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A Brief History of Canada’s Top Dogs

January 31, 2019
1977 Ch. Kishniga’s Desert Song; Borzoi photo courtesy of  Dr. Richard MeenOwning a Top Dog is an honour bestowed on few and remembered by all in the fancy. Taking a dog to the top of your chosen discipline requires hours upon hours of training, research, conditioning, grooming, travel and yes, it also takes money. It’s a feat that no owner gets to by themselves. Even before your puppy was yours, years of careful breeding went into that pup and countless people in the dog community helped bring you to this level.

As we approach the end of 2018, I thought it would be great to look back on how Canada’s Top Dogs began and revisit some great dogs of the past.

Here are some of the important dates in the history of reporting Canada’s Top Dogs:

In 1963, First Top Show Dog Stats were introduced by Dogs in Canada magazine publisher, Elizabeth Dunn. At this time they were referred to as the “Blue Book of Top Winning Dogs”. This list presented the Top 3 all breeds, Top 3 in Group and Top 3 in each breed. The formula wasn’t always consistent; some years included only the total points, while others total points, plus the number of Best of Breed, Group placements and Best in Show wins. Joan Morden was the first recorded statistician for the Top Show Dogs. A memorial trophy in her honour was awarded to the Top Show Dog up until 2010.

LakelandDanny - 1989 Ch. Jamelyn Second Edition; Lakeland Terrier - photo courtesy of Richard Paquette.Obedience were stats introduced in 1966. In the beginning only the number of dogs competing in each breed was included as part of a Dogs in Canada obedience column written by Betty McHugh.
In 1974, the first Top Obedience Dog Stats were published in Dog in Canada magazine and were compiled by Betty McHugh.

In 1988, Barry Truax took over tabulating the Top Show Dog Stats, creating a computer program that would expand coverage to also include group and all-breed performance stats. In 1991, this same program would be used to complement the stats published for the Top Obedience Dogs.

Prior to 1998, the occasional Field event stats were published. June 1998 marked the first official Field Issue of Dogs in Canada, combining a field-dedicated editorial with the 1997 Top Lure Coursers (Bonnie Goebel), 1997 Top Pointers (Sue Deyell) and 1997 Top Retrievers (Dennis Voigt).


In 2008, Dogs in Canada ceased publication. With the exception of Field events, Top Dog statistics
began to be generated by the Canadian Kennel Club.



 
2001 Ch. Freespirits Far And Away; Doberman Pinscher. photo courtesy of Mary WhiteTop Agility Dogs were first published in 2009. Created by Seanna O’Neill, it was a mix of Top 10 by points, Top 10 by yards per second and Top 5 in each breed. In an effort to be more inclusive, in 2012, the Canadian Kennel Club’s Agility Council introduced a point system for qualifying scores and the new Top Agility Dogs followed the same format as other disciplines, highlighting the achievements of competitors at the breed, group and all-breed level.
 
In 2011 Top Dog statistics began to be published on www.ckc.ca, picking up where the former Dogs in
 Canada website left off with official stats and the return of the much loved winners’ interviews.
 
2013 saw Canada’s Top Rally Dog Statistics shared for the first time, while Beagle Trials expanded the Field category for the 2017 results.






1995 Ch. Dawin High Falutin; Standard Poodle photo courtesy of Allison FoleyAfter 2015, CKC created a new category of Top Dogs: Multi-Discipline to acknowledge the incredible achievements of versatile dogs who perform well in different event styles. Only one dog in CKC history made it to the Top 10 All Breeds in two disciplines and he did it in style, achieving the seemingly impossible for six consecutive years with his handler Charlie MacMillan. Appropriately named, Fly’r, this adored Golden Retriever retired from the ring as a legend and inspired a whole new generation of Top Dogs to increase their versatility. It did not take long! The 2016 results introduced the world to Caesar the Labrador Retriever and his owner-handler, Heather Watts. While Caesar is the first dog Heather has ever trained, it didn’t stop them from taking the Multi-Discipline crown again in 2017.
 
 As the Top Dog program continues to grow with new awards like Multi-Discipline, it becomes clearer and clearer that this growth is driven by the dogs and owners who build their bonds in competition; the teams who show up every weekend and turn challenges into achievements leaving a trail of broken records and breed firsts behind them. Even as competitors across the country eagerly await CKC’s official Top Dogs results, a new Top Dogs season has already begun and thousands of teams have already started to defend their titles or make a first run for the top spot. In dog sport there are no guarantees - first-time owners, first-time competitors and novices of all kind have claimed their place among veterans and pros in the Top 10, All Breeds. So, keep your computers on and your phones ready as CKC prepares to release the first official 2018 Top Dogs results on February 5, 2019. Will your team claim the Top Dog title?

CKC’s Top Dogs program celebrates the best competitors in Canadian dog sport. Tallying points earned throughout the calendar year at each CKC sanctioned event, the Top Dogs winners represent the most dedicated and successful dog-handler teams in each discipline. It is with great pride that CKC releases the official Top Dogs Results each year. Congratulations to our Top Dogs winners and to all competitors as you challenge and inspire each other to the Top. Thank you to our sponsors for their generous support of the Top Dogs program
 
Presenting Sponsor: Supporting Sponsor:
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The journey to greatness is fueled by nutrition that performs.  Prepare. Perform. Recover.
 
 

The opinions expressed by authors on the Canadian Kennel Club Blog and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of the Canadian Kennel Club or any of its employees.

Les opinions et les commentaires exprimés dans le blogue du Club Canin Canadien sont ceux des auteurs et ils ne reflètent pas les opinions du Club Canin Canadien ni de ses employés.

Author InformationInformation sur l’auteur

Ian Lynch

Ian Lynch

Ian Lynch is a comedian, on-air personality and Canadian Kennel Club member. 

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Comments
Richard Paquette
Yet another in depth and informative synopsis of our Top Dog Program and it’s history. Well done Ian.
1/31/2019 4:52:43 PM

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