Although only AKC shows seem like "real dog shows" to me, there are several other organizations that put on shows. One of them is the United Kennel Club, a large and active organization that has been in existence for many years. Their shows are smaller, less formal, include breeds not recognized by AKC, and it's much easier to finish a championship There are generally two shows held each day, four per weekend. We didn't have many UKC shows in this area until the past few years, but now there are a number of show weekends throughout the year.
The overall quality is not as high, but the best dogs are often very good indeed. Some of the dogs are already AKC champions, mature, well-trained, experienced showdogs whose owners are just looking to add new titles. The shows are also a great way for young dogs to get extra ring experience without a lot of expense, AND they give awesome ribbons. Argus, Pauli & Penny are already UKC Champions, and have also earned UKC Best In Show wins.
Because Fern and I needed more opportunity for practice, I had decided to enter her for one day of the recent show weekend. Because there are also non-regular class for puppies (wins don't count toward their championships), Max came along too. He'd never gaited on a showlead before, and was used to stacking only on a table, but he's a quick study and will do almost anything for food.
Fern visited the chiropractor on Thursday because I was concerned with her pacing, and the doctor felt Fern had sustained a minor back injury that was causing a problem with tight muscles. She gave me some stretching exercises to do. The exercises seemed to help because Fern moved a lot better. More importantly, she was brave and friendly, stood well for the exam, wagged her tail at both of the judges, and didn't jump on either of them. Good dog Fern! She was the only Dal, so automatically went Best Of Breed. Dals show in the Companion Group, where she went Group 2nd at the first show (behind a lovely Bulldog), and Group 1st at the second. Even better dog, Fern. No idea how many points she won, but we only showed the first day and will wait awhile before doing any more UKC shows.
Little Max showed like a star. I was amazed at how well he moved on a showlead, and of course he was very friendly on the exam. Both judges were extremely complimentary about Max, and I was very proud when he went Best Puppy in Show. Good boy, Max. Great start and he had a wonderful time.