Monday, February 13, 2012

136th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show

The 136th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show  is going on February 13 and 14th. The Dobermans, my particular interest (as you might have guessed), are being judged on the morning of February 14.

While I have no personal interest at this time in conformation showing, it's hard not to have some degree of admiration for the work that goes into getting a dog to a championship. There's the training that the handler receives, the training the dog-handler team receives, not to mention the years devoted to breeding programs that create the dogs who set foot in the ring. Many of us are by now familiar with Pedigree Dogs Exposed, which is not what I'm going to talk about just here; for a dog in the working group, conformation is important. Form is function, for a Doberman, and a Doberman is bred to be an athletic, medium sized dog. Hopefully, that's what our champions will be.

(Summer flashback. It's been a mild winter, but remember summer?)
Based on the Wikipedia article, the first Doberman that took Best in Show at Westminster was in 1936 by the name of Ferry v. Rauhfelsen of Giralda. 

(picture from Dobermann Review)

Ferry's temperament was not what most of us expect from Dobermans nowadays. According to an article on the American Doberman Pinscher Educational Foundation, when Ferry was at the show in the Garden at 1939, the judge was not able to touch him. 

The next Doberman Best in Show at Westminster was actually Ferry's grandson, Rancho Dobe's Storm, and he took it two years in a row in 1952 and 1953.

(Picture from Dobermann Review article Beyond the Atlantic)

The third, and sadly last, Doberman to date to have gotten Best in Show at Westminster was in 1989: Royal Tudor's Wild As The Wind. A red bitch, she'd also won the Working Group the year prior. Alas, I can't find a picture of her, which is funny, since she's the most recent Doberman BIS for Westminster. When she took Best In Show, ''She is very elegant, very correct and very balanced,'' was the judge's terse comment. ''She was all the things she's supposed to be.'' (From Dog Show; Doberman Chosen as Best, February 15, 1989 New York Times). Edited to add: I'm told by the DPCA twitter account that the picture of the Doberman on the breed description of Westminster site is Royal Tudor's Wild As The Wind, call name Indy. It's unlabeled, but I think that's a source I'm willing to trust the info from!

(from the Doberman breed description on the Westminster dog show site)


I don't know any of the Dobermans at Westminster this year, not personally and not really "virtually", but I'm familiar with at least one of the names: Protocol's Veni Vedi Vici. She doesn't need me to say that she's a beautiful black and tan girl; her existing Grand Championship says that, loud and clear. 

I'd really like to see the Dobermans win at Westminster this year, though. It would be pretty cool.


10 comments:

  1. They look ready for action in those pictures, such great shape….. I didn't realise the show was on, maybe we'll tune in too…. Funny that the judge couldn't even approach one years ago, not so sure they'd be too happy with that! :)

    Enjoy,

    Your pal Snoopy :)

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    1. That's the Doberman! Unless sleeping, ready for action!

      I think a Doberman actually bit a judge, in the 70's....but I could be misremembering.

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  2. I watched the working dog group last night. The Portuguese Water Dog won it. I've always loved Dobies. When I was a teen, I wanted to get a big male and name him "Kojak".

    Have you noticed that most of the working dog breeds are on the "bully breeds" list? Some people just don't 'get' dogs!

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    1. Kojak is a great Doberman name!

      I definitely agree that people just don't 'get' dogs.

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  3. Responsible breeders have been given a bad rap in recent years. Certainly the Doberman breeders should be given credit for breeding the sweet tempered Dobie of today.

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    1. Yes, they definitely are owed kudos for the improvement to the Doberman temperament! A balanced dog is what's important, not one that bites first and asks questions later.

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  4. Lovely history lesson - I will vote for a Dobie if there is no Hound :).

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    1. There are hounds I like! Funny, I was so wrapped up in the Dobies I have no idea who took the hound group.

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  5. Very pretty dogs. For sporting dogs, structure and movement are important too. I dislike when I hear people dismiss conformation and just a beauty contest. There is so much more to it.

    One draw back to a breed taking BIS at a high profile show like Westminster is that sometimes after a breed becomes "noticed", it is not always good for the dogs. People end up wanting the dog flavor of the moment and don't really consider whether the breed is the correct choice for them.

    Of course there is no chance that a Chessie will take BIS. I do know some of the Chessies entered, but there are only 13 this year. Extremely low turn out.

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    1. Unfortunately, for some of the dogs, it is a "beauty" contest. I don't think that German Shepherd would be able to herd sheep, physically, and that's if he passes the instinct test.

      It is true popularity brought to a breed by media can be very damaging (Dalmatians, Chihuahuas, etc.) My understanding is that, thankfully, Doberman bite statistics (pity that they exist at all) have been pretty steady over the years, and didn't have a spike with their popularity a few decades back (Jim Gorant said so in The Lost Dogs, anyway).

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