Friday, February 22, 2008

Don't Get: How Dog Show Winners are Determined

God bless cable TV! With a million channels to choose from, you can sure stumble onto some random, obscure stuff can't you? There are now a boatload of home makeover shows and two boatloads of cooking shows and reruns of every sitcom from Sanford and Son to Alice. And then mixed in there is the occasional dog show. I think the cable TV programming people figured if Redd Foxx (love the spelling of his name!) could still command an audience, so could a schnauzer being dragged around a ring by a lesbian dog handler in sensible shoes.

You've stopped for a minute or two on the riveting coverage of the Westminster Kennel Club dog show, right? They're big deals in the dog world. They take place in Madison Square Garden and stuff and if you're a dog dude/dudette, it's the pinnacle of showing Fido to the rest of the world. Of course, the dogs aren't named Fido, they're named Champion Lobuff Hollyridge Kisskadee (that's a real name from this year's show!). And these dogs ain't exactly out rolling in dead squirrels or even fetching a frisbee in your back yard with you. Instead, they're busy being groomed and coiffed and having more money spent on them than most people spend on their kids. You know darn well that everything in the lesbian dog handler's house is dog-related: wallpaper, doormat, throw pillows, coffee mug, toilet paper and generally all kinds of chachki.

So that's fine - you're psycho about dogs and you drag said dog to the dog show and parade him around. Whatever. But I don't know how anyone can tell if one dog is better than another. Who even knows the criteria? The announcers apparently know because they make comments like "Look at that Corgi's attitude - clearly this dog is made for __________ !" To me, it doesn't really matter what he dog is so clearly made for. I'd just kind of like to know if it's going to hump my leg and if it's going to be all yippy and stuff. Same goes for a Lab of any kind. Exactly what is the proper length for the ear to kind of flop over? Again, the announcers, judges and lesbian handlers must know because supposedly one Lab is better than another and is going to be awarded Best In Show. However, I'm going to make a bold statement here and suggest that perhaps the announcers SHARE WITH THE AUDIENCE exactly what makes one yippy little fuzzball different from the yippy little fuzzball next to it in the lineup!

Ever watch Texas Hold 'Em on TV? If you're not a gambler, it's about as much fun as watching grass grow but if you like playing poker, it's a good time. The thing about all the poker shows on TV is that even though there is some lingo and jargon that you have to learn, at least there are some nifty graphics and hidden cameras and stuff to let the viewer know who has the best hand. Because of all these cool features that the TV people have added to involve the audience, I can see that the Vietnamese guy with the pair of queens is probably going to beat the Vietnamese guy with the pair of nines. Now compare that to what the audience knows about the dog being pranced around the ring. The audience knows that it is a .... dog. If it's a male dog, the audience sees the dog's ENORMOUS nuts because I swear the camera guy makes sure to get one good nut shot of every male dog just to make me feel inadequate but beyond that, the announcer just lets us know that what we are looking at is a Shih Tzu and that last year he came in second place and is really trying to take Best In Show this year. Huh? Exactly what is the dog doing to make himself a better dog? Last year he was a dog and this year he is ...... still a dog. Maybe his nuts got bigger, I don't know.

And then the moment of truth! Of all the Sporting Dogs or Working Dogs or Toy Dogs, there is one Best Dog. And hell if I know how that dog is determined to be the best friggin' dog in the joint! The Best In Show (BIS) dog sure as hell better not let those stinky-ass dog farts that are so, so nasty! What the BIS dog should do is fetch my pipe and slippers and bark when a bad guy comes to steal my plasma TV. That's my definition of a BIS dog.

This year was a big upset because a lowly beagle won (BIS). You know all those lesbians in their sensible shoes were aghast at the idea of a dumb-ass beagle beating out their precious Lhasa Apso. Take that, lesbos! The only way a yippy little fuzzball like a Lhasa Apso is going to be BIS is if there is a "Works Well to Clean Hardwood Floors" category.

Come on over to my casa sometime and meet my dog. She's part chocolate lab and part something else. Her hair kind of stands up on the back of neck that makes people think she is mean but she's not. She loves to swim and chase a tennis ball and frisbee all day long and then shake all the water off herself onto you. She'll sit when I tell her to - most of the time. That's her in the post about my hatred for Tupperware. She's no BIS, but then again, I'm no lesbian.


Anonymous said...

i watch texas hold em on tv ALL THE TIME. does that make me a bad person? or someone with a wannabe gambling addiction???

The Smoking Monkey from Stuckeys said...

Yes, the all mighty beagle finally gets his day. Non-lesbian snoopy lovers of the world can now rejoice.

Clearly, the only reason this did not ocurr earlier is becasue no beagle was ever entered in the Westminister show that could sing "Happy Birthday" on command.

AP said...

funny post. i'm still laughing at the look on the guy's face in the picture. :)

thanks for the comment on my site!

Noelle said...

They don't even make those dogs fetch, bring slippers or not bark when a stranger comes to the door. In my mind, that's how you judge a dog.

brian said...

I'm just trying to figure out why the WKC showed up on three different networks, two of them in HD.

KirBir said...

Well, isn't it obvious? Cos somewhere there's some crazy guy who just loves watching the dog's nuts bounce around in HD - almost seems like you can see 'em for real!

Nice blog John, very nice.

just me said...

I think people just bring their dogs to big arenas, everyone eats dogfood and kinda gets poisoned, and then chooses the winner while in a crazy dogfood-induced psychedelic state.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater said...

Good post, and your dog has my vote!

The Ex said...

Gawd, my ex's parents used to make a big deal about watching that WITH THEIR DOGS. Like, seriously?

Colette Amelia said...

curiously I dig your curiosity about what makes a good dog! or the other curiosities of life that just somehow don't make sense to me...and some like Paris Hilton, Survivor, Scott Baio is 46 and pregnant, OPRAH all seem to be over my head? It is so good to not be alone in the world!

Curly Glamour Girlie said...

As a new parents glued to a baby while feeding him with the remote across the room teasingly, I am stuck watching a myriad of "bad" tv. But I digress....what I don't get is the "Caution - Show Dogs" signs I see on vehicles. Why should I be more careful because there are over-primped pooches in there? Shouldn't I be cautious because there are PEOPLE in the car???

minijonb said...

Have you seen the movie "Best In Show" ??? Even if you hate dog shows (as you clearly and rightly do) you'll probably like the film. It's done by the people who made Spinal Tap. Enough said.


John said...

ex-tex: don't be a wannabe! you should really strive to be an addict!

brian: i know. seems like a waste of perfectly good HD.

kirbir: i have to look away when the dogs' nuts start swinging. i get nut envy.

just me: now THAT'S entertainment!

dr. k: thanks. i'll let her know.

the ex: that's reason enough to break up with him! you don't want to get sucked into that whole scene!!

colette: i'm not so sure you should feel good about being in my world. it's a little dicey sometimes...

curly: those damn kids will do that to you. my guess is those psycho dog people buckle their dogs in so i say go ahead and ram them.

jonb: maybe the best black lab out there is one that can be none more black!

MJ said...

Are you HAPPY now??

Anna said...

I like your dog, she's so cute! What's her name?

I don't know how dog show winners are determined either... it's a weird thing, as are any animal shows or beauty pageants. Actually, I think beauty pageants are more ridiculous than any dog show with Lhasa Apsos and lesbians could ever be. I would rather go there than witness vapid, bikini-clad Barbies say "world peace" and play the cow bell. At least, I could meet some lesbians at the dog show and they'd even have cute dogs!

I loved this post, it was hilarious. I think your writing is getting better and better and you should do a lot more of it than you do (there's the editor-in-chief in me running wild). So keep 'em coming!



I need orange said...

Actually, they DO explain how the dogs are judged. Every single time they broadcast a dog show.

The national breed group, for each breed, makes a written standard defining the ideal example of their breed. You can go to the AKC website and see the standards.

The judges have memorized all the standards for the breeds they are allowed to judge (so the best-in-show judge is supposed to know allllllllll of the standards).

Each dog is being judged against the standard for its breed. The Pembroke corgi is being judged against the Pembroke standard, the Cardigan corgi against the Cardigan standard, the Sheltie against the Sheltie standard, etc.

The dog deemed by the judge to be the closest to the ideal for its breed (as defined by the standard) is the one who wins.

And of course it is subjective.....

As a further reality check, most show dogs live in the houses of the people that own them. They play frisbee, they bark at things, they sleep in the couch, they eat @(#&%, just like non-show dogs. Plus a lot of them hunt, herd, guard, pull sleds, and all that other stuff dogs were bred to do. They mention this sort of detail about the individual dogs all through the show...........

Dog showing isn't my thing, but I have friends who are involved because they care deeply about their breeds, and want their dogs to be the very best possible examples of the breed. The way to ensure that is to show to people who are truly knowledgeable......

So that's the goal -- to have a group of really good dogs, and have the judge think yours is the very best example of its breed in the ring.

For some kinds of animal judging, the judge announces what s/he things are the strengths and weakenesses of each animal, aloud over a microphone, right there in the ring.

I think that is excellent practice, and would like to see them do it at dog shows.

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