A three hour PowerPoint presentation on “The Heritage of the Afghan Hound” was presented to a sold out audience at the Afghan Hound Club of America, Inc. National on Tuesday, 5 October, 2004 which was held at the Holiday Inn in St. Cloud Minnesota. To obtain a copy of the CD The Heritage of the Afghan Hound refer to Ed's Books page.
Match shows were used as a training ground for dogs and their owners, and to develop knowledgeable stewards, show committees and judges. They supplemented the training classes too. Unfortunately they are going the way of the dodo bird thanks to cluster shows. Exhibitors are really between a rock and a hard place. There are no new show committees and trainers coming up through the ranks. Clubs now fulfill the minimum requirements in order to maintain their status with AKC. In Southern California there were independent match shows with 800 to 1200 dogs, now most matches have 50 to 100 entries.
Match shows today are a joke. How many people want to haul out their puppies at night after a full day of showing? A match put on after BIS lacks consideration for the puppies. What about judges who are required to gain experience in new breeds at match shows and in sweeps? I remember agreeing to judge an after show match. At the show I judged an entry of 170 starting at 8:30 AM that day. The match was to start one half hour after BIS. It started one hour and a bit after. The match show committee had the paperwork handed to them. They did not set up the rings. They did not break down a show. I even had to act as my own steward. What did the club members learn?
I had no ride back to my hotel after doing the additional two hours of match judging. I got back to the hotel at 10:30 PM. The restaurant was closed. I ended up with no dinner. I am not complaining but pointing out what is going on. I made the choice to do the match. Fortunately I had an easy day the following day. It is becoming a very bad situation that is overflowing into point shows where the trained and your best should be exhibited. The clubs wonder where their new workers will come from!
A puppy will always make you humble. I don't have a problem with puppies in my ring. I do want to warn you that there are a lot of judges out there that really believe that a puppy must behave at point shows. If they do not, the judges get quite upset. How dare you use my ring to train your dogs, etc., etc. I often wonder that if a judge can't laugh at the antics of a dog, why are they there? Where is the joy and challenge if you can't laugh and appreciate your entries?
Many of those judges have long since shown a dog. This is one of the reasons why I think it is good for a judge to keep their hand in the ring and show dogs. They get reminded of what it's like on the other end of the pointing finger. Judges remember the days when there were actually other training venues. They don't realize that the scene has changed so drastically and that exhibitors are really stuck for the most part spending a lot of money at point shows to train dogs.
What is the solution? I have some very strong ideas that will never happen. We can not turn the clock back, but we can make changes that will consider the basic original purpose of the match show.