Friday, October 01, 2010

We Are Virtually Proud

InfoDog Virtual Dog Show
9/27 - 10/1/2010
Best In Show

Yes, you read that right. Dinah just received her first Best in Show as an adult, and her first in the States. (She was Best Puppy in Show at the Canadian National back in 2006 and had an AKC Puppy Group 2 as a puppy.) Okay, so maybe it isn't a real show, since it didn't involve grooming, gaiting, sweating, driving, or an expensive hotel stay. All the same, it's a Best in Show, and we'll take it.

If you're not familiar with the Infodog Virtual Dog Show, it's an online simulated all-breed show sponsored by show superintendents MB-F, Inc. It's free to enter; all you need are a few nice photographs. There is also a "fun" section where you can enter candid photos of your dog in various categories. Yes, you may enter both sections.

In the dog show section, you may enter with just one show-side photo of your dog, or you may upload front, back, and right side photos and even a video of your dog gaiting. (We have an assortment of very nice stills, but no video.) In a way, this forces you to select from among the piles of posed and candid shots you own to find the ones that would look good to a judge who cannot actually touch your dog or watch the gaiting around the ring. The breed, group, and Best in Show judges' bios are posted as the show opens for entries.

Judging proceeds the same way as it does for any other all-breed show: first the class dogs, then the class bitches, then Best of Breed. Infodog even has little "animations" of the dogs' photos going around the ring to "applause." When your dog wins, you receive an emailed certificate showing the photo, the win, and a rosette. Judges are allowed to post evaluations of the dog they've judged, and some do take advantage of that. I'll never forget the evaluation we received the first year we entered (2008): "This appears to be a quality dog with a correct coat, however there is so much that a judge cannot do in this sort of competition. I wouldn't be surprised to hear that this dog has or will win big." Well, we've done okay since then.

This year Dinah, being a special, started off in BOB. Okay, so there wasn't a lot of competition in breed this year, since there were only three Beardies -- but still, she won and advanced to Group.

Last year, she didn't place in Group, though she's had a Group 3 and a Group 4 in the past. There were some very nice competitors out there. This year, though, was different...

The same lovely blue merle Aussie and some other group competitors from the last were there again this year, though there weren't any Collies. It might be just a virtual Group First, but it was Dinah's first! I was too busy to read email this morning, so I missed the email with the Group 1 inside. Dinah went on to BIS without me.

At lunchtime, I received this in email:

It took me a minute to react (as it usually does) -- and then it hit me. Judging was over. There were no additional rounds to advance to. Dinah had not only won Best of Breed and defeated the other dogs in the Herding Group, but she had also defeated the other group winners! Sure, this is how every all-breed dog show works, and people whose dogs are multiple BIS winners are probably used to this... but all the same, it's our first BIS, however virtual. Maybe a real one is in the cards for someday... most likely, not.

Anyone can enter the Infodog Virtual Dog Show. Get your photos together and come join in the fun for the next round!