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Is The Group Still A Conformation Ring?


I am going to address a point I lightly touched on in my last article where I asked judges if they were part of the problem or part of the solution.  This pertains to the Group level at dog shows.  I have heard different judges state that even though they might have a dog that is the best dog in the ring conformation wise, they will not award the win because the dog, “is not ready for the group”.  Does this mean that the dog is not “ready” to gait around the ring one more time? 


v     Does it mean that the Breed judge believes that the Group judge is incapable of making his/her own decision as to who is the best conformation dog in their ring? 

v     Isn’t the group ring supposed to be comprised of the “best of breeds” entered at the show on that day? 

v     Could it be that the dog is not ready to compete with the “seasoned” dogs that are well financed with a professional handler and heavily advertised? 


When did the Group cease to be the ring comprised of the actual “Best of Breeds” and become instead a “spectacle” for the rich and connected?  I am not stating that the dogs that are lucky enough to be financed are not good dogs.  Most of them are.  However, when judges admit that they have had better dogs but they are “not ready” for the group, that tells me that these financially backed dogs are sometimes winning when they are NOT the Best of Breed.


v     Do you think there would be a shake up in the groups if judges started judging conformation according to the breed standards?

v     Do you think judges put up the ranked dog over a better dog because it is safe? 

v     Do they do it because they want to be popular with the handlers? 

v     Do they do it because it is the popular thing to do and they think it will garner them more judging assignments?


I have a breeder/judge friend who hired a handler to “special” a dog a few months ago.  She told me that the dog has been winning the breed but has not broken out in the group yet.  She was lamenting that she was going to have to start an advertising campaign on this dog so he would start getting a piece of the group.  I wondered how advertising would change the dog.  Would the check to the dog magazine suddenly make this dog move better? Would something in his conformation change?  I think we all know that when this dog is advertised he WILL start getting a piece of the group.


It is a sad commentary for the state of AKC shows when judges cannot find a good dog unless it is advertised.  It is also a sad commentary that dog shows at the upper level (Group & BIS) are the playground solely for the dogs that are heavily advertised and campaigned.  I don’t think anyone believes for a minute that the (unknown) better dog will win over a ranked dog in the breed ring at the WKC show.  It just won’t happen. 


Based on the e mail I have received, I believe that people really would like dog shows to return to its roots.  Dog shows should be about the dogs and the best dogs should always win regardless of their show record or lack thereof.  The pomp and circumstance that dog shows have become has changed the focus and true purpose of the dog show.  To compound the problem, AKC has allowed the studbook to be a farce based on the documented studbook fraud.   I wonder, if it becomes common knowledge, will people continue to invest more than the annual income for the average American in a sport based on a registry whose integrity is highly questionable?


v     Do you think that if all of the political nonsense would stop that the dog show would become a “dog” show again?

v     Is the Group ring still a conformation ring? 


It’s just a thought…

Gini Addamo symphonysams@earthlink.net


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