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Breeders’ Competitions – If You Build it, Will They Come?

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76 – The Annual, 2017-18

The judge points, the crowd cheers, the handle poses with the big ribbon…the owner or backer gets congratulated. Later that night, somebody may remember to call the breeder — you know, the person who created the dog that made it all possible? Without breeders, the handlers would be trotting around with those invisible dogs on the ends of their leads.

I hear time and again that we need to find a way to better recognize our breeders. The AKC does so with its seven group Breeders of the Year, invariably consisting of the sport’s most il- lustrious breeders. But let’s face it, the chances of most of us reaching such lofty heights are about on par with Flo the Progressive© insurance lady getting a lifetime achievement award from the Academy. For most of us, it’s so remote we might as well not try. Fortunately, there are other chances to take home an Oscar of the breeding world.

The AKC National Championship show offers the best recogni- tion to breeders of single dogs available in the U.S., if not the world, with Best Bred-By in Show taking home $15,000 and group winners $1000. According to Michael Canalizo, an average of 35% (and growing) of the dogs entered in the National Championship show are marked as eligible for the Best Bred-By competition. It’s no “also-ran,” but a seriously coveted title second only to the overall Best of Breed award. Even Best Bred-By in Breed receives $100, the same as the overall Best of Breed winner.

In contrast, the National Owner Handled Series (NOHS) Invita- tional, which requires owner handlers to accumulate enough points throughout the year to rank in the Top 10, is obviously held in much lower esteem if prize money is any guide, with BIS receiving no cash prize at all.

Which brings us to the constant comparison brought up when discussing NOHS: “Why don’t they have a comparable Breeders’ series?” or even more often, “Why didn’t they make this a Breeders’ series rather than a consolation prize series?” Ouch. But that answer is easy: money. Offering NOHS gives Owner Handlers who feel the odds are tipped against them an incentive to enter and com- pete in a separate arena. There are more OHs compared to breeders at any show, and chances are breeders would not have the same in- centive. In addition, the cumulative points offered by competing weekend after weekend is an incentive for Owner Handlers to keep on entering. That might work for some Breeder Owners, but they are more likely at home raising the next litter.

Click here to read the complete article
76 – The Annual, 2017-18

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