The fun of showing a dog and winning at a National Specialty show is that your dog just competed against the top dogs in the country and won! Besides the thrill of the victory, some of the top breeders and exhibitors just saw your dog do it! The applause is deafening, the excitement contagious and long after the clapping dies down, you will revisit that day over and over again in your mind.
Looking over the history of the past German Shepherd Dogs on the reviewed site of the German Shepherd Dog Club of America I counted nine dogs (I may be off a smidgen) that were Grand Victor more than once. The first dog was Ch. Cito Bergerslust, SchH and the last dog to do it was the beautiful Ch. Marquin’s Extra Extra. The dog that won more Grand Victor titles than any other was Ch. Arko v Sadowaberg of Jessford CD who achieved those titles back in the 1930’s. He was awarded this honor four times! I don’t know what the entries were back then or if there is even a record of it, but I’m assuming it was smaller than in the years that followed. For comparison, I only counted three Grand Victrix’s that ever were crowned more than once and all of them were in the beginning of the recorded breed’s history.
As anyone can tell you who has competed on the National level, it’s a whole other ball game than showing at a local club’s specialty. Those shows are just a stepping stone to the ultimate platform to showcase ones dog. These dogs are not just taken out of a crate and thrown into the arena. They have been conditioned, exercised and trained for this day. This is what their breeder/owners have been planning since the puppy was born. It takes a very special dog to win a very special title at the National. Win, place or show, it’s such an honor to step foot in that ring!
Because the cream of the crop and the best of the best are paraded for all to see the competition is tougher than at any other American dog show in the country. The judge examines, he watches, he touches, he thinks, he compares and then when the audience can’t stand it for a second more, he points to his winner. A new Grand Victor and Victrix now reigns supreme over the German Shepherd land of champions! The owners are elated, the handlers are exhausted but proud of their win, and the spectators stomp their feet and clap their hands in approval of the judge’s choice.
The hoopla and good wishes will continue for weeks following the show. It’s a win that for all those connected to this very special dog won’t ever forget. But what about all the other entries whose dog was just as good and perhaps under another judge would have been crowned the new Grand Victor? So like many will do, they’ll plan to show again at next years National and hope that they too will experience the thrill of victory.
The next year comes and with the same enthusiasm and dreams of grandeur, some of the same dogs that were shown the previous year are shown again this year. The dogs exhibiting number is picked up by the owner and given to the handler. The ring steward checks the numbers of the dogs as they enter the ring. Lot’s of familiar dogs and new ones too trot into the ring. Along with this year’s entries, last years or the years before Grand Victor proudly gaits into the ring as well. How do you feel about this? If he wins again, how does this make you feel? Do you think it’s fair?
I talked to people on both sides of the fence about this subject. Some feel that the dog has already won. Let a new Grand Victor be crowned. They feel that the breed should have a new and different Grand Victor each year. Other’s feel that it’s a sport and they can show the dog as many years as they want. It is after all, a competition. Also it’s a different judge who will judge the dogs but why take the chance of seeing the Grand Victor lose? They feel if you want to show the dog again for people to see how beautifully he’s matured; put him in the Honor Parade!
When you look at competitive sports, time and time again you will see past champions and winners compete the following year or in following events. Boxers win the title and then they fight defending it. Baseball teams, football teams, basketball team, etc. win the title one year and come out and compete the following year to defend it. Then the argument I hear is they are franchises and owned by people and get paid big advertising dollars. At a dog show, a Grand Victor doesn’t have to defend his title. No one can take it away. No one is paying the owner advertising money. To show a Grand Victor again is a choice that the owner makes. They don’t have to do it.
Okay then so that is the discussion that was put to me and I thought I’d share it and see what others think about it.
My rating: I can understand both points of view, so……retire the GV from competition on the National level: (4), on the other side……it’s a sport & he should still be able to compete: (4)