A show Golden Retriever is a comparatively rare thing. He is one out of several litters of puppies. He happens to be bom with a degree of physical perfection that closely approximates the standard by which the breed is judged in the show ring. Such a dog should, on maturity, be able to win or approach his championship in good, fast company at the larger shows. Upon finishing his championship, he is apt to be as highly desirable as a breeding animal. As a proven stud, he will automatically command a high price for service.
Showing Golden Retrievers is a lot of fun—yes, but it is a highly competitive sport. While all the experts were once beginners, the odds are against a novice. You will be showing against experienced handlers, often people who have devoted a lifetime to breeding, picking the right ones, and then showing those dogs through to their championships. Moreover, the most perfect Golden Retriever ever bom has faults, and in your hands the faults will be far more evident than with the experienced handler who knows how to minimize his Golden Retriever’s faults. These are but a few points on the sad side of the picture.
The experienced handler, as I say, was not bom knowing the ropes. He learned—and so can you! You can if you will put in the same time, study and keen observation that he did. But it will take time!
KEY TO SUCCESS
First, search for a truly fine show prospect. Take the puppy home, raise him by the book, and as carefully as you know how, give him every chance to mature into the Golden Retriever you hoped for. My advice is to keep your dog out of big shows, even looking for faults. Look for the virtues—the best qualities. How does a given Golden Retriever shape up against the standard? Having looked for and noted the virtues, then note the faults and see what prevents a given Golden Retriever from standing correctly or moving well. Weigh these faults against the virtues, since, ideally, every feature of the dog should contribute to the harmonious whole dog.
Puppy Classes, until he is mature. Maturity in the male is generally two years; with the female, 14 months or so. When your Golden Retriever is approaching maturity, start out at match shows, and, with this experience for both of you, then go gunning for the big wins at the big shows.
Next step, read the standard by which the Golden Retriever is judged.
Study it until you know it by heart.
Having done this, and while your puppy is at home (where he should be) growing into a normal, healthy Golden Retriever, go to every dog show you can possibly reach. Sit at the ringside and watch Golden Retriever judging.
Keep your ears and eyes open. Do your own judging, holding each of those dogs against the standard, which you now know by heart.
In your evaluations, don’t start the second dog. Try to follow the judge’s reasoning. Later try to talk with the judge after he is finished. Ask him questions as to why he placed certain Golden
Retrievers and not others.
Listen while the judge explains his placings, and.
I’ll say right here, any judge worthy of his license should be able to give reasons.
When you’re not at the ringside, talk with the fanciers who have Golden Retrievers.
Don’t be afraid to ask opinions or say that you don’t know.
There are different types of dog shows in which you may enter your Golden. In any show, it is important that you make sure your Golden Retriever is being presented to his best advantage.
You have a lot of listening to do, and it will help you a great deal and speed up your personal progress if you are a good listener.