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 ClassThe 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.
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 ShowAn 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
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.