This weekend there was a cluster of dog shows in Fredericksburg, VA. A cluster means that there are several days of shows, usually sponsored by at least two local kennel clubs. This was a five day cluster, starting on Wednesday and ending tomorrow, Sunday. Georgia was entered Friday and Saturday and she did well; garnering two more points toward her championship.
It takes 15 points for a dog to become a champion. Those points are earned by defeating other dogs at shows. That sounds pretty simple but it isn't always. You see, at least 6 of those points have to come from what are called 'majors.' A major can be worth 3, 4 or 5 points, depending on the number of dogs shown and the region the show takes place in. The AKC has divided the country into 13 divisions and, based on a rolling 3 year count of entries, they publish a points schedule every May. You can see the current schedule here.
Dogs that are not yet champions are known as 'class' dogs and the points schedule applies to them. In each breed the dogs entered are shown first by sex, then by age or special classes like American Bred, Bred by Exhibitor or Amateur Owner/Handler. The winners of each of the age or special classes go back in to compete for Winners Dog/Bitch - that's where you earn the points. Then Winners Dog & Bitch go back into the Best of Breed round, with dogs that already have their championships (specials), to compete for Best of Breed, Best of Opposite Sex and, for the class dogs/bitches only, Best of Winners.
The AKC actually has a pretty good explanation of how to count points here. I'm referring you there because trying to explain some of those scenarios can get a little hairy! Best of Winners was important to us this weekend because Georgia was the only class bitch entered - therefore, there weren't any points available to her because she didn't defeat any other girls. By going Best of Winners, she was able to get the points that applied to the dog entry for the day. Winners Dog still got a point but, because Georgia did too since, in essence, she was judged to be the best of all the non-champion dogs entered. It's called "crossing over" and in areas where the points schedule hasn't caught up with what actual entries are like, it can save your bacon - allowing you to win points when normally there wouldn't be any.
If all this didn't make sense, read it again :) Then, don't worry about it. It took me at least a couple years just to understand the concept of crossing over. I still don't completely understand scenarios where class dogs/bitches go Best of Breed over specials.
Georgia is entered in another show on January 28th in Doswell, VA. There are 2 class dogs entered and Georgia is the only class bitch again. Under the current schedule, that means she won't get any points for going Winners Bitch but, if she goes Best of Winners she would get another single point. The other interesting part of this entry is that she also has the opportunity to go Best of Breed which buys her a turn in the group ring. Oops, I didn't explain the groups did I? Well, we'll save that for another post......
5 days ago