The Most Positive Dog Show Experiences

Exhibitors tell Dogs in Review magazine about the most positive experiences they’ve had in the dog show world.

Exhibitors wouldn’t immerse themselves in the dog show world without loving it. There are a lot of positive experiences at dog shows ranging from just spending time with the dogs, to meeting new friends and mentors, to the elation of winning a Group or Best in Show. We asked the Dogs In Review Facebook fans to tell us about the most positive experiences they’ve had in the dog show world. Here’s what they said.

Aisha Bierman: For me one time was getting two Best in Groups in one day (one with a French Bulldog and one with a Whippet), then winning Junior in Show with the same Whippet. I will never forget that and the comment the judge made on my handling!

Kerry Rushby: For me it was winning Best of Breed at Crufts in 2004 with my Leonberger. I was only 18 years old and still remain the youngest person in the breed to own a UK Champion and judge the breed at top level in the UK (CCs).

Kia Pirro: I met my boyfriend at Westminster, and we’ve been together ever since. He shows Malamutes and I show Collies.

Kathy Hawkins: Being in for Winner’s Bitch with my first show dog, next to me in the line-up was Robin Novack. As I had never been in for WB, I was a bit overwhelmed. After we lined up and as the judge walked past us, Robin whispered to me to keep my bitch’s head up on our go around. I ended up going WB for a major that day! Robin has always been kind, helpful and an example of what true sportsmanship is all about, as well as becoming a dear friend!

Bambi Rader: Winning Best Brood Matron at my first ever National Specialty. I was 12.

Susan Stacy Lowder: A dog show judge friend (someone I would not have known outside of dogs for any reason) helped us to get our daughter an appointment with an Autism Specialist for evaluation. We had been through several doctors and diagnosis/theories which conflicted. We were at wits end. The specialist saw her, diagnosed her, put us in touch with therapists and changed her life! She is now 12 years old, mainstreamed in school (makes the honor roll) and plays the cello. Dog show people are a special community bound by the love of dogs. I have taken away so much more than ribbons from my involvement: lifelong friends, an extended family and this amazing act of kindness … I’ve also had the pleasure of enjoying other people’s incredible dogs! The judge: Don Jones. He’ll forever be our hero!

Kimberly Ball Ristedt: Watching my first show dog win BOB at our National Specialty from the classes and meeting dog show “family!”

Christina Houchard Miller: My most positive experience is enjoying the sport as a family. My mother brought me into the dog show world, and I have now brought my son into the dog show world. Single best experience as a family — watching my son take Best Junior Handler and Select Bitch at the Canaan Dog National Specialty in 2009 with my parents at ringside.

Wendy MacDonald March: For us — winning Best in Show, Best in Specialty and Best Veteran in Specialty in the SAME weekend with a 10.5-year-old Golden had to be the best!

Lisa Boyer: Dog shows come and they go … ribbons fade with time. The winning was glorious, but my most memorable moment was meeting a person who was to be my best friend for what I hope will be forever.

Pauline Masaschi: Been in the game 40 years, and I will never forget winning the Dalmatian Club of America National in Mattamoras, Penn., under the famous Isabel Robson with an entry of about 900. Just to win this prestigious event and have the famous Bill McFadden go BOS. I did it owner-handled with my bitch ‘Samantha’ who ended up No. 1 Dalmatian.

Carol Ramsay: We’ve won BIS at Crufts and watched our dog win BIS at Westminster, but the most positive thing in the dog show world has got to be the dear friends we’ve made along the way … priceless.

Kathy Dolge: Meeting my best friend on the raisin circuit, when it was a circuit! I can still see us sitting watching the show and knowing we’d be friends for a long time!

Dorothy O’Neil: Winning my first point.

Lisa Higham: Had my girl on the last go around the ring. She was a class bitch, but there was something about that moment; it was slow motion, and we were in perfect sync. It was only a few seconds of pure joy, but that memory is one feeling I will never forget.

Brooke Brown: The day my daughter earned her Grand Championship on her dog! People I didn’t even know had been watching her for the past two years as she worked on her title, and they were there cheering her on, congratulating and hugging her. I will never forget the day that the village came together to raise a child. So very blessed!

Jennifer Kassay Phelps: So many awesome experiences to mention, but two stand out. Number one was asking someone to mentor me. She was an excellent mentor, and we had many long hours of conversations on pedigrees and past and current dogs as we traveled to numerous shows. She’s no longer showing, but she set me on the right track, trained me well and introduced me to some of my closest friends. Number two has got to be going Best Puppy at our pre-National specialty with my first home-bred puppy.

Judith Kalman: Meeting my second family — friends! For me, a dog show is not about winning a title. It is the adventure of traveling, meeting old and new friends, having fun with my dogs and living the lifestyle of the crazy dog show people. Hmmm, OK, winning is also pretty cool!

Kathy McGrane Helming: My single most positive thing wasn’t in the wins, but the dogs and what they gave me along the way: a journey of good friends, good places and a feeling of just belonging.

Peggy D. Jackson: Walking out of the ring with no ribbon, and never would I trade my dog for the one that won!

Deborah Williams: Winning WB from BB class dog. She was my first WB from my first litter.

Barbara Browning: It was meeting a wonderful lady who later provided me with my two lovely Afghan Hounds.

Jodi Casillo: It was winning second place with a 100 score in RA after my Giant had tripped me before entering the ring. They figured he wouldn’t listen to me. He loves to perform!

Janet Warner: One was meeting Anne Rogers Clark. I will never forget her chucking my dog under the chin and saying, “Aren’t you a handsome fellow?” as she walked by. Like having the president kiss your baby. 




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