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There are many reasons why people become interested in dog shows. For the spectators it is the chance to observe the finest canines of all breeds, and the exquisite grooming and training these purebred dogs possess. For those who show their dogs it is the thrill of winning. If you have ever thought this is something you would like to try, we would like to suggest starting with small dogs, because they usually are perfect show dogs for the beginner. Below are a few of the reasons why small dogs are a good choice for the novice who desires to break into the show dog circuit.
One of the top reasons so many people believe small dogs are perfect show dogs is concerning the care of these smaller dogs: it is much less demanding. Everything about preparing a small dog for the show is less expensive except for the show applications expenditures. They require less time to bath and brush before the show, less shampoo and other preparation products are required, and smaller dogs are much easier to transport to and from dog shows than large breeds. A big plus is the money saved when a professional groomer is used. This is money savings you can use for professional training and other expenses incurred when showing a dog.
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Having shown both Shibas (roughly 20-23 lbs) and Elkhounds (roughly 50-55 lbs), I don’t know that smaller is cheaper (except for the crate itself)… In 15+ years, I’ve never had to pay for a grooming spot, but it IS easier to fit your equipment into a tight corner with a smaller dog, and also easier to fit into a car as well as easier to carry into a show. I’ve found the entry fees to be the same, the training class prices to be the same, it’s pretty much the same across the board.
The MAIN benefits of showing a smaller dog – at least that I’ve found – is the fact that most smaller breeds are shown indoors, while the larger breeds are shown outdoors. Doesn’t matter if it just rained and the ground is mud, or if it might start raining at any minute – the Elkhounds and larger breeds are almost always outdoors. 8:00 a.m., the temperature is still in the 40’s? Get used to it… And, since you want to groom near your ring (so you can keep on top of the progress, be able to tell when your ring time is approaching), then you are also grooming your dog in those same conditions…
However, the smaller breeds are almost always shown indoors. Warmer, dry, your clothes stay cleaner – there’s no comparison. Also, in the scorching heat of summer, many indoor venues have air conditioning; the larger breeds are still outdoors, fighting for whatever shade they can find to keep their dogs cool.
The other benefit that I’ve noticed between the breeds is showing the dog itself. While you are in the ring, you will have to make at least 2 circles around the perimeter of the ring, maybe even 3 or 4. That is called gaiting your dog, and each breed is gaited at different speeds. The larger dogs have longer legs, so are gaited at a faster speed. Imagine gaiting a Great Dane vs. gaiting a chihuahua – would you like to run a marathon or take a walk in the park? (exaggeration, but that’s the basic idea…)