All-Breed Judge Langdon Skarda awards the first major to Ch. Mirkwood’s Cameo Appearance CD, pictured with owner handler Dan Sayers and trophy presenter Shari Conley-Edwards. Graham Photo by Sabrina.
THE FIRST MAJOR Of course, the only thing that’s better than getting that first championship point is getting that first major win. Owner handlers can pick-up plenty of singles (and they can provide their competition with many single points in return) before that first major is awarded. When this happens, it always comes as recognition of our dedication to both our dog and our personal devel- opment. Major wins are (usually) awarded when a breed is represented in the ring by class dogs that are (hopeful- ly) just as competitive. Sometimes the major is awarded to a deserving puppy, aided by its charming appeal as well as its conformation. More likely, however, the first major is given to a young dog whose owner handler has been working hard to earn the win. If that’s you, be sure to commemorate the milestone with another WD, WB or BOW photo.
THE FIRST CHAMPION Eventually, for owner handlers with a good dog, a supportive mentor, and a major or two under their belt, the day eventually comes when the dog—finally—earns it championship. (Note: This is another important photo op moment.) All the training and travel are rewarded with the “CH” that now resides, perma- nently, in front of the dog’s registered name. A little celebration is deserved, as is the decision to pursue additional titles. Grand championships have become highly prized, as have the com- panion and performance titles offered to every recognized breed today. And, with health clearances encouraged by the parent clubs, owner handlers can consider if their new champion is a suitable candidate for breeding. In fact, it might be time to pur- sue another first: The first Bred-By-Exhibitor medallion. Remember, owner handling is a continuous series of firsts. So, be sure to set your goals carefully, strategize thoughtfully, win and lose graciously, and enjoy your dog, lovingly.
182 | SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, MAY 2021
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