023



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