Top 10 Wishes For Dog Shows

What do dog people really want?

If you could have 10 wishes come true, what would they be? Barring the impossibles, like peace, health and eternal happiness for all mankind, and focusing for the moment only on our rarefied world of breeding and showing purebred dogs, what do dog people really want?

There would, of course, be the fantasy perennials, almost as impossible to achieve as those above, of winning Westminster every year… breeding the perfect litter every time… making sure that all judges are both 100 percent fair AND totally admire every dog you bring out… But there are quite a few more realistic concerns that I think most dog show people share as well.

For what it’s worth, here’s what I believe, judging from the letters we get and the dog people I talk to, that the fancy’s Top 10 wishes might be, in Letterman-style reverse:

10. Written or oral critiques. Pretty much everyone agrees that if judges were required to justify their placements, everyone would benefit. It works at other animal shows in the U.S., from cats to cattle, and it works at dog shows abroad, so what’s taking AKC so long?  

9. A champion title that means more than the current one. With a total of 22,449 new AKC champions in 2004, a Grand or Superior Champion title denoting true excellence in breed competition is long overdue.  

8. Fewer shows! One way to make wins more meaningful would be to limit the number of shows. This, however, is an idea that, although often suggested, falls almost into the realm of fantasy unless there’s a major overhaul within the AKC

7. AKC should start publishing its stud book again and stop the embargo on registration data. (To be honest I may be the only one who feels strongly about this, but I still think it’s a betrayal of the fancy that these data, vital for any serious breeder, are not accessible to the public.)

6. Better judging. No argument from anyone here, I think. The main question is just how this could be accomplished: stricter tests? more seminars? Does anyone have a realistic suggestion?

5. A valid ratings system. Currently the only systems are accumulative, based on number of points or wins, leaving an outstanding but less heavily campaigned dog out in the dark. Who will come up with the first really intelligent ratings system that takes percentage and quality of wins into consideration?

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