Monday, February 21, 2011


Are you beginning to think that your dog is always a “bride’s maid” and never a “bride” when it comes to her show wins? Is he/she always winning a reserve at the dog shows? I know of some really good dogs that have accumulated many of these reserve wins over the lifetime of their career before they’ve finished their championship title.

So just what does it mean to win a reserve at a point show? Your dog doesn’t win any points for all his and his handler’s expertise! On a positive note, if he wins a reserve at a major pointed show, then he will have helped contribute to his parent’s ROM (register of merit title).

I would like to see the AKC award a point to a Reserve Winners Dog that has won at a major specialty show but put a limitation on how many points that he can win this way. Many times the reserve winner’s dog is just as good as and maybe even better than the winner’s dog, but perhaps he didn’t show as well on this particular day. Maybe tomorrow he’ll be the winner’s dogs and the other dog will be the reserve winners. Different judge will see different things and maybe the dog is feeling better on this day and shows his little heart out.

Many people believe that a conformation show is a “beauty contest” for dogs. And perhaps in some ways it is if you didn’t count the importance of temperament and movement. I mean if we just judged the dogs on what they looked like, I can understand where some of these people are coming from. And if that were the case, then like in a beauty contest if the winner can’t live up to her expectations, than the second place winner (reserve) would take her win and her title. It’s not the same in a dog show.

So in some cases a reserve winner’s dog is little more than a brag for some people especially if it was received from a major pointed show. A dog that I bred many years ago (Am Select #3 BOS futurity Am & International Ch Chieftains’ Kharu CD) was the Reserve Winners Dog at the National Specialty show out in Arizona the year before he went Select. It was a huge show and I was so proud and excited that he achieved such a wonderful award, but it didn’t add any points towards his championship.

I searched and searched on the AKC website to give me some more information about the reserve win at a conformation show. I couldn’t find it. That doesn’t mean it’s not there, but “yours truly” just couldn’t find any information about this award outside of the fact that the second place dog in any class will compete for reserve winners if the winner’s dog came from his class. In other words if the Winner’s Dog came from the American Bred class, then the second place American Bred dog would go back in the ring to compete for the reserve win.

So why is there a reserve win to begin with? Just how important is it or is it important at all? Do you think that the AKC should award a point to a major winning reserve dog? How many reserve winners’ ribbons have you accumulated over the years of showing your dogs? Perhaps someone can enlighten me to the importance of the Reserve Winner’s Dog award besides ROM points for his parents if he won it at a major pointed show.

From the book: "NO CONTEST: THE CASE AGAINST COMPETITION"....Are you of the belief that my success depends upon your failure? Contending that competition in all areas school, family, sports and business destructive, and that success so achieved is at the expense of anothers' failure, Kohn, a correspondent for USA Today, advocates a restructuring of our institutions to replace competition with cooperation. He persuasively demonstrates how the ingrained American myth that competition is the only normal and desirable way of life from Little Leagues to the presidency counterproductive, personally and for the national economy, and how psychologically it poisons relationships, fosters anxiety and takes the fun out of work and play. He charges that competition is a learned phenomenon and denies that it builds character and self-esteem. Kohn's measures to encourage cooperation in lieu of competition include promoting noncompetitive games, eliminating scholastic grades and substitution of mutual security for national security.

My rating: Reserve Winners Award: (if achieved at a major pointed show) - (3 - 4)!


  1. Thanks so much for the blog posting. It was a really cool blog about German shepherds. I've been wanting to show my dog at some dog shows, and I'm just wondering what I need to be able to do that. He's a beautiful dog and I think he would do very well. Do you know where I could some show dog supplies?

  2. Hey Gary, just Google "dog show supplies" and it should bring up a gazillion places to you to look into. I'm glad you enjoyed the article. Good luck with your dog!