“I still enjoy watching the National Dog Show because the dogs are fun to look at, and I always learn something. But the way the “judging” is done is maddening.”
I just finished watching the National Dog Show (the Philadelphia one). I’ve seen this program every year going back for as long as I can remember.
For those who don’t know how the competition works: First, all the dog breeds are put into groups (hounds, terriers, herders, etc.). Each group has about 20-30 dogs of different breeds. The dogs parade around the floor with a handler for about 45 seconds. Then, a senior citizen dodders onto the show floor, folds his arms, nods a few times, then points at 3 or 4 dogs who are the group finalists.
Once these finalist dogs are selected, the senior citizen folds his arms again, nods a few more times, then announces in a barely audible voice, “the winner of the toy group is — the poodle.” Nobody can follow along, let alone understand what the “judge” noticed about the unique characteristics that make one dog superior to the other. The audience politely claps.
Here’s what really confuses me. How can the Bulldog compete and why should it be judged against the Bichon Frisé? The announcers refer to “breed standards.” But the judges spend almost no time with the dogs. And given that each dog is special in its own way (the very best of each breed in the entire country are competing here), is there really any objective criteria that credibly scores the Mastiff higher than the Appenzeller Sennenhund? I don’t get it. Someone explain this.
But now, the real mental gasket buster is this and what really blows my ass sideways is the last stage of the competition–the finals. Each group winner enters the show floor and gets judged against one another. So, the best SEVEN dogs must compete together, even though this is like putting an apple, an orange, and a banana in a bowl and saying — okay, so which one is the best? Once again, a senior citizen waddles out onto the show floor, folds his arms, nods a few times, then points to the winning dog. Nobody can understand what the hell he’s saying. There’s no information given. Who knows what hidden biases are influencing the judge?
Please educate me. Speak to me like I’m an untrained puppy begging for a dog bisquit because I don’t get it.
Yeah, I still enjoy watching the National Dog Show because the dogs are fun to look at, and I always learn something. But the way the “judging” is done is maddening. Moreover, I don’t understand why judging isn’t more transparent. At the very least it seems *multiple* judges should be used, which would remove biases. Even Olympic ice skating scoring does that. Finally, it sure would be nice to understand *why* a certain dog was picked versus the other.
Another thought: I’ve attended cat shows in the past and they’re just as confusing. Maybe even worse.
Would anyone care to explain and/or defend how DOG A is chosen over DOG B?