Dog Shows: Only Fun and Crazy People Allowed
By Jon Weaver
Who are the people who show dogs? Are they lunatics or fanatics? The dog people have a favorite joke about themselves. They say you don’t have to be crazy to enjoy shows, but it certainly helps! This is because they actually go through many hardships and disappointments but still enjoy it and call it fun.
It is one of the fascinating peculiarities of the dog game that the people who are thrown together in the pursuit of this sport are from so many different walks of life: dentists, carpenters, teachers, bankers, housewives, farmers, musicians, engineers, artists, industrialists, young and old, rich and poor. All have the same desire-to take home a blue ribbon.
Perhaps you wonder why they show dogs. I take it you are interested in showing or you wouldn’t be reading this article. I warn you, however, that the day may come when you will wonder why you ever decided to go in for something involving so much hard work and heartaches but so much sheer enjoyment!
Well, why do they show dogs? There are many reasons, and here are a few. First, we have the serious dog breeders. They make a promise to theirselves to improve the breed in which they are interested, and they are anxious to compare their dogs with good competition, for it shows them if they are on the right track in their breeding program. This is important. Many dogs look very good at home and only when they are compared with other good dogs can you see if they are better.
Comparison is the material of which dog shows are made. Every dog looks good in the back yard, but how does he look in the ring? To the serious breeders, showing is important for another reason. It gives them a chance to let other breeders and fanciers see what they have accomplished. They may own an excellent specimen of the breed, one which would be very valuable particularly for their ability to sire exceptional puppies, but no one would know about him if he were not shown.
Then we have a group of people who look at the dog shows as a competitive and active sport. The dog game affords plenty of action but is not so strenuous as, let us say, skiing or tennis. As a matter of fact, there are a great many physically handicapped persons who show dogs successfully.
We have another group. A person buys as a pet or receives as a gift a puppy which turns out exceptionally well, and they are advised to show it. They do so, and it makes some nice wins and the dog becomes a Champion. Very frequently this person is “bitten by the bug,” and succumbs, and dreams about breeding their own Champion. They stay around and often become an important member of the first group, the serious breeders.
Then we have the person looking for a hobby or perhaps a weekend activity. What better hobby than one which offers you some traveling, some outdoor activity, and a great deal of pleasure and good fellowship while also keeping you fairly active and very much interested? I remember being at an outdoor show rather early one very beautiful Sunday morning talking to Mr. Percy Roberts. Percy was then a top professional handler, one who shows other people’s dogs for pay; he is now a well-known professional all-round judge, one who is eligible to judge all breeds of dogs. Percy told me that one of his relatives had chided him earlier that morning for being in a profession which occupied all his weekends. He looked around the beautiful show grounds, at Long Island Sound sparkling in the background and dotted with a few sailboats, at the clear blue sky overhead, and as he lovingly patted his dog he began to laugh, and he said to me, “And to think I get paid for this!” Yes, there is much enjoyment to be had in the dog game.
Finally on our list of those who exhibit dogs we have the “show-off,” the exhibitionist. If you like to be in the public eye, here is your chance. Go ahead, show a good dog, you’ll really enjoy it! But I’ll tell you something. One of two things will happen: either you’ll fall in love with the sport and become serious about it and a part of it, giving you an interest which will lessen your need of the spotlight; or you’ll look elsewhere for that spotlight, for without a genuine love for and interest in dogs and the dog game you can’t last, you will become bored, you’ll be forced to find a new spotlight.
In whichever category you fell you fit in to, there is a great chance that the sport will pull you in more and more. It takes a special person to be a dog handler, so enjoy the experience!
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