Thursday, December 3, 2009


Whenever one thinks of any sport, you know in order to win you have to beat someone else. No one wants to lose. Everyone wants to win! Then there are those who play, win or lose just to have fun. It really depends upon the sport that you are playing. In the sport of showing dogs, egos are involved and sometimes the big “green eyed monster” shows its ugly head more times than not!

I have two friends who live on either side of the country. My one friend on the west coast has been in the breed for many years and has had her share of winning on the National level. She always seems to do well at most of the Nationals that she enters. Obviously to her credit, she is showing dogs of quality that can compete at the National level. She belongs to a specialty club in her area. She tells me that she gets very little support from her fellow club members and even less well wishes from them. If she received congratulations from any of them, she just might drop dead! What’s up with that, I wonder?

Then there’s my other friend over here on the east coast. She has a beautiful male champion that she shows who has done a lot of Best of Breed and Group winning in the all breed shows and she tells me the same thing. She doesn’t receive any well wishes either and wonders why it’s so darn hard for people to “shake her hand” and be happy for her dog’s winning record.

By nature, I am not a very jealous type of person when it comes to other people’s dogs or possessions. I’m happy for my friends wins and always cheer them on. Heck, I’m even happy for people that win that I don’t know. I don’t know what it is, but there’s something about seeing other people happy that makes me feel good for them also. Oh sure, I wish I had my sister’s walk in shower that’s the size of a closet, but that’s another discussion!

When we show our dogs, lots of times we will be competing against our friend’s dogs. On any other day, you might be clapping and shouting for your friends dog to win, but when you’re showing against them, you are there to beat them. Only one of you will win. That’s when you will need to show good sportsmanship towards your friend even if deep down inside you feel that your dog should have won. Some friendships have been tested when competing in the show ring. Most if they are good friends will remain so.

I have heard people talk behind one another's back about what they really think of their “friends” dog. It upsets me to hear these things because these two people are supposed to be one another’s friend. It’s like all bets are off of the friendship when it comes to showing their dogs.

In the showing of dog’s the competition is not only fierce inside the ring, but outside of it as well. Not only is the competitor looking to win the points on his dog, but many times these wins will generate business for the breeder. A dog who wins may start seeing people inquire about using the dog for stud service. If it’s a bitch who wins, the owner may have people approach her and ask when and who she plans on breeding her bitch to. So what this all amounts to then is money. Winning equals money in some people’s pockets. And anytime money is involved, good sportsmanship for some is thrown out the door!

For some people, their lack of good sportsmanship may not be limited to the show ring. Some of these people are jealous types to begin with and they have a very hard time wishing anyone good will about anything. These people are very insecure to begin with. For some reason it’s like if they were to congratulate you then it would take something away from them.

Ask some breeders to get together to look at one another’s puppies. Most breeders enjoy this so they can see what different lines produce together. But even here, some people have a hard time finding anything positive to say about the puppies. The green eyed monster gets in the way again!

And how about the ownership of stud dogs? Every dog is different. Every dog produces differently. Breeders come to different stud dogs hopefully to improve on what their bitch may be lacking or to double up on some good things the two dog’s exhibit. Tell a “friend” who also owns a stud dog that your dog was just used by “so and so” and you may hear him say, “Well if they were looking to improve fronts, why didn’t they call me about using my Joey? You couldn’t want for a better front then he has!”

How about when your dog just won a large five point major and you call up your “friend” to share the exciting news? Is your friend genuinely happy for you? Does she quickly change the subject and start telling you about one of her own dogs that she will be showing in another couple of months? Perhaps she might have asked you, “Well who else was in the ring with him? It doesn’t seem like the quality was very good. Thank goodness for you that there wasn’t tough competition!” This sure is a nice kind of person to be a “friend” with! NOT! But unfortunately, they are out there and it is times like this that your true friends will be known.

Some people have been in the breed for many years and have never bred or owned a champion. To some of these people seeing a person who has been in the breed only a few years winning can bring out the worse in them.

Many new people have left the showing of dogs because of the lack of good will and sportsmanship shown to them. Just think about it, who would want to get involved in something that wasn’t fun anymore? Being kind to one another and wishing one another well will go a long way in the future sport of showing of our breed. If new people come to this breed with high hopes and they are met with hostile, bad attitudes by people who have been in the breed for some time, how long do you think they will want to continue to show their dogs? So even if it doesn’t come natural to you, maybe once in awhile you need to bite your lip and suck it up and extend that hand of good will to someone. You can moan and groan about it all the way home if you have to, but sometimes (even if you have to pretend) showing good will to someone will go a long way in promoting the showing of dogs and nurturing of friendships.

Showing dogs should be a positive experience for the competitor. There is nothing more rewarding than when your dog wins and ringside approves and supports it. Hearing the cheers, receiving a standing ovation, hearing the whistles, well that’s like adding icing on the cake to your already elated happiness!

My rating: showing dogs: (4), sportsmanship in the breed: (2)

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