Showing Your Eskie
Have you ever thought that it might be fun to show your dog in a dog show? You're right! It is great fun.
Dog shows happen nearly every weekend of the year in Texas. UKC and AKC licensed shows can be found in cities of all sizes. The dog show community consists of people of all kinds, all ages and backgrounds, professions and walks of life. They have one thing in common: like you, they love dogs.
Dog shows are a family affair.
At a UKC show in Hutto, children compete
in Junior Showmanship classes.
Most people associate dog shows with breed competition, where dogs are judged on their conformation to a breed standard. The standard describes an ideal dog of the breed in terms of temperament, size, movement and physical attributes such as coat, proportions and coloring.
However, dog shows may also offer agility and obedience trials, as well as more specialized performance events such as tracking, herding, and lure coursing. If you have never been to a dog show, you are in for a treat.
Upcoming UKC shows are listed on the United Kennel Club Web site. Information about upcoming AKC shows can be found on Superintendent Jack Onofrio's Web site. In addition to checking Onofrio's complete listing of upcoming shows, check the listing of closed shows. These are shows happening in the next couple of weeks.
UKC shows accept entries right up to the morning of the day of the show. Just go! UKC shows are smaller (maybe 100 dogs) and more informal than AKC shows. You will probably spot the Eskies right away. Or you can ask around to find the ring where the Northern Dogs will be shown.
AKC shows are bigger (maybe 1000 dogs) and are closed for entries a couple of weeks in advance. During the last week, breed counts will be posted on the Onofrio site, along with the judging program. You can look at the breed counts for the Non-Sporting group to see how many Eskies, if any, are entered in the show. Most shows will have at least a few, sometimes a dozen or more.
At an AKC show, you can look for the superintendent's table. A catalog will be available for inspection, or you can buy your own copy. The catalog will list the Eskies first in the section on the Non-Sporting dogs. You will be able to identify any dog by the number on the handler's armband. You can look up the dog's registered name, owner, breeder, dam and sire.
If you are thinking about getting an Eskie, regardless of whether you want to show the dog, you might want to go to a show so you can meet some Eskies in "person" and talk to their owners.
How Can I Get Started in Dog Shows?
You'll need a dog! If you have a mixed breed dog, you can compete in agility or obedience at UKC shows. Agility is an exciting team sport for you and your dog. Competitive obedience is both challenging and rewarding. What you learn about your dog -- and yourself -- will benefit both of you in more ways than you can imagine. Contact us or a local all-breed club or training center for more information.
If you have a (more or less!) purebred dog with no pedigree, you can compete in AKC agility and obedience trials. You must first apply for an Indefinite Listing Privilege (ILP).
To be entered in breed competition, your dog must have either UKC or AKC registration. Most Eskies have both (and if you have one, you can get the other). In other words, your dog must have a pedigree ("papers").
In addition, your dog must be intact (not spayed or neutered). This is because breed competition is, in essence, part of the process of selecting breeding stock. Not all show dogs, not even all champion show dogs, are bred, nor should they be. However, a responsible breeder takes very seriously the opportunity to have his or her dogs evaluated by more than one knowedgeable judge.
You don't have to be a breeder or even think about breeding your dog to have fun showing a dog. Breeding should be left to people with the time, money, experience and dedication to do it right. (And yes, it costs money to breed dogs; it is not a way to make money.) Meanwhile, anybody who has a dog with a pedigree can meet wonderful people, learn about dogs, and have whole lot of fun entering dog shows!
A Show Quality Dog
While any dog with a pedigree can be entered in a dog show, it is soon obvious that show dogs are not your average purebred dogs. You can learn and have fun showing any dog, but realistically your success will be limited unless your dog is what is called "show quality."
Show dogs are dogs that have been bred, selected and acquired for show. In other words, if you weren't looking for a show dog when you got your purebred dog, it probably isn't a show quality dog.
Many enthusiastic exhibitors start out with a dog that is not top quality. They have a great time and love their dogs as much as we all love all our dogs. Once bitten by the show-bug, however, they want their next dog to be a winner.
If you are reading this Web site because you are in the market for a puppy, then you might want to consider getting a dog you can show. Then you can read our tips for showing a dog, go to some classes, enter a show and start working on your first championship!
Why Show an Eskie?
If you would like to show a dog, or if you have tried showing another breed of dog, it might interest you to know that Eskies are an excellent choice of breed! This is true for several reasons.
Eskies are one of only a few breeds that are fully engaged in both UKC and AKC competition. This means you have twice as many opportunities to show. Our Eskie community shows up in force at both venues. At a UKC show with 100 dogs, 10 might be Eskies! At an AKC show with 1000 dogs, 10 might be Eskies!
The Eskie is just popular enough. You can almost always find some competition (which you'll need to earn championship points), but the numbers are not so great that you haven't got a decent chance of winning.
In AKC competition, to finish a championship a dog must have two major wins. A major win is a win over a certain number of other dogs. The number of dogs it takes to make a major is determined by the AKC Point Schedule for the region of the country where the show is held.
To get a major in Texas with a boxer, for example, your female would have to win a class of 26 bitches! To get a major for your female Eskie, you would have to win a class of 6 bitches. : )
The Eskie requires just enough grooming. Grooming is fun, and fluffy is delightful, but you don't have to be an artist. The rules do not allow us to clip our dogs into an unnatural shape. We wash them and blow them out to show their natural beauty.
Finally, you don't have to be a pro to show an Eskie. The UKC does not even permit dogs to be shown by professional handlers. In the AKC, professional handlers are an important part of the show community. They are very good at grooming, training and presenting dogs in the ring. They work hard at this, and they tend to be successful.
Top-ranked champion Eskies competing for Best of Breed and group placements are very often shown by professional handlers. However, by and large, in the regular classes (where dogs who are not yet champions compete for points) Eskies are shown by their owners.
The three-year-old female Eskie on the right finished her UKC and AKC championships with a first-time owner-handler, and this is not unusual, so long as the dog was a show quality puppy to start with.
Finding a show quality puppy
Your show quality puppy is not listed for sale in the newspaper. A show quality pup will be bred by someone who shows dogs and selectively breeds only their most successful dogs, usually to other breeders' most successful dogs.
A show quality pup is not just any puppy with a pedigree. If you look at a show quality pup's UKC pedigree, you will probably see that both parents and all four grandparents have the title GR CH (grand champion) in front of their names. On the AKC pedigree, you will see CH (champion) in front of all the names.
Contact us, or go to a show and talk to people who are showing dogs. The Eskie community is very friendly and welcoming. The best breeders all know each other. They are not puppy mills; most only occasionally have a litter, but they will know who does have a litter.
Consider looking beyond Texas. Look at the Web sites of breeders, but be sure you are looking at a breeder who is active in the dog world. Do not buy a puppy sight-unseen from Puppymill Dot Com! If you are buying a puppy sight-unseen, make sure you at least know someone who knows the breeder and can vouch for the breeder's reputation.