My weekend disappeared into a blur of cuteness

This is Conner, who somehow failed to get Winners Dog on Friday, but did on the other two days. (To be fair, the dog that beat him on Friday was probably okay, but I didn’t really look at him, since my attention was on Conner.) The two points from Saturday were useless since he can’t benefit from single points, but on Sunday he also got Best of Winners and thus a major. One more major and he’ll have his championship!

The one in the front is Kimmie, who didn’t do all that well — she got reserve on Saturday, and best bred-by-exhibitor Cavalier once, but that’s it for Kim. A particular ruby girl beat her twice. Since that ruby is now finished, Kimmie won’t be facing her again in future shows.

This delightful puppy is Leda, who to my surprise beat her sister two days out of three! She got Winners Bitch on Friday, beating both Kimmie and the ruby. This means she earned her first major, so depending on how you look at it, Leda is now closer to her championship than Kim. Leda has only four points but three of those came in a major. Kimmie has 9 points but no majors. It is a whole lot easier to whittle down the singles than to find shows with majors.

I guess I will now start showing Leda much more seriously. I wish I had last year because she still looks rather puppyish in some ways and will have a harder time in the adult classes, probably.

Most likely the reason two out of three judges this weekend preferred Leda to her sister is that she is more compact, more solid, with more “bone.” She is shorter-coupled — Kim’s worst failing imo is that she is “longer cast,” which means longer in the body. Kim is unquestionably prettier, though. You can bet I will be adding notes about all three judges to my file where I keep track of these things. Friday and Sunday’s judges prioritize other things over the prettiness of the head and expression; Saturday’s judge the other way around. In the future, I will make decisions about which dog to show to which judge based on that presumption.

I took my laptop to the hotel, but I wound up barely touching it. Mornings vanished into a rush to shampoo each dog’s ears and feet, mist their coats with a conditioner, brush the coat flat and put on drying coats, blow dry the dog and start the next dog. Then zip to the show site and rapidly show each dog, switching out armbands hastily but (amazingly enough) without ever entering the ring while wearing the wrong dog’s armband.

After those intense mornings, the afternoons vanished into naps and reading and taking the three dogs on long walks.

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4 thoughts on “My weekend disappeared into a blur of cuteness”

  1. I strongly suspect this is a very deep rabbit hole, but I don’t know anything about dog shows. Is it possible to very briefly explain what points and singles and majors means? It all sounds very exciting but also mysterious.

  2. Sure! Glad you asked! Rabbit hole, coming up!

    If there are two dogs entered in the breed, and neither is a champion, then they compete against each other and not against champions. They are called “class dogs” and they are competing in “the classes.” This is where my dogs are. If you show a champion, then you are “specialing” your dog and showing him “as a special.” I have never specialed a dog. Most animals at a dog show will be class dogs except at shows like Westminster, where they are all champions.

    So, say you are showing your dog and there is only one other class dog, then the winner gets Winners Dog and one point. In MO right now, your dog has to beat 4 other dogs (for a boy) or 5 other dogs (for girls) to get two points. In MO, your dog has to beat 7 other dogs or your girl 9 other bitches to get three points — and three points is a “major.”

    To be a champion, your dog has to win enough times to have 15 points, but no fewer than 6 of those points must come from majors. You can rack up all the single points in the universe and that won’t get your dog to a championship. Majors are therefore the sticking point for most dogs when it comes to “finishing,” which means finishing the championship. Every now and then a dog will helpfully win majors right up front. My Honey — mother of all these puppies — earned three majors out of the puppy classes and then just had to knock off the singles to finish. I bet that sentence now makes sense.

    In MO, I haven’t seen high enough numbers to get majors for year — not since the numbers went up to 8/10 for a major in this state. Therefore, I’m not entering Connor or Kimmie in MO — nor in IL, nor Iowa, nor various other states. Those two youngsters have all the singles they need, so entering them in shows where there isn’t likely to be a major is a total waste of money. The numbers change every year, in May, but it will still be terribly hard to get majors in MO because it’s still going to be eight dogs/ten bitches for a major.

    But different states have different numbers required for a major. Right now in Arkansas and Tennessee, it’s only six dogs / six bitches for a major. So last month I was on Facebook saying I could enter one dog and two bitches in Jackson TN and did anybody else want to enter that show and try to build a major? Another competitor responded and she also entered one dog and two bitches. Two other people entered bitches, luckily, so there were 6 girls total — a major in bitches.

    One more complication: The way my Conner got his major wasn’t to beat the other dogs at the show — he did that both Saturday and Sunday — but there weren’t enough dogs for that to matter. But on Sunday, he beat the Winners Bitch and got Best of Winners. That means he got the same number of points she did. This is called crossing over. Nearly all of Conner’s points come from crossing over and getting the bitch’s points, because in many of our shows, he’s been the only boy entered in the classes.

    Leda needs a bunch of singles, so now that I’ve seen how competitive she is, I will probably enter her locally. As long as there is one other bitch entered, she can get a point.

    Oh, and one more trivial complication — After “Winners Dog” and “Winners Bitch” the judge also selects “Reserve Winners.” This is second place, sometimes called “First Loser” to emphasize that it doesn’t help you in any way … unless the Winners animal is disqualified later for some reason. There are various reasons that could happen. For example, if the animal was entered in the 12-18 month class and had actually aged out of that class the previous week, then eventually that would be discovered and the puppy would be disqualified, the exhibitor would be told to return the ribbons, and the win would be reassigned to the Reserve animal. There’s no reason to hold your breath for this kind of thing, but it does happen.

  3. Congratulations! Interesting… We have head/expression and structure/movement judges in Collies, too.

  4. Not a bit surprised, Kristina. Collies have almost as unique a head as bull terriers.

    Me, I like to look at a beautiful dog, but I’m all about shoulder layback. In Cavaliers, we see a lot of cow hocks, some rather minor, but very common. I’m proud of my youngsters’ excellent rears. Their mother was not as pretty in the head as any of her puppies, but had such good structure and movement that she finished quickly. Judges who came out of sporting dogs really liked her.

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