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IMHO – An Answer from Those in the Know!


We asked an AKC Judge, Breeder/Owner/Handler & Professional Handler the following question: Which provides a better show experience: a specialty show combined with an all -breed show or one held separately?  Here’s what they had to say…


For judges, working for specialty clubs that choose to hold their shows in conjunction with an all-breed club or a cluster provides unique opportunities. Think about judging a major entry in a breed where that might rarely happen. An entry at a specialty is often rich with exceptional quality and depth. Judges will then have the pleasure of evaluating those dogs.  With judges’ costs shared with the all- breed show or cluster, the issues of fees and expenses are mitigated. A judge can be chosen on merit, not the price of a hotel room or airline ticket. Multiple shows usually mean varied judging assignments with the other clubs, too. Consider how ideal this very scenario is for a National Specialty club with a low entry breed.

In my personal experience, specialties that are a part of all breeds shows are a win-win situation for the specialty club, all breed club, members, exhibitors, and yes, judges too. Ask around. The upside is compelling.


As an exhibitor, we are spoiled into loving the independent specialty at the hotel with everything in one place. A lot of specialty breed clubs cannot afford the stand-alone hotel specialty anymore. Even the back to back specialties at a hotel has become cost-prohibitive. I believe two different judges for back-to-back specialities definitely improves the entry. Most of the clubs I belong to select Breeder-Judges only and run about three years in advance. That being said, my own club has moved to the AKC National week with this year being our first time with this format. For judges who need mentoring, it should provide a depth of quality not normally seen at all breed shows. Our club did try to pick Supported Entry judges that are on our list and on the all breed show panels to adjucate our breed at these same shows preceding the AKC National Championship. I am looking forward to our first year with this cluster, but I know we will lose the ambiance and privacy of the hotel specialty environment. The judges will for sure enjoy a great depth of quality in their assignment and the spectators, too, will also enjoy an above average entry from outside the ring.


I miss the evening Specialties. Those were my favorites due to camaraderie. Independent Specialty weekends are tremendous but many times logistically or cost-prohibitive. Combined Specialties on a separate day or concurrent are wonderful. It allows for more chances at majors. The ability to cut expenses and travel costs benefits everyone. Personally the the hardest are Specialties combined with the All Breed shows, in my breed. It takes our opportunity for a BISS(BREED) or BOSS (OPP) as we have Varieties and that makes them less special to me. I believe that it is also a win-win for both Specialty and All Breed clubs for cutting costs and boosting entries. The best case scenario is when the All Breeds provide favorable judges for their shows and Specialties take advantage. This is when everyone wins.

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Posted by on Sep 23 2017. Filed under Current Articles, Editorial, Featured. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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