In the Ring with your American Eskimo Dog
Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your experience in the show ring with your dog:
Show your respect for the sport by dressing nicely to show your dog. In AKC, men usually wear suits and women dresses or suits. UKC is usually less formal. Either way, the care you take with how you dress will complement the presentation of your dog. But never pull attention away from your dog. Choose a leash and clothing that allow your dog to be the center of attention.
Wear your armband on the left arm. Arrive at ring-side before judging begins for your breed. In UKC shows, check to see the order for the groups, and be available for the start of the judging of the Northern Dogs. At AKC shows, you will have a ring-time assigned, and you will be able to see how many other breeds and dogs will be judged before the Eskies start. Arrive well in advance. Usually you will simply arrive at ring-time and wait ringside for your turn.
Always treat the judge with respect. Know the AKC and UKC standards for the American Eskimo Dog, as this is what the judge will be comparing your dog to. Watch the judge. You don't want to miss instructions (or a point showing you as the winner). Also watch your dog. Make sure it is always looking its best. You never know when the judge may look your way.
It's okay to ask the judge what he/she thought of your dog. Do this after the class in UKC, after American Eskimo Dog judging in AKC. Accept the judge's comments as an opinion you paid for. Do not argue or disagree. Congratulate the winners when you lose, and be gracious when you win.
Be courteous to others in and out of the ring. Be aware of where other people and dogs are so you never "run up on" another dog from behind. If you play with your dog or squeak a toy, make sure your dog is not interfering with another.
Enjoy yourself and help your dog have fun. Consciously relax, smile and connect with your dog. Remember that your dog is a winner no matter where it places. Dogs with "attitudes" often win! Remember that dogs have bad days, too. Showing is fun whether you win or not. Winning is fun, but it is not as important as your relationship with your dog. Love your dog regardless. Your dog is doing this for you!
Stacking your Eskie
You will ask your dog to stand still in a position that shows how well he or she is proportioned. You will want to practice standing your dog before you show.
- Front legs are square and straight under the shoulders.
- Rear legs square under the hips with straight hocks.
- Feet should point straight ahead and not turn in or out.
- Dog should look balanced.
- Head, tail and ears should be up.
- Topline should be level.
Expression is important. This is another reason to work at keeping your dog relaxed and happy. Baiting is allowed in AKC with squeakers or food but don't go overboard. Baiting with food and squeakers is allowed only at the judge's discretion in the UKC. Make sure you know whether bait is allowed by the judge before taking food or a toy in the ring with you at a UKC show. Often, you will see a sign by the entrance to the ring.
You may stack your dog with your hands at any point while you are in the ring, but many handlers coax their dogs into position using only the leash and bait. At one point, you will be asked to stack the dog on a table to be examined more closely by the judge. Most handlers hand-stack their dogs on the table.
Dog must allow touching (practice this!) without biting or threatening to bite. The stack on the table allows the judge to check angulation, bone density, body proportions, testicles in males, tail length, head proportions, overall structure, and other points listed in the breed standard.
In the UKC, you are asked to show the dog's bite when on the table. In AKC, it may be you or the judge who shows the bite; the judge will either examiine the bite or ask you to show it, so be ready and pay attention. All judges want to see the front bite. Some may also want to see rear teeth.
The following describes a typical class in a dog show. Every Judge is different, however, so listen to intructions and make sure you understand. Ask if you don't. It is a good habit to identify and watch your judge before your turn; whatever ring procedure a judge uses on the day will generally be the same for all the dogs. However a judge may always give a special instruction if he or she is trying to choose between two dogs.
Wait until permission is given by either the steward or the judge to enter the ring. Stack in a line where indicated (but this doesn't usually happen if only one dog is in the class). At the judge's signal, you will all go once around the ring together to end up in another line (stack).
The first handler then puts the first dog on the table and stacks the dog. The judge goes over the first dog on the table while others can relax, but don't overdo this! Maintain control and realize the judge may glance over at you.
The judge goes over the first dog and checks its bite while the dog is on the table (Note: in UKC, dogs may be judged on the floor). Then the first dog does a pattern according to the judge's instructions, usually a "triangle" or "up and back" on the diagonal. Then the first dog goes around the ring. The judge will be looking at the dog's movement from front and back and from the side.
The second dog goes on the table while the first dog is going around the ring the final time, if this can be accomplished without getting in the way or distracting the judge. Try not to make the judge wait for you when you set your dog on the table, but take the time needed to present your dog well.
The second dog repeats what the first dog did and so on until all dogs have been examined. There may be one more "once around together." Some judges will have the dogs go around one at a time; if so, watch for your signal to start.
The judge may move the dogs up or back in line or even excuse some dogs. Some judges place the dogs in placement order at this time. The judge may request that two dogs move together. There may be another "once around together" or even "gait until told to stop." Just follow instructions as best you can and keep showing your best.
The judge names the winner(s). In AKC, winners must go to the placement signs so that their armband numbers can be recorded. If you win your class, be ready to go back in for the winners class!