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The Big E – Experts or Critics?

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128 – July 2019


When and how did we all become experts? Why do we feel compelled to even be one? More importantly, what makes us an expert? Who decides that someone actually is one? I ask all these questions because I am concerned. What I see are critics disguised as experts, with more of the former and less of the latter. Confusing one for the other is troubling.

I first started to realize that critics were portraying themselves as experts back in my early days of exhibiting Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, prior to the breed’s recognition by AKC. The specialties were all day events in hotel ballrooms or on hotel grounds. They were held over weekends, once a month, in one of the four regions established by the parent club. The serious breeders traveled all over the country to show their own dogs. Professional handlers were excluded from showing dogs other than their own.

Exhibitors remained ringside when they were not grooming or showing their dogs. The chatter and serious conversations started early in the day and continued until Best in Show was decided. Catalogs were reference books to be studied seriously and marked accurately. Judges were revered. Their knowledge respected. Their choices applauded.

Top breeders usually entered several dogs at each of these shows. That required traveling with numerous Vari-Kennels loaded into vehicles and airplane cargo holds, depending on the distance traveled. It also provided a novice like me with the opportunity to meet those icons of the breed and see their dogs, both those they bred and the ones they were importing, mostly from England.

It proved to be an invaluable learning experience for me. I sat spellbound at ringside constantly checking my catalog. Anytime I saw a dog that caught my eye and made my heart skip a beat, I noted the breeding. At opportune times, I approached the exhibitor to see the dog closely and ask questions. Some were welcoming, others not. Then there were those who approached me when they noticed I was seriously looking at dogs. I listened and observed. I took my time, lots of time, until I was certain of what I wanted and from whom. I began to distinguish the experts from the critics.

Click here to read the complete article
128 – July 2019

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Posted by on Jul 10 2019. Filed under Current Articles, 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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