The results have been verified, the scores have been tallied and the winner of the 2017 CKC Top Show Dog Award is all set to be announced via ckc.ca on February 12, 2018.
Established in 1963, the Top Dog
Award is highly valued and anxiously anticipated by the Canadian purebred dog community. It’s the pinnacle, the ultimate prize for the country’s premier show dogs that arrives at the culmination of an entire year of competing at shows across the country.
How does it work? The Top Show Dogs system awards one point for every dog defeated from Best of Breed competition to Best in Show. The dog with the most points at the end of the year takes the title of CKC Top Dog. Top Dogs are ranked according to the Top 5 in each breed, the Top 10 in each group, and the Top 10 all breeds. A group refers to one of seven groups that each breed is assigned to based on the characteristics and functions for which they were originally bred. They are the Sporting Group, Hound Group, Working Group, Terrier Group, Toy Group, Non-Sporting Group and the Herding Group. The First In Group from among each of these seven groups competes against each other for Best in Show.
From Newfoundland to British Columbia, and Nunavut to Southern Ontario, in 2017 there were over 1,000 CKC dog shows in Canada. Each offers its own unique challenges that require determination and stamina from the owners and their canine competitors. In some cases, their partners in the ring are professional handlers, paid to show, groom and care for other people's dogs. In the show ring, they are tasked with showcasing a dog’s finest attributes.
Allison Foley, professional handler for the 2016 CKC Top Show Dog
—also known as Top Conformation Dog—highlighted the determination required to be a winner in the show ring. When asked what advice she would give someone new to dog shows, her reply was, “Keep at it no matter what. Dog shows are like the stock market… there are big ups and downs. The worst thing you can do is to pull out when you are down! Stay in it, it will get better.”
Dog Shows: From Pub Patrons’ Bragging Rights to Best in Show
As most of us know, dogs were initially bred to do specific jobs, such as hunting, herding or tracking. Originally, the idea behind dog shows was relatively simple: Experts selected dogs that exhibited behaviors and characteristics that most closely aligned to their jobs. These were the dogs kept for breeding so that these characteristics could be passed along to their offspring. Eventually guidelines, or breed standards
, were written, describing the ideal characteristics and temperament required for a dog to perform its original purpose and to this day, judges and breeders use breed standards to determine a champion. So the term conformation actually makes sense! It refers to a dog’s characteristics and how they do or do not conform
to the breed standard.
It’s widely acknowledged that the first dog show was held in a town hall in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England, in 1859. The competition was said to be held after a large poultry show and was essentially a gentlemanly wager as to who had the best hunting dog. Only pointers and setters were featured at this event and the winner walked away with full bragging rights, and was likely welcomed with a few free pints of ale at the nearest pub. This was the beginning of what became a hugely popular sport, that has made its way around the world and evolved into shows big and small, including the renowned Westminster Dog Show.
The simplest way to understand the modern-day dog show is to picture a pyramid. It begins with hundreds of dogs competing at the breed level, then the group level and so on, and ends up with one ultimate winner. A dog continues to compete until they’re defeated—so the dog ultimately designated Best in Show from the seven group winners is the only undefeated canine in the competition.
So, when for example, you see a Rottweiler in the best in show ring competing against a Shih Tzu, a Beagle, a Schnauzer, a Pug, a Collie and an Afghan Hound, that’s the final round of the competition. Each of these dogs won at the breed level, and the group level and are now competing for Best in Show. The ultimate winner will be the one judged to best exhibit the ideal characteristics and temperament for their particular breed.
Stay tuned for our CKC Top Show Dogs coming Monday, February 12
and special thanks to our CKC Top Dogs presenting sponsor, Purina® Pro Plan®
. May the best dog win!