If you don’t show dogs in the conformation ring, chances are you don’t watch the televised dogs shows; Eukanuba , The National and Westminster. But this year, in fact tonight, you can witness a memorable event in Borzoi history when the Hound Group winner, Belisaurius Jp My Sassy Girl, enters the ring at Madison Square Garden for the Best in Show Competition.
For years, I’ve streamed the Borzoi classes so that I could watch my friends at the Garden. It’s a huge and almost local, event in the competition of dogs. The trip to New York is manageable if you plan in advance for canine accommodations. Given the tri state plus Capitol area in which we live, there are almost always dogs from our area entered.
Last year, a local dog, Duckie was entered. The year before, several entries from Virginia and in 2013, one of my favorite bitches, Sapphire, was there from Maryland. But even if you don’t know the dogs entered, the chance to see the best of the best at work is brought to your living room and this year, Borzoi will be represented in the final competition.
Some breeders worry when the breed takes notable honors as they do when Borzoi appear in movies or print. Bringing attention to the breed usually boosts popularity and demand for puppies. A business savvy person would say that is a great thing but as the product we are discussing is a living being, it’s not so simple. Demand for puppies is not the same as good homes and interest is not equivalent to support. But for those of us who don’t raise puppies, a national show is an exciting time to fancy the breed.
It’s common while about town with Lance to have someone ask “Is that an Afghan?” That’s actually one of the better mistakes. I’ve been simply asked, “What is it?”, as well. I’m not sure if everyone whoever stopped and pointed, was even absolutely positive I was walking a dog. And this brings me back to judges at a big show like Westminster.
Dog show judges are all breeders but they are not all breeders of Borzoi. This makes evaluating young dogs or color dogs or “typey” dogs a subject for debate. Of courses judges are skilled at evaluating any breed for which they qualify but dogs are not interchangeable and their parts make up a whole that is objectively evaluated against an ideal that can be elusive to describe. Especially, when reporting why one beautiful dog or bitch is pulled over another.
So tonight, be there to see what happens (TV listings) in the final ring and before you do, stream the classes from Monday to prepare for tonight’s spectacle.