Show Quality?

Dog breeders, both novice and experienced, seem to have a real problem differentiating between showable and show quality. A showable dog is one that more or less resembles its breed and has no disqualifying faults. That's all it is. Being showable does not mean that such a dog should be put in a show home, sold on a show contract, or bred from. Most showable dogs should be spayed or neutered and enjoyed as companions.

Show quality dogs are distinctly better than average. Not merely "good enough" to exhibit, they show promise of being QUALITY animals - dogs that the breeder and exhibitor can be proud of and dogs that have something to offer the breed if bred from.

Show rings are full of dogs who are nothing more than "purebred mongrels", and many of them were sold by breeders who should have known better. Anyone can make a mistake when evaluating a puppy, but to intentionally sell to a show home a dog which has absolutely nothing to offer other than a lack of disqualifying faults, is nothing more than a ripoff. If a promising puppy turns out to be of lesser quality than the breeder anticipated, the mistake should be rectified and the dog replaced or the money refunded.

Next time you go to a dog show, ask yourself what potential the breeders could possibly have seen in some of the dogs that are in the ring. It's hard to believe that some of them were ever considered more than pet quality by anyone. The whole point of showing is to display one's BEST dogs, not to have mediocre animals dragged around the ring for years.

If you are a novice, try to get some help evaluating your litter. Lacking a mentor, it's best not to sell any of your pups as show quality. Keep something for yourself to show if you wish, but sell the others as pets. It's hard enough for an experienced breeder to correctly evaluate a litter, and some of them never seem to get it right. The chance of a novice being able to do it properly is very slim indeed, and unless the sire and dam are of top quality it's most unlikely that the litter contains anything worth showing. It's amazing how many novices are heard to say that their litter is all show quality... Make that all showable, and nothing more.

Even the most carefully planned and well-bred litter may contain nothing worthwhile. Some promising combinations just don't work. If that's the case, face the facts and consider it a lesson learned. There are entirely too many dogs being shown who have no place in the show ring. The best dogs are lovely and the breed has improved tremendously during the last 20 years, but many of the dogs currently in the ring should be at home on the sofa. They may be showable but they sure aren't show quality!.

1999-2001 Sue MacMillan. Please request permission to reprint this article.

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