I’m not sure if I’m typical of most Americans with this, but I love lists. I rely on a list to keep me on the straight and narrow at Costco, spell out what I’m supposed to get done in a day, remind me of all the things I don’t want to forget before leaving for a dog show (like, say, the dog) – and keep a mental “naughty and nice” list for my own personal amusement.
I make lots of lists – and lose half of them. I especially like lists with bullets. You know, bullets?
- Clean oven
- Buy wine
- Wash Dogs
- Buy wine
- Return Library Books
- Liquor Store
Lists are the ultimate ice breaker at a party: Quick – name the Seven Dwarfs. List the Eight Wonders of the World. Name the Great Lakes. What are the Seven Deadly Sins? What were the Seven Nations of the Iroquois. Rattle off the Ten Commandments. See? You’re doing it. You’re seeing if you can answer any of these.
For the record, the dwarfs did not have names in the original Snow White story as written by the Brothers Grimm. The story has been adapted so often into books, animation, film, and plays that somewhere along the line, the dwarfs got names, and those names changed according to the release date of the medium (as did the number of dwarfs). In 1912, the dwarfs were named Blick, Flick, Glick, Plick, Quee, Snick and Whick. In 1937, the Disney animation gave them the names by which we know them today: Bashful, Doc, Dopey, Grumpy, Happy and Sleepy. Later versions, I think, left something to be desired: In 1965, they were Axelrod, Bartholomew, Cornelius, Dexter, Eustace and Ferdinand. It just gets worse. Last year in “Snow White and the Huntsman,” they became Beith, Coll, Duir, Gort, Muir and Nion.
But I digress.
My affection for lists puts me in good company. When asked what book he recommended for writers, Garrison Keillor replied, “Roget’s Thesaurus, the fourth edition, which has those cool lists of words, like twenty five types of anchors, a hundred varieties of cheese, forty kinds of saws, and on and on….the Fort Knox of Words.” While I don’t have that particular book, my own list bible is the Trivia Lovers’ Lists of Everything – 50,000 big and little things organized by type and kind. Boxing punches, knife types, all the messages that appear in a Magic ‘8’ Ball, purple color variations, forms of marriage, types of radiation. These are things I must know.
Even if some people don’t keep lists, however, pretty much everyone loves the kind of list that defines excellence: The Final Four, The Triple Crown, the Top Ten of anything. When something I love – dog shows – involves a list, I’m in heaven. With regards to “the triple crown,” it’s not just for horse racing. There is some debate within the dog fancy as to what our Triple Crown is. Certainly Westminster is one. Crufts would be the other. But is the third “crown” the World Dog Show, the National Dog Show, or the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship?
In my view, it would have to the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship by virtue of the competition. Not only are great dogs from this country exhibited there, but great dogs from over 45 countries are flown in. I’ve been honored by my dog having received invitations to Eukanuba, but I’ve always elected to write from the show because of the access I have to see so many cool things. As a result of this access, I’ve come to feel that Eukanuba is the dog fancy’s front line of attack against animal rights zealots by showcasing purebred dogs in a meaningful way to the public. Education is most effective when it happens “live.” Pet this Xoloitzcuintli, watch dogs dive into water and love it, see the partnership between handler and dog at the conformation show, look at how wicked fast the agility dogs are, touch this dog’s hair, feel the bond between the companion dog and its owner.
Pet, watch, see, look, touch, feel – these are action words the public experiences for themselves. You can’t teach this in books, and you can’t convince an uninformed public about the value of purebred dogs in society unless they see it for themselves. Perhaps my only complaint about Eukanuba has been that there has been so much to see that I sometimes have felt that I missed something.
This is about to change, and if you’re considering attending Eukanuba this year, you’ll want know that a full day of events has been added to the Friday before the show. It’s being called the “Final Five” which appeals to my love of lists. What five events will usher in the end of the competitive dog show year this December? Three all-breed dog shows, a day of independent specialties, special attractions, and the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship.
It’s the day of special attractions held on the Friday before Eukanuba that has my attention. I’ve already written about the importance of the Eukanuba Breeder’s Stakes Finals and why, in my opinion, this event should be standing-room-only. We need to support breeders at a time they’re coming under fire from animal rights radicals, the growing intolerance of shelter-and-rescue zealots, and a gullible, if not misinformed public. In previous years, however, the Breeder’s Stakes has suffered from scheduling conflicts and too many fellow exhibitors, fanciers and spectators have been unable to watch. With its new time slot on Friday, I, for one, expect to see a healthy crowd at the ring in a show of support, if not out of the shared interest that fanciers have in common: This whole “dog show thing,” is about one thing: Assessing dogs in order to determine soundness and type worthy enough to create the next generation of that breed.
Another “must attend” event moved to Friday is the World Challenge pre-judging. In addition to seeing some breeds not yet accepted by the AKC, spectators will be treated to seeing various breeds as they are shown under FCI rules. The competition is fierce, the atmosphere is international and the judging is fascinating – but pre-judging in the past has usually been missed by many exhibitors because of scheduling conflicts with their own breed judging. Watching this competition will be the closest some of us ever get to the World Dog Show and you owe it to yourself as a fancier to see this.
The AKC/Eukanuba National Championship will be held December 10-15, 2013 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida. The broad schedule looks like this:
- Dec. 10-12, 2013: Space Coast Kennel Club of Palm Bay, Brevard Kennel Club, Central Florida Kennel Club and Orlando Dog Training Club shows, which include all-breed conformation, obedience and Junior Showmanship competitions;
- Dec. 13, 2013: A full day of specialties and special attractions, including Eukanuba World Challenge pre-judging, the Eukanuba Breeder’s Stakes Finals and the AKC Owner-Handler Series end-of-year competition. Clubs interested in hosting specialties should contact Michael Canalizo at firstname.lastname@example.org or 212-696-8213;
- Dec. 14-15, 2013: The AKC/Eukanuba National Championship, joined by the AKC Agility Invitational and the AKC Obedience Classic (and their respective Juniors competitions). Other activities include Celebrate Dogs!, AKC Meet the Breeds® and My Dog Can Do That!, Best Bred-By-Exhibitor competition, and Eukanuba World Challenge.
Suddenly, I’m getting really excited for December. Note to self: Make a list of things to take.