Maybe it was because I started out completely inexperienced in the show ring, with Max who is not a “flashy” dog, but I never really cared much about wins. I loved my dog and he was beautiful to me, and that was all that really mattered. Max’s route to a championship was slow and arduous. When it came, it was more of a checkbox – now we could spend more time on the fun stuff: agility!
Showing Stanley was a different sort of experience but mostly a relief that he was so easy. I was a better handler and he racked up his championship points to finish at a much younger age, then followed it up with a championship in a second country.
Showing at our National Specialty last October was a debut of sorts, Stan’s introduction to the “big boys” (and girls) in the breed. Again, I love this dog and he’s gorgeous to me but I don’t generally spend time thinking about how others in the breed assess his strengths and weaknesses. Frankly I was shocked when Stanley won his large 16-20 month dog class in the Sweepstakes and well beyond that when he took Best Opposite Sex in Sweepstakes (with his sister going Best in Sweeps).
Today I finally got a copy of the judge’s critique from the show. Suffice it to say, I am tickled pink with the praise heaped on the puppy dog. (So why do I still have such a hard time with praise directed at me?) If you’re not a beardie person, you’ll have to trust me that this hits upon the high points of structure in our breed.
“Littermate to my Best in Sweepstakes bitch, this 19+ month old boy of correct size and lovely outline is already a finished Champion. Nice head with good dark pigmentation. Angles well balanced and not exaggerated. Appealing flow of neck into firm, strong topline and well-rounded croup. Very sound to go over with correct depth, shape and length of rib. Gaited freely with balanced movement. I was pleased to award him Best of Opposite Sex in Sweeps.” – Judge Tom Dixon, 2008 BCCA National Specialty