Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The National Dog Show: There's an App for That!

Are you planning to watch the National Dog Show, Presented by Purina, on Thanksgiving Day? If you went to the show this past weekend, or know someone who did, you already know how things went... but the TV broadcast takes place tomorrow on NBC, at noon (just after the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade).

I always have to travel on Thanksgiving Day, which means I have to leave before the dog show starts, and I don't get to my destination until after Best in Show. Of course I have a DVR, but I can't watch that while I'm whooping it up with the family.

This year, there's a free National Dog Show app for those of us who either have to miss all the fun, or who just enjoy keeping up with all the broadcast events as they happen. I've downloaded it for my iPhone already, and am having fun exploring — and finding all the photos of Beardies at the show!

Here's the press release for the app...


App available for Android, iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices features
all the breeds, Tweets, polls, photo galleries, backstage video, interviews
and vignettes as the annual showcase celebrates its 10th anniversary

New York, NY (November 23, 2011) — NBC and “The National Dog Show Presented by Purina®” announce the release of their National Dog Show mobile suite application in time for viewers of its Thanksgiving Day special to keep in touch with all aspects of the event. Features of the app include exclusive video content, The National Dog Show Twitter feed, polls, video and in-depth descriptions of the 170-plus breeds in the show and the best photos from previous shows.

The new National Dog Show app is a free download available from the Android Market and iTunes App Store. Users can take advantage of the app to enhance their enjoyment of the show, which airs Thanksgiving Day immediately after the Macy’s Parade. Over 18 million total viewers tune into the two-hour special (noon-2 p.m. in all time zones) each year.

Specific features of the National Dog Show app allow users to:
  • check out more than 170 breeds as they are judged
  • view exclusive video clips and photos from past events
  • watch interviews and vignettes
  • view in-depth descriptions of this year’s four new breeds
  • view an outline of judging standards
  • read an article on Eli, the 2011 National Dog Show Therapy Dog Ambassador
  • download National Dog Show wallpapers
  • check out 2011 National Dog Show Fun Facts
  • participate in polls.
The special is a celebration of America’s fascination with man’s best friend, hosted by John O’Hurley, the “Seinfeld” ensemble actor (catalogue king “J.Peterman”) and expert analyst David Frei, America’s foremost authority on the sport. The two-hour special’s unique content is facilitated by the open format of the Kennel Club of Philadelphia event, one of only five remaining “benched” shows in which the dogs are on display all day for the visiting public.
Contact: Steve Griffith, Vizion Group Public Relations, (484) 433-7757,

Friday, November 18, 2011

Giveaway: Two Free Tickets to the Bay Colony Dog Shows and Canine Pet Expo

Quick Reminder: Entries for the Bay Colony Dog Show cluster will close on Wednesday, November 23. MB-F is the super. Show dates are Thursday, December 8 through Sunday, December 11.

The Bay Colony Dog Show cluster and Canine Pet Expo, sponsored by Purina, is the show with which I have the longest relationship, while never actually having exhibited there. Thanks to my friend Julie at DennehyPR, I've enjoyed at least a few minutes of fame at the shows, first as a blogger-on-the-ground, and then as one of the guest emcees for the Rescue Parade.

Since then, the cluster has migrated south from Boston to Providence, and it now takes place at the RI Convention Center. The Convention center is close by the Amtrak train station, and not too terribly far from Route 95.

The Canine Pet Expo portion of the event includes loads of family-friendly events and demonstrations, including a "Meet the Breeds" event, a dog trainer with answers to your dog-training questions, demos in agility, K-9 Nosework, and Disc Dogs, and exhibits by various breed rescues and other non-profits (including New England Old English Sheepdog Rescue (NEOESR) and Massachusetts Vest-a-Dog, dedicated to purchasing bulletproof vests and equipment for K-9 police officers). Demos run between 10 AM and 3 PM on the weekend days.

This event is also famous for the sheer number and variety of vendors — everything from dog foods and supplements to clothing and gift items to outdoor equipment and home & garden items. The shopping is simply awesome — I know I've left a goodly portion of my wallet's contents there in past years, and quite a few folks I know do much of their holiday shopping there. This year, the show is expecting 40-odd vendors of all kinds. Check the website after Thanksgiving to see who's coming and where they'll be. (It never hurts to go to the shopping area with a plan in hand.) Wear comfortable shoes and bring a backpack or good-sized shopping bag... just in case. You do at least want to bring your dog home something, right?

Tickets are $10 for adults and seniors, and free for children under $12. The Bay Colony Dog Show website has downloadable, printable $1 off coupons. Parking is indoors and adjacent to the Convention Center. Single day tickets are $10, but four-day parking passes are available.

The event's website is a wealth of information on what to see and when, directions, parking, times for the events and demos, and so on. Judging programs, listing the ring times and ring numbers for each breed in the show, won't be available until probably a week after the show closes. You can either visit to get a judging program for each day of the show, or pick one up when you get to the show. The clubs will be selling show catalogs there, too.

Things to See and Do

Here are some things that spectators should plan to do at the show:
  • Stop by the superintendent's table for a judging program, if you want to watch the show.
  • Stop by the AKC booth for coloring books for the kids and lots of helpful information for the pet dog owner.
  • Visit the Purina booth. They're the shows' sponsor, and they might have goodies available for attendees.
  • Make sure to visit the NEOESR booth. Ask for Denver!

Want to Go For Free?

I have a pair of show passes to give away! Each pass is good for one adult admission for any day of the show (December 8-11), and they've come stapled to a flyer with another $1 off coupon on it. All you have to do to enter the drawing is to follow these Wicked Simple Rules...

  1. Leave a comment on this blog telling me why you want to go to the show. Facebook comments, while loved and encouraged, won't be counted as entries.
  2. Make your entry before the closing date of Wednesday, November 23. If you don't live near me and you win, I want to make sure you get your passes inthe mail on time.
The winner will be chosen entirely at random based on comment number.

My friend Val (Traveler's mom) and I have needed to take a road trip for a while now, so we'll be there. We haven't picked which day yet — we'll probably wait for the judging programs before deciding. See you in the shopping areas, if not at ringside!

Friday, November 04, 2011

AKC Tries to Woo Back Owner/Handlers

I was never that great a handler, between lack of coordination and stage fright. My hat's off to anyone who sticks with it.

MB-F once published statistics for 2008 and 2009 that show the percentages of wins that go to dogs with and without agents named at entry, and you can see that the majority of Winners and BOBs are awarded to dogs with no agent listed. The majorities change for Group Firsts and BIS, though. Although the class and breed win ratios look good for the agent-less dogs and the thesis is proved that judges don't always put up handlers, the stats don't distinguish between dogs who just don't have their handlers named in the show catalog, and those being handled by their owners or other non-professionals.

You have to give AKC credit for trying, though. Between offering the 4-6 Month Puppy class and the Open Show to attract more AOH entries, AKC is hoping to get more owner-handlers out there with their puppies and class dogs. The idea is kind of nice: a lower-pressure environment where owner-handlers can just show their class dogs and compete only with other owner-handlers and their class dogs. Of course, the honors you can win at Open shows don't count toward a real CH or GCH, so amateurs still have to get out there and compete with the professionals in order to finish their dogs. The Amateur Owner-Handler (AOH) class at AKC shows is still relatively new (it replaced Novice, which hardly anyone entered anyway), but in my time stewarding since it started, I have yet to see the AOH entry get the win where any other competition is involved.

AKC hasn't given up on its hopes of getting more buckage from the non-professionals. Here is a blurb from the October AKC Board minutes describing the Best Owner/Handler. See Page 22, Attachment C. AKCommunicates! describes the Owner/Handler Series thusly:

AKC Owner/Handler Series

The AKC Owner/Handler Series will showcase owner handled dogs at well attended dog shows geographically distributed across the country. The AKC Owner/Handler competition will be conducted following Best of Breed judging in each breed ring. All dogs in the BOB competition (including WD & WB) will stay in the ring after the judge makes their placements in BOB competition. The ring steward will ask all professional handlers to leave the ring and then judge will then select the Best Owner Handler (BOH).

It sounds like a good enough idea, though as a ring steward I'm not thrilled about having one more thing to juggle at shows where we already have Puppy, Veteran, and BBE extravaganzas and their separate groups to judge. On the other hand, we adapted to awarding the Selects after only a couple of hiccups, so this is just one more thing we'll have to keep track of (not to mention the entirely new sets of ribbons we'll need for the 4-6 Puppies). As an owner-handler, you have to at least get Winners for consideration. There's also that mention of "well attended dog shows." I'm reasonably willing to bet that none of the shows north of Massachusetts will be deemed sufficiently "well attended" so that BOH can be offered. If you want encouragement, folks, be prepared to owner-handle at the Big E.

It's nice to see that AKC still cares enough about revenues form owner-handlers that they'll keep trying to get more of them back into the ring. I honestly hope that the experiment works. What do you think?

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

4-6 Month Puppy Class/Open Shows

Dinah would have been a little handful in the 4-6 Month Puppy classes! Here she is at 18 weeks of age, playing in the mud. (She'll turn 6 tomorrow! Where does the time go??)

After we held a Beginner Puppy class at our National Specialty, AKC solicited input from the committee on how they thought the event went. People we talked to loved seeing the little puppies — it's just too bad that the show photographer didn't get any candids that day. (A lot of photos are showing up on Facebook, though.) Our judge LOVED her assignment, and wanted to take all of the puppies home with her. The only suggestions people made were that the puppies be separated by gender, as the older ones are.

AKC has announced that the 4-6 Month Puppy class is now official. You may show your puppies at regular all-breed shows, or at the newest type of conformation event: the Open Show.

Here is the official scoop on both news items, borrowed from AKCommunicates!...

Four-to-Six Month Puppy Class

The Four-to-Six Month Puppy competition will be open to dogs that are at least four months of age but under six months on the day of the event. Classes will be offered for AKC recognized breeds and varieties as well as Miscellaneous and FSS breeds. Professional handlers are not permitted to exhibit in this class.

Entrants in the Four-to-Six Month Puppy class will compete for Best of Breed and Best of Opposite Sex to Best of Breed. Group and Best in Show Puppy competition will also be offered.

Four-to-Six Month Puppy competition will take place in a separate ring(s) from the regular class judging in order to avoid delays in the judging of regular classes. Classes will not be divided by sex in this competition.

Certificate of Merit (CM)

Certificate of Merit points can be earned in the Four-to-Six Month Puppy class at a regular all-breed or specialty show, at an Open Show and in Miscellaneous classes. The Certificate of Merit, a suffix title, requires 15 points awarded in accordance with the following point structure.
Dogs Competing   Points
2   1
4   2
8   3
12   4
16   5

AKC had me with the 4-6 Month Puppy classes, but semi-lost me with the expanded competition and the CM. I can totally understand why someone would want to get out there and win with a promising youngster, and I'd have gone for it myself when Dinah was still a little fuzzball. I'm just not entirely sure I want to see baby puppies chasing points for the title and being campaigned the same way the adults are. Let puppies be puppies!

Open Show

An Open Show is an informal American Kennel Club sanctioned conformation event at which dog clubs, judges, stewards, and exhibitors and their dogs gain experience needed for licensed events.

All-breed clubs must offer classes for all registerable breeds and varieties and for purebred dogs of any breed eligible for entry in the Miscellaneous Class and all FSS recordable breeds.

Classes offered include:
  • 4-6 Month Puppy Class
  • 6-9 Month Puppy Class
  • 9-12 Month Puppy Class
  • Open Class
Licensed and member clubs may hold two sanctioned Open Shows each year in addition to their two championship shows.

The Open Show is a terrific idea — think of it as being sort of like a B conformation-only match with points toward the new Certificate of Merit. This is a great way for everyone to get in practice "that counts." It's a great place for provisional judges to pick up experience with breeds, and it makes for a great training ground for everyone else involved with a dog show. Best of all, licensed and member clubs may hold them without having to give up their all-breed shows to do so.

Most importantly, the event is designed to be owner-handler friendly and geared toward the dogs and puppies in the classes. Champions of record and professional handlers are not permitted.

The October AKC Board Minutes contain information about the 4-6 Month Puppy class, Open shows, and more. See the attachments at the end of the minutes for the details and complete rules. The minutes themselves are fascinating reading, and include much discussion about new breeds in the registration pipeline.