Q. Why do some breeds seem to win Group First and Best in Show more often than others?
A. It’s probably fair to say that some breeds in each group tend to place and win more often than others. Breeds have a variety of temperaments and not all are meant to be flashy, extroverted showdogs. The glamorous Afghan charges around the ring with head and tail raised high, but other sighthounds such as Greyhounds and Scottish Deerhounds are more sedate in the ring, moving with their heads carried lower. And scenthounds like Bloodhounds and Beagles who are bred to sniff the ground often show that way in the ring. In the Non-Sporting Group, the lavishly coated Poodles, Lhasa Apsos, and Tibetan Terriers can make the Boston Terrier, Schipperke, and French Bulldog look a bit “plain Jane” by comparison.
However, the knowledgeable judge respects breed integrity and no more wants a dignified Bulldog or Chow to run around the ring, not showing off its slow, characteristic gait, than have a German Shepherd Dog hold back and not trot full out in the ring. It is these nuances that make each breed unique. Sometimes it takes a bolder, more confident judge to find a breed of a single entry and acknowledge that dog’s excellence by placing him in the Group, and that often breaks the ice for him and triggers other judges to do likewise.
Most judges are also so focused on the dogs in the ring that they tune out the audience’s partisan applause although many dogs turn on the showmanship when they hear the applause and put on a stronger performance.