I have attended AKC shows and at one time -20+ years ago - briefly got into and showed another breed. The AKC ring is EXTREMELY political. Yes, you can owner-handler a young dog or a dog in a class other than open yourself and win. But when it comes time for the Winners Class, the handlers will take it. And if you pay a handler to do a young dog class or some variety class within Breed, when it comes time for Winners or BOB - he will hand your unknown pup over to you or someone else and take in the dog that he wins with in Open.
Sunshine-WOW! I am so sorry you paid that much. There seems to be a growing movement with people not wanting to patronage a German Handler. Rumor has it that because they are German and the judge is German your dog has a much better chance of placing high because they know each other? Sounds like BS. While I don't necessairly disagree because I'm sure that it happens but it's not worth it to play into the game that way. We "Americans" need to learn how to become better handlers and help each other out.
Roger said "Wherein we would handle for free for any worthy entries?" What a great idea. I know of some people now that handle each others dogs. I am in the process of trying to learn to become a good handler. I want to handle dogs for people in return for handling also. I am attending a handler seminar soon and am constantly reviewing SV types shows and learning from handlers there. I'd love to be a very reasonable handler that people could trust with their best stock. Roger will you be at the WDA? It would be great to meet you.
I am paying my handler $100 for a youth class in Madison. I think this is fair. This lady is a known handler and is not bringing any of her own dogs. She's only looking to cover expenses with some handling fees. I see nothing wrong with a professional asking a reasonable price to make a pretty dog look its best in front of the judge at a once in a year opportunity.
Yes Jman, I will be there on Saturday and hopefully sunday as well. Would be an honor to meet up with you. Would try to hang out with the Whirling thunder kennels, unless I get kicked out.
A good tape is from the canine training systems on the SV style showing.
In the UK the best handler by far was Malcolm Griffiths, sadly he is banned and living in S America. Nowadays there are some who think they are good, but can either only handle a dog one way or try to give the judge all sorts of bull. Watching some of these so called superstars is funny, but in my opinion they are helping to reduce the show scene to nothing. Fees are around £20/£25 per class with scaled amounts for top honours. In defence of one very well known handler. I actually saw him refuse money and have a minor dispute before the owner stuffed a note in his pocket. For my money the best handler here in the UK is Steve Cox.
Yes, AKC shows are political. However, if one is a good handler, a good groomer and goes into the ring looking professional, he or she will most likely go winners or breed the majority of the time assuming their dog is a good one. Some owner-handlers do well at the group and BIS level also, but that takes some time for recognition. This is true in many breeds, but NOT in GSD's. Here in the east, if Jimmie Moses or one of the other top handlers is not on the other end of the lead, the very best dog will probably not ever be recognized. Even the youngest puppy with little to no hope of winning the points is prohandled in many cases. The only owners who handle their own GSD's are the novices who know no better and the ones who have been around for years and years and have a reputation already established.
Having been in involved with AKC for 35 years and GSD's and the SV style shows for the last 11, I will say that while AKC is very, very political in this breed, the cost of buying and showing a good dog from American lines pales in comparison to what it costs to obtain and campaign a dog in the SV style.
Also, doubling is illegal at AKC shows but it still goes on to a point at a more subtle level than at the SV shows. At AKC shows, no doublers stand at ringside on tables jumping up and down LOL. However, if one complains to the judge or to the AKC rep, it will immediately be put to a stop. There are no pro doublers in the AKC world far as I know unless it is kept a secret. Most times it's the owners with the bells and whistles and more times than not, they get reported by an observer LOL.
Someone said they pity the newcomer to this style of GSD showing and I agree. Unless the attitude and environment here changes, I have to wonder where this breed is heading. When you all are too old or too tired to show, maybe retired and on a budget and don't have all this free cash to spend on dogs and handlers, who will take your places other than the money people who only care about having a top winner and have no love or an eye for the breed. Think about it, maybe a mentoring program in in order and as another poster so wisely suggested, organize a ring of handlers and help one another out.
The upside to this is not only will you not have to lay out outrageous handlers fees, you will also challenge the judges to raise the bar and sharpen their knowledge. No familar faces means they will have to judge the DOGS for a change and that could make better judges out of some of them. Better judges benefit all since better dogs will be the Va's and the V's and those are the the ones most of you will want to breed to anwyway so, in the big picture, how could that be a bad thing for you or the breed?
I have been to an AKC show, and saw GSDs handled its a pity sight! To look professional those ladies were wearing skirts!
Of course, when you need to run a 5 ft diameter circle, you can wear a skirt, or a costume, but come on, this is a SPORT! I dont think it should matter what the handler is wearing, as long as he/she is not distracting attention from the dog!
And why on earth do they hang their shepherds on a leash? Whats up with this see-horse look? It cripples the dogs gate, and doesnt look pretty at all!
Aw, come on, Makoosh, many people think the SV way of showing is a bit bizarre too LOL. All that doubling and racing around the ring at breakneck speed and handlers dressed like they are ready for an olympic track and field event look pretty odd to AKC people. It's all in your mindset, either be openminded and learn from the entire GSD world or don't. Up to you.
Maybe it shouldn't matter what the handler is wearing, but it does and if you want to show and win in an AKC show, you dress like the pros. It is what it is at AKC shows, basically a beauty contest, beauty being in the eye of the beholder.
Not sure what you meant by a "see-horse" look, but the toplines and tucked rears on some of the imports are not all that attractive or functional either. It's also my understanding that many are well over sized too. See, they ALL can be picked apart if that's one goal. Personally, I'd rather take the high road and consider ALL GSD's to be of some level of educational value.
Ha-ha.. How else can you see the dog's true gate and functionality if the handler is not running behind it at a decent speed? And how can you gain any decent speed in a skirt?
And I am glad you've mentioned an Olympic track - no one there dresses up "like a pro" to win! :) To me, looking like a pro in a sport means being dressed like a sportsman (or woman) :)
I think I am very open minded, but I don't want to learn how to make a Maltese from my Shepherd.
I meant a sea horse, a fish that many AKC-shown GSDs resemble very much in the AKC ring :) :)
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