The Way to Success in the Show Ring
By Lady Kitty Ritson

Ancient as I am, I can still remember my first essays in the show ring. The first was a Wire Fox Terrier bitch which I showed in India. Then I showed a black Pomeranian. I have had my ups and downs so I know exactly how you feel. First of all, get out of your mind that people have a down on you because you are a novice. In reality a judge is delighted to put up a promising newcomer.

You will probably have little success for some time, and for perfectly legitimate reasons, It is unlikely that you will be clever enough or lucky enough to buy a "star" directly you start - still less likely to breed one. This is a game where experience is worth far more than money. No amount of watching and advice can take its place, so if you are not successful at first, don't be discouraged,

If you find as time goes on, you win no prizes, you probably have not got a prize winning dog. You know, judges do not go into a huddle and decide to boycott a dog, and if a number of judges put your dog low in the classes they are probably right. Remember, this does not happen just to beginners, you will see well known kennels being "bumped" with some dog they fancy, and the chances are they have made a swan out of their goose. THE judge is not always right, but JUDGES are if they are in the plural.

More difficult for the novice is why he wins under one judge and not under another. There are many reasons. One day he may be in less good company, or his dog may look better or it may be off colour. Quite the least likely one is that the judge is dishonest. Ask the judge for his or her opinion by all means, but do not say "This won under Mr so and so". This cuts no ice at all, in fact one judge was heard to remark "Well, I should go on showing under Mr so and so!"

I can remember this happening to me many years ago, when we were on holiday with the caravan back home in Yorkshire. I entered a big agricultural show with corgis scheduled, my mother was there, and we were third in the ring. I remember not being happy as my mother was sat next to the corgi judge who was watching the first breed classes. In the four corgi classes I got last with all four of my corgis. I couldn't understand why and afterwards my mother said that she had told the judge everything I had won at past shows!

Not long ago, an exhibitor said to me that it seemed odd that her dog won everything as a puppy and since then it had done nothing. This is not unusual. Dogs do not progress in beauty each month. They go through the most awful stages. As a matter of fact a six month old puppy is a completely unknown quantity and a puppy which is very nice at six months is often a disappointing adult.

Remember, it is a long way to the top. You may do quite well even at Championship Shows until you get to the Limit class and there you will stick. You have probably got as far as you are likely to get, so now is the time to use the experience you have gained and start to breed. But I am only writing about showing. The most valuable lesson you can learn is by comparing your dog with winners. That will teach you a lot. It is an education in itself and will set you on the right road.

Whatever you feel about where you have been placed, don't go airing your opinion to the ringside. You afford the spectators great amusement and make yourself supremely ridiculous. Nobody cares, least of all the judge. If he is honest, and after many years I still think the majority of judges are honest, he knows why he has placed your dog where he has. If he is dishonest he has some extremely adequate reason for acting the goat, and dignified silence is your long suit!

I have bred Champions and I have walked last in my classes. I think in most cases I have been correctly placed. No one has an absolute right to win every time. You will find that people who have showed for a long time will tell you the same thing.

Swiss National 2007 - Open Class Bitches

This article was written in 1946 but has - in my opinion - not lost any of its actuality.
Reproduced from Our Corgi World - Summer 2015 with kind permission.