Friday, July 31, 2009


This time of year (but if truth be told most all year) you can feel the excitement among the German Shepherd Dog community anticipating a very special fall event. Many are making plans now or have already done so. They’re booking their hotel rooms, getting commitments from their handlers, they’ve got their airline tickets reserved, they’re making reservations for the Victory dinner and maybe even planning to attend some educational seminars. But whatever activities they plan on doing, you can be sure of one thing, they’re all going to watch or participate in the greatest show on earth in the German Shepherd Dog world. That show is known as the German Shepherd Dog National Specialty Show! This year marks the 96th. Specialty dog show. If you’re interested in conformation, obedience, agility, herding, rally or working dog sport trail or just because you love the breed, there’s something for everyone there. Come look at all the champions and future stars of the breed.

The German Shepherd Dog National Specialty show is put on by The German Shepherd Dog Club of America and a host specialty club. The parent club works in conjunction with the host club making sure the area or grounds they chose can comfortably hold spectators and exhibitors who have come to watch the greatest German Shepherd Dogs in the USA and Canada. Each year, to be fair to the membership a club from a different part of the United States gets an opportunity to host this most prestigious of events. One year it might be a club on the west coast, another in the central part of the states and then another on the east coast.

It takes a tremendous amount of effort, blood, sweat and tears of the many dedicated volunteers from both clubs to put on a successful show. Not only are the grounds where the event is held is taken into consideration. Things like airports that one can fly into with their dogs, hotels to stay in, restaurant availability, concession stands, and space for vendors, rental cars, local attractions, weather for that time of year to insure people pack the appropriate clothing. Then they see if there are special rooms where they can put on their educational programs, also they look to see where they can have their Victory dinner at the end of the show. Let’s not forget those who sell advertising for the show’s catalog? Is there a place for people coming in motors homes to park? What’s the parking like for all the people who will be at the dog show? Are there adequate grounds for the dogs to be exercised? Is there running water for dogs to be bathed? How about the restrooms? Is there an adequate amount to accommodate the people who plan to attend?

Having attended a number of Nationals myself either showing or as a spectator, I can tell you these people take themselves seriously to put on the best show that you have ever seen. But when the sun goes down, no matter how exhausted you may be from all the excitement of the day, many still find time to PARTY! Many people leave their hotel room doors open and people just walk in one room and out the other reconnecting with friends and making new ones. Sometimes the party is at a favorite restaurant where the locals hang out. But one thing is for sure, everyone is in a festive mood…….well except maybe some of those whose dog didn’t take home a ribbon earlier that day.

Whether you come to show, or to watch, one thing is for sure, you’re going to be entertained. Where else will you have the top dogs in the country in one arena? Where else do you have the opportunity to meet some of the most well respected people in the breed? So whether you leave the show with a smile on your face, or tears in your eyes, you just shared a part of history as a new Grand Victor/Victrix, Obedience Victor/Victrix has been crowned. You watched the Parade of Greats and the Stud dog, brood bitch presentations. You watched as some of the smartest and best trained dogs competed for obedience titles. You owe it to yourself to try to attend at least one of these “once in a lifetime” type of shows. Come for one day or stay for six or seven days! Buy yourself a GSD t-shirt, jewelry, magazines or books on the breed. There’s something for everyone to take back home as a keepsake of this most special event of the year. Bring your cameras and be prepared to be entertained. You won’t be sorry!

To find out more about The German Shepherd Dog National Specialty Show:

My rating of The GSD National: presentation (4), educational: (4), friendliness of the clubs hosting: (4)

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