Spoiler alert: Please note that the following report contains results of the 2010 AKC/Eukanuba National Championship dog show that will be aired on ABC Television on Sunday, Jan. 23.
Dog lovers around the world are united by our passion and nowhere was that more evident than in Long Beach, Calif., over Dec. 4-5 when dogs from more than 40 different countries, along with their owners, handlers and proud breeders, competed at the 10th anniversary of the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship. A host of performance events and breed club information booths — complete with live dogs to meet and hug — engaged a capacity crowd both days.
National breed clubs pulled out all the stops in decorating their booths to display the historic origins of their breeds, or celebrate the depiction of their breeds in movies, books and pop culture. From “The Wizard of Oz” that made the Cairn Terrier an icon for all time to a Camelot-inspired display for the Old English Sheepdogs to a backdrop of pyramids against which elegant Pharaoh Hounds reclined, clubs outdid themselves sharing their knowledge with enthralled visitors.
One level below, dogs competed for two days under discerning international judges. A Best of Breed win here is cherished; affirmation from the experts that breeders have produced dogs sound in mind and body. In this prestigious competition, judges sorted through a staggering 2,466 dogs and 2,600 entries, to arrive at a Best in Show lineup of seven dogs to vie for the top spot.
In the Sporting Group, judge Erik Bergishagen, a longtime breeder of Labs and English Setters, selected the German Wirehaired Pointer Ch. Ripsnorters’s Mt. View Lookout for first place.
Patricia Laurans evaluated the Hound Group and found her ultimate winner in the Whippet Ch. Starline’s Chanel. This has been an impressive year for Chanel, who has taken home Group Firsts from Westminster and Morris & Essex.
Working Group judge Mr. Kari Jarvinen travelled all the way from Finland to assess the Working Group contenders. He found his winner in the charming Portuguese Water Dog, Ch. Aviators Luck Be A Lady.
The always competitive Terrier Group was judged by Charlotte Patterson. She selected the Smooth Fox Terrier Ch. Slyfox Sneaks A Peek for first place.
Jon Cole had the honor of officiating in the Toy Group. His choice was the top Toy in America who may possibly end the year as No. 1 dog all breeds, the Pekingese Ch. Palacegarden Malachy. This dog demonstrates the classic Pekingese roll as he makes his way around the ring, and his handler, David Fitzpatrick, a Pekingese master at his craft, shows him at the correct pace.
In the Non-Sporting Group, the white powderpuff with the Christmasy name caught judge Paula Hartinger’s eye. He is the Bichon Frise Ch. Saks Hamelot Little Drummer Boy.
The Herding Group boasted some powerful contenders but judge Dr. Thomas Davies, who had been instrumental in getting the Bearded Collie breed recognized in the U.S., found a relatively little-known dog, the red merle Australian Shepherd Ch. Propwash Reckon. Earlier in the evening, Reckon’s breeder, Ms. Leslie Frank, was presented with the AKC Award for Top Breeder in the Herding Group.
From this impressive lineup, judge Jean Fournier examined all seven and ultimately selected the Aussie Reckon as her Best in Show. He will have his image sculpted and added to the magnificent perpetual trophy.
We would have no great dogs to show were it not for the dedicated breeders who work diligently to produce consistent quality generation after generation. Competition in the Bred-by-Exhibitor Groups pays tribute to the art and science of breeding excellent dogs. Polly Smith chose for her Best Bred-by-Exhibitor in Show Ch. Kimro’s Soldier Boy, a Miniature Pinscher.
Over the course of two nights the Eukanuba World Challenge saw the top dogs from more than 40 countries compete in a glamorous event complete with flag bearers and national anthems being played. The respected Carla Molinari of Portugal, president of her homeland’s kennel club, selected the Doberman Pinscher Ch. Alex De Akido San from Argentina, for this highest honor of World Challenge Winner.
In 2011, the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship moves to Orlando, Fla., on Dec. 17-18. Mark the dates on your calendar and we’ll see you there.
Allan Reznik is the Editor-in-Chief of Dogs in Review magazine and has attended each of the 10 AKC/Eukanuba National Championships, in Florida and California.