I don’t frequently watch dog shows but from time to time I like to spend a lazy morning looking at the wide variety of breeds out there. Plus, they’re all so darn cute that it’s hard to look away!
As I sit here this morning watching some mid-level dog show championship I’m struck by the thought that the dog show is possibly the worst way to judge dogs. It seems to me that these dog shows only honor the purebreds and promote a uniformity across each breed that eliminates the uniqueness that makes our companion dogs extra special. What about our adorable mutts? What about the sloppy mixes of fur and personality that don’t quite meet “breed standard”? My late St. Bernard was a purebred but didn’t have that signature eye mask. Does that mean he’s not as good as the dog with the masks? No! In fact, that’s what made him so special.
I propose we start a dog show for the lovable pups that make us so happy. After a quick online search I found that Animal Planet does have a dog show for mutts but it looks like more of a joke than anything else. Why must they have celebrity judges and categories like “Best Kisser”? Let’s have real dog show judges and professional trainers out there to see how the mutts measure up against the show dogs. Let’s showcase Working Group dogs actually working. And let’s create new groups like the Athlete Group where dogs can really show off their talents. I know a dog that can jump and catch a speeding tennis ball in mid-air. Certainly he should be recognized for that!
This dog show will include herding dogs actually herding sheep or cattle and hunting dogs actually chasing some game. I want to see a who-knows-what-it-is mutt diving for sticks or outrunning a greyhound. These are the characteristics that make our dogs amazing. Perfect teeth and a silky hairstyle do not a dog make. Abilities like sleeping with its legs wide open and rolling in the biggest mud puddle around are what makes a dog a dog. And for that, every dog deserves Best in Show!