August 23, 2010

Oliver wins 4th in Toy Group at a local Sanction Match

“Living the life of a Male Show Dog vicariously through Oliver”

After the St. Catharines and District Kennel and Obedience Club’s “Best in Show”, the Canadian National Cresky Terrier Club held their conformation sanction match.

These sanction matches are for young un-championed puppies such as Oliver, Hydabrek's What the Dickens, to gain experience in a real or almost real life settings. Many owner/handlers take this opportunity to give their puppies almost the full experience of being shown from the grooming, the prepping, and then actually being shown in the ring.

Sanction matches also give opportunities for unlicensed future conformation judges to gain experience.

While in the ring, all the same rules of a real conformation show apply. Puppies are first judge against other puppies of the same breed. Often times during sanction matches there may not be other puppies of the same breed around, this is normal.

The best of each breed is chosen. They then compete against other dogs within their respective groups. For example, Oliver is a Havanse and Havanese belong to the Toy Group.

Now, how is the judge suppose to judge all these dogs when they are not the same breed? Each breed has a blue print (let’s say) of what the perfect dog of that breed should look like. The judge is actually judging how each dog compares to its own breed blue print. So even if a judge has a ring full of Havanese, the judge is really comparing each Havanese dog in the ring to what the ideal Havanese dog should look like.

When the ring is full of the best of the best of each breed the judge is still compares each dog to its own breed standard.

The judge picks out which dog s/he thinks best represents its own breed from each group. There are seven groups with the Canadian Kennel Club (CKC): Sporting, Hounds, Working, Terrier, Toy, Non-Sporting, Herding.

Those last remaining seven dogs, the best representative of their own breed in the judge’s opinion that day, are placed in a single ring. The judge has to then pick out the best of the best; it is harder than it sounds. To read more, CKC provided a nice detailed flow chart.

Back to Friday, Oliver walked away with many ribbons and a fourth in Toy Group finish. He won First Place, Best Male, Best of Breed, and Best Puppy In Breed.

First Place: he was top dog against all the other male puppies in his age group.

Best Male: Of all the un-championed male Havanese, his was the best male Havanese.

Best of Breed: Off all the un-championed or championed Havanese, his was considered the best in the judge’s opinion.

Best of Opposite: If a male wins Best of Breed, the judge can pick out a female (the opposite sex) as the top female. She can’t move up in the running for Best in Group or Best in Show, but it is an honourable ribbon. And vice versus if a female wins Best of Breed.

Best Puppy In Breed: If the dog who wins either Best of Breed or Best of Opposite is a puppy, being under 12 months old, they automatically win the ribbon for Best Puppy in Breed. If neither winners were puppies, all the remaining dogs (if puppies) are considered.

Sounds pretty impressive for Oliver so far doesn’t it? Well, between you and me, just don’t tell Oliver as this may burst his happy bubble, he was the only Havanese puppy entered at their sanction match on Friday; so just by showing up he automatically won all the above mentioned ribbons.

Oliver did win Best of Breed, even it was automatic, and now has to compete against all the other dogs considered best of their breed. The judge can pick out four top dogs and only the Best in Group or sometimes know as Group 1 can continue to try for Best in Show.

Oliver placed fourth in Group, sometime referred to as a Group 4. Not bad for the little guy’s first time out.

I thought Oliver did very well considering it was his first time out with unknown dogs and it was outside show. I asked a friend what her opinion was of how we did in the ring and this was her response:

“What struck me the most was that he was having fun. He was so happy doing what you wanted him to do. For me, that was the best. I also noticed his coat, facial expression, and movement AND how well behaved he was around other dogs.”

What a great compliment! Oliver and I will certainly try to continue and we get even better as a team.

What’s next? Oliver’s first real conformation dog show happening next weekend. I will keep everyone posted.

Secret Lives of Pretty In Pink Dogs


  1. so he is entered next weekend as a warm up for Halifax? EXCITING!!! post pics!!
    oh yeah...and GOOD LUCK :)

  2. warm up for the specialty.... hehehe

    Darlah and Linda may be coming out to watch, I will ask one of them to take pictures.