NON-SPORTING GROUP Q&A
The exhibitors will know also. That way you will get more assign- ments because the concerned exhibitors of the breed will know you have done your homework. The most memorable moment I’ve ever experienced judging the Non-Sporting Group? I think it was at the Morris and Essex show when I did the Non-Sporting Group. I had so many great represen- tatives of the breeds. I think of it today, and remember I most likely could have picked any of the breeds in that ring for a placement and not gone wrong. That was an ideal situation and I was able to experience it. The funniest thing that’s ever happened in my Non-Sporting Group ring? I can remember at one show long ago I had a Bulldog that was a puppy and all he wanted to do was rollover and have fun. He did, however, make it down and back before he laid down when he came back to me. He went around the ring on his own terms and made me and the people at ringside laugh a lot. Sweet puppy and that made my day.
especially for my breed, Poodles, is to finish your conformation title first and then go into the companion and performance events. I say that as my breed (and I believe other breeds in the Non-Sporting and other Groups) show differently if they are doing conformation and performance and companion events at the same time. I speak on that as I have seen this many times in the show ring when I am judging. What advice would I offer to aspiring Non-Sporting Group judges? Take your time learning these breeds. Do not think that you need to apply for 12 breeds at one time. You may get the Group that way sooner, but how much are you learning about a breed and what kind of good judging will you do when you get approval? We as judges must do our homework when we are studying our breeds. We must do it for the breed, the breeders and for our Sport. Do not try to just get a Group just to get a Group. Study the breed. Study the breed and learn the breed standard. Speak to breed experts. Do a kennel visit, if possible. Take your time! That way when you walk into the Breed or Group ring, you will know what you are doing.
THE SPORT OF THE NON-SPORTINGGROUP BY ELAINE LESSIG
Once upon a time, long, long ago, dog shows were spirited events. Beginning in Victorian times, organized field events for gun (Sporting) dogs were leisure activities for the gentry in the countryside. It was the dog shows, however, that attracted large numbers of exhibitors and spectators to the urban centers where they were held. Their popularity grew. As it did, exhibitors with breeds that were “not sporting dogs” wanted to participate. There begins the designation “non-sporting.” It was a way to group all the other breeds. When breeds were further grouped as Hounds, Working, Terriers, Toys and, finally, Herding, the Non-Sporting Group continued to be that Group that held all the other recognized breeds. The Non-Sporting Group continues to include a broad assortment of breeds. Much like a great box of chocolates or the shops on Madison Avenue or Rodeo Drive, the Non-Sporting Group offers a wide variety of delights for every dog lov- er. Many present-day buzz words like “global,” “diverse,” and “complex” describe the Non-Sporting Group as it was and remains. They come from all over the world, share no common ancestors and are all different. This is the Group that mirrors our world. Change is as much a dynamic of the dog world as it is in any other part of life. Some years there are strong contenders in some Groups and not in others. What makes this Group particularly exciting is that the door is wide open for any of the breeds. Who will show their heart out, be in top condition and make it out of the breed competition? Male or female, coated or not, the best dog wins in my ring. All of us who breed, show, judge or simply love the world of purebred dogs rec- ognize that change comes to us all. We are challenged by animal rights activists who disapprove of what we do. We are challenged by economic realities that make it difficult to find the time and money to pursue our passion. We are challenged by the difficulties we encounter in our efforts to breed beautiful, healthy dogs of excellent temperament. Yet, we soldier on, gathering strength along the way. As a judge, one of my greatest pleasures is to welcome newcomers when they enter the ring. We all start somewhere. How easy it is to be kind. We can’t all win, but we can have a good experience which makes us enter again and again until we do.
170 | SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, AUGUST 2020
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