Shows and Showing   

 

 

 

 

 

 

Most owners on finding they have acquired a good specimen become enthusiatic about the breed and evince a desire to exhibit in competition with other Staffordshire Bull Terriers. Dog-showing can prove a most interesting hobby and one that, in spite of its rivalry, offers many opportunities for making friends. It is as well, before exhibiting, to get an expert's opinion on whether or not your Stafford is worth showing,or, if he is a puppy, ready to show. On the other hand, you can take the plunge just by entering a show and finding out on the spot.The first you must do is register your puppy with name at the Kennel Club. It is posible that the breeder or dealer who sold him to you will already have done this, in whish event you must then apply to the Kennel Club to transfer him to you ownership. If he has been registered, then you will need Salmon From 2, and when filled in the application must be lodged before the date of the show you wish to attend. No dog can be exhibited  at a regulation dog show unless this has been done. Dog shows are advertised in the canine Press,

Dog World and Our Dogs

being the two prominent weekly journals in Engeland. From the lists you will be able to select either a local show,where all breeds are eligible to compete and these are very useful events which to get yourself and your dog used to dog-show routine),or a specialist breed show where only Staffords will be on view, such shows being held usually in a major town or city.

 

 

 

A telephone call or written application to the society's secretary will quickly obtain the show schedule and entry form; also the rules by which you must abide if you enter your dog. Assuming he is a puppy and not growing on too unevenly you may concider entering him in the special puppy class ( 6-9 Months ) or puppy class (6-13 Months ) provided. It is wise never to show a puppy in the former class until he is 8 months old, or in the latter untilhe is at least 10 months old. It is a waste of time to show a puppy that is too immarure, and at six months of age most Staffords youngsters are too raw to make any impact, even in a special puppy class. In fact, if a Staffordshire Bull Terrier puppy looks like an adult it is a fair sing that he wil be too big and coarse by the time he enters the yearling stage. Slow furnishers usually last longer than those who develop too quickly: consequently, the former are preferable for those who look  forward to a few years of exhibitingalthough the latter may well win more puppy classes. It should be realised that the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a strongly akin to the Bulldog and, like this progenitor, rather slow to mature. For this reason discretion should be used as to the best and most effective time to show your puppy. In the puppy stages a Stafford changes extraordinarily; from a wriggling, slender youngster of six months he can develop into a sturdy, well-ribbed and tank-like canine by the time he is a year old.

 

 

 

In this interim period he will change a dozen times, one week for the good, the next apparently for the worse. More than one champion dog well know today was discarded by an original owner during puppyhood because he looked worthless, so deceiving is this breed in its adolescence. Quite apart from the foregoing, when you exhibit your dog, especially if against other Staffordshire Bull Terriers, you should try for a win. Nothing is more demoralising in dogdom than a serier of `also-ran` positions, and many potential show-goer has given up the game prematurely after several such disappointments. Anothoter thing: you must not let your dog get known as an""alltime loser" either. Rightly or wrongly, such an exhebit gets branded and needs to make good with an awful lot of winning subsequently in order to vindicate himself with the show crowd. Assuming that you have prepared your dog for his first show by training him to pose alertly, suffer physical handling and to move effectively, see a training for show,  you should attend the event in plenty of time and settle down to make preparation for your class. You should not have fed him prior to starting off and he should have had ample time to relieve himself before areiving at the show venue. Have your dog on a taut lead when you enter the hall to present your exhibitor's pass, which will have come to you in advance of the show date; other dogs with their owners will usually linger near the entrance and you will not wish to begin your day with a dog fight as your exhibits and they come nose to nose.

 

 

If the show is a benched one all championship and some open shows are, your pass will have a number that corresponds whit a similar number affixed to the bench where your dog will be penned. At such shows you must bring a bench chain obtianable at any pet shop and secure your dog with it from his collar to a ring at the rear of the bench. Make sure the leght of chain is such that the Stafford can lie down and move with reasonable confort, yet insufficient to allow his nose to protrude beyond the walls and floor of the pen. Put down a rug or coverlet for him to rest on, and you can tuck away your personal possessions such as bag, hat, catalogue behind him. If the show is an all-day event, you can take your own sandwiches or use the bar which is always in evidence at such affairs. Be sure that you have a water bowl, a pocket first-aid kit, and some sustenance for the dog ,but do not feed him until he has completed his classes otherwise you are likely to have a sluggish dog on the lead when you enter the ring. Ensure that you have an adequate supply of titbits in your pocket to reward him for good behaviour. However, most shows are unbenched, which are less formal than the benchedevents. All you need do is find yourself a quiet corner somewhere in the hall, keep your dog under control and watch for other dogs poking in their noses too closely. When your class is announced, step into the ring with all the confidence you can muster, determined to do well for yourself and the dog.

 

 

 

 

 

The ring stewards will tell you where to stand in the ring, and soon the judge will call you over towards him. He will indicate where he wants you to pose the dog; this will be on floor level. Stafforshire Bull Terriers are never hoisted on to tables like Toy breeds, unless the judge has a bad back or some other ailment. At this point you will remember and let us hope your Stafford does too the home training for the show. Try to keep him alert-this important, for a floppy dog looks bad and is seldom known to bring home the prizes. The judge will examine him, assess him, maybe ask you a question or two, then instruct you to move him. You will turn away from the judge and walk the best part of a ring's length away, during which time the judge will be eyeing the exhibit's hind action and ring behaviour, always watchful for any signs indicating unsoundness. You will then turn about face, retracing your steps to where the judge waits observing the dog's front,balance,and forward movement. Halt just ahead of him and wait for him to have another brief look or to tell you that he has finished with you for the moment, whereupon you can return to your place. Never make the mistake of slackening your vigil on the dog at this time; you must concentrate on this showing job all the time you are in the ring. Concentrate on making the dog look good but at the same time keep an overt eye on what is going on in the ring around you. Guard against the neighbouring exhibitor who tries to edge you out of the judge's vision by moving almost imperceptibly in the front of you. 

 

 

 

It is a common enough trick by some rivals when the competition is 'hot'. Watch, too, for the noisy and perhaps ill-trained dog. kept on a slack lead deliberately, that it may attempt to engage your dog. It is all very unfair of course, but done 'with a smile'and, unless the provocation is obvious, no one can say much about it. Remember that the standard of dog-handling today leaves plenty of room for improvement. This applies just as much to Staffordshire Bull Terrier's as any breed and, generally speaking, if you can cultivate an effecive and stylish manner of handling you will acquire a big advantage over many exhibitors, some perhaps with better dogs than yours. It important that the exhibit should be presented, and even a little flamboyance will not come amiss at times in a ring when mere points will force a decision. Many a judge has been induced to favour the better-handled dog of a well-matched competingpair, and if can train your exhibit to look alert while moving freely and naturally on an 'easy' lead it is better than all the fussing and overhandling that sometimes goes on. Some handlers make quite a ritual out of it -- down on their knees, and holding up the dog's head with one hand, his tail with the other. In dog parlance this is termed 'topping and tailing', and although some breeds are inclined to wink an eye at it, it is not good procedure and should not be employed with Staffordshire Bull Terriers.

 

 

 

 

If a Staffordcannot hold up his head unassisted and his tail needs to be dragged out from beneath him to make him look good, then he is a doubtful Stafford and can not be worth a prize. If you are fortunate to have a good dog good enough to win a prize, no matter what its worth - First - red - Second - blue, or third - yellow,- Reserve - green, or even one of the commendation cards - be pleased, and try to accept it rationally. Too many firsttime exhibitors get elated with initial successes, only to bewail when they lose next time out. Often, when this happens, the judge gets blamed. The fact is overlooked that not only do judges`opinions vary but competition alters in its strength from show to show, quite apart from the condition of the dogs,which tends to improve or deteriorate from week to week. Over a given number of shows even a super dog will win at some, lose at others. However, if he is a good specimen and he is shown regularly, he must make his mark eventually, maybe get to the top if he is of really good class material.The average dog, because he is average, will seldom achieve the heights of fame, unless he is fortunate in that he has an owner who is an expert in campaigning a dog to stardom. Such instances are rare, which is just as well for the breed, but the novice with a good dog should rest content that with persistence, coupled with dedication, his dog will eventually be recognised, just as the poor one will fall by the wayside and finally be left at home.

 

There are many clubs specialising in the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. A list of these with their secretaries will be found in Appendix B. Join the one nearest to you; many of our leading exhibitors of Staffordshire Bull Terriers belong to them all. Here you will find breed enthusiasm in plenty where you can get all the advice and encouragement you need to further your interest in this remarkable dog.

         

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