How hard it is in reality? - Doberman Forum : Doberman Breed Dog Forums
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-14-2020, 09:59 PM Thread Starter
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How hard it is in reality?

I never thought I'd be interested in going into the conformation ring, but that interest is slowly growing as I wait for my (hopeful) puppy to be born any day now. In the breeder's previous litter (including the dam of this litter), all but one of the pups have had at least a smidgen of a career in the conformation ring, with a 4 of 8 earning their Ch., and 2 of those earning their GCHS.

For someone with NO ring experience, how difficult is it really to earn that Ch. prefix in the Midwest? We do have a reputable training school near me which does some conformation classes, though the instructors' experience is mostly in smaller breeds and not dobies.

I'm trying to use this unbearable waiting time to research my little heart out.
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-15-2020, 01:18 AM
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The conformation ring can be very daunting, but so much of it depends on a variety of factors. The quality and temperament of your dog, your attitude and sense of humor, your dedication to training, the support of your breeder, and your bank account..... not necessarily in that order - haha.
I would suggest sitting down with the breeder and have a serious talk about it.

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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-15-2020, 08:40 AM
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I think everyone has a different opinion on this. If you have a nice puppy can you finish it yourself? In Dobermans it's fairly difficult because there are so many professional handlers out there. I have put points on my puppies. I personally chose to use a top handler because it's a money saver, especially if it's a major. I've never shown my dog for a major, I just think it's too hard to get a major so why chance the opportunity. Yes, I have to pay them but at the same time, if I spend every other weekend driving, paying hotel costs, food... and it takes 2-3 years to finish my dog, in the long run the handler is cheaper. My last bitch finished at 14mo. but had both majors at 9mo. My male finished at just over 2 years old.

I still love showing my dogs and I take them in the ring as puppies so that 1)they feel more secure in the ring being with the person that raised and trained them. 2) I don't pass them off to a handler unless I'm fairly sure they are ready to win maturity wise. I think showing is fun, much more so than the anxiety I get from watching my dogs being shown lol. But you HAVE to have thick skin because I can tell you, You'll lose A LOT. Sometimes you'll lose to great dogs but often times you will want to slap the crap out of the all breed judge and ask "were you watching another ring and just blindly picking a dog in this one?!?" I've been known for reporting bad judging and my dog wasn't even in the ring.

You have to get up at ridiculous hours to make an 8am ring time. You have to lug more crap into the show site than you ever thought one human would need to show one dog lol. You spend most of your time waiting around and/or cussing lol. Get rid of all your money now because while your dog lives like the King of Prussia you'll be nearly living in a cardboard box. Oh yeah, and just go ahead and buy a minivan now because if you're in this longer than a year, you'll be buying one lol. But you'll make some wonderful lifelong friends (whose dogs should never beat yours bc they aren't nearly as nice ) but you're still happy for them when they win and when the season is over (between like Nov-Jan) you'll miss seeing all of your friends and showing your dog. Lastly, you will ALWAYS walk in with the best dog and leave with the best dog, so enjoy the time you spend with your dog.
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-15-2020, 10:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by haunani View Post
I never thought I'd be interested in going into the conformation ring, but that interest is slowly growing as I wait for my (hopeful) puppy to be born any day now. In the breeder's previous litter (including the dam of this litter), all but one of the pups have had at least a smidgen of a career in the conformation ring, with a 4 of 8 earning their Ch., and 2 of those earning their GCHS.

For someone with NO ring experience, how difficult is it really to earn that Ch. prefix in the Midwest? We do have a reputable training school near me which does some conformation classes, though the instructors' experience is mostly in smaller breeds and not dobies.

I'm trying to use this unbearable waiting time to research my little heart out.
Gretchen-Red is correct when she says (see above) that everyone will have a different opinion.

I went to a dog show with a friend (with a Great Dane puppy) and Dobermans were in the ring right after Danes. I came home from that show--my first--and started looking for a breeder. I wanted a big black Dobe to show. (I knew nothing about choosing a show prospect--and that much has never really changed. Another friend found a litter--11 puppies, 5 males, 4 black. My Dane friend and I went to see them the following week--they were about 6 weeks old then.

This was a long long time ago--the big black male I got was whelped in 1959.
To make this shorter--I found a book and between my Dane friend and the book learned how to stack a dog--she told me what kind show collar to get and an appropriate leash. He got cropped by the wrong vet--and recropped by the vet who cropped most of the show Danes in the PNW and almost cried when he saw the too short bad crop--but at least he fixed the horrible huge bells from the first crop.

My friend brought me an premium list from a local show coming up when my puppy would be just over six month. She asked where is registration papers where. What registration papers. She breathed a sigh of relief when I said that the guy who bred the litter but wasn't the woman I bought the puppy from was having a practice show training class the coming weekend and we could ask about the papers.

The real breeder almost cried when he saw the ears--gave me his registration and said the puppy had turned out very well--he said I had the pick male and maybe the pick puppy from the litter. I was stoked. He said don't get real excited--it's going to be hard for a beginner handler even with a nice puppy to compete.

Later I learned that there were even more handlers in the Dobe ring then than there are today.

I found out, I found out how to be a good sport about loosing but we did our share of winning too--maybe more than our share--at our first show he went reserve from the 6-9 puppy class (very unusual for that day and age--most of the winners came from the open class) his second show was a Dobe Specialty and he went WD, and Best of Winners for a 5 point major. We went to Canada--and he went Best of Breed and Group 2 four days in a row and came home a Canadian champion. By fall that year he needed a major to finish--that last show of the year in the PNW had 5 point majors in dogs and bitches.
One of the handlers I regularly competed against told me the judge liked dogs that would show themselves and I should spend some time teaching my puppy to come to a stop in a stack and not handle him any more than I could possible get away with. He finished with a bang. He went Best of Breed from the classes and a Group 3.

By the time he finished I was just then starting to really be able to show that dog--I went on to owner handle my dogs until some health issues stopped me. But we sure had fun. It really helps to have a really good dog and quite by accident I did have a very good dog. I found out several things along the way--I loved showing my dogs (and any one else's) in the classes--not so much for Breed and definitely not in the Groups. His breeder retired his Special and my dog was his special for a good many years with Groups and BIS's to his credit.

I was green as grass in the show ring but I was lucky that the people (handlers) I showed against were nice and willing to share information with me and I listened to what they told me.

I think it's easier in some respects today to start out--showing a dog when you've never done it before. I've taken dogs through handling classes and most of them do a pretty good job teaching how to take a dog into the conformation ring. And if your puppy comes from a show breeder they are often very helpful in getting you started.

And you'll never know how you will do unless you try it. So good luck and I can definitely tell you it can be done.

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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-16-2020, 03:27 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you so much, everyone! I'm still not sure if this will be something I pursue, but y'all give me hope that it can be fun and possible. I'll keep doing my homework while I wait for word on if I get to bring home one of her puppies.

Hopeful future dobermom (again)
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-16-2020, 05:05 PM
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I'm daydreaming about showing Loki, He is so big and handsome with his natural ears and tail. To the op I say follow those dreams!
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-16-2020, 05:16 PM
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United Kennel Club shows can be a good way to dip your toes into the ring. They are typically much smaller than AKC shows, and professional handlers aren't allowed unless they are showing dogs they personally own.


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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-17-2020, 08:47 AM
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United Kennel Club shows can be a good way to dip your toes into the ring. They are typically much smaller than AKC shows, and professional handlers aren't allowed unless they are showing dogs they personally own.
In general the people and judges are nicer as well, IMO. It's like they know a lot of people are new and trying to learn.
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-17-2020, 09:17 AM
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These were all fantastic insights from everyone. Like the original poster, I too was thinking about showing my future pup myself so this was super helpful!

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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-17-2020, 10:48 AM
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OP, is your breeder local to you?

I highly HIGHLY recommend you get connected with your local DPCA chapter club. I don't show in conformation, but I'm a very active member of our club. Some of our folks are owner/handlers. Their breeders are mentors to them. We have some other people who are interested in showing and our breeders and our active members have been very, very willing to be mentors. I think, personally, the way to get involved in the conformation ring is to find people who are willing to mentor you. Friends I have across the country who have gotten involved in showing (and stuck with it) have said that the reason they enjoyed it is because they found someone (or a few people) who have been great mentors/friends. Someone who "showed them the ropes." Someone to sit ringside and talk them through looking at dogs. Someone who is hands-on with their dog, showing them what to do. Someone to support them. Your local club would really be a good place to connect with people, to find someone you "click" with who would be someone to help you out.

Your breeder, if not local, may also have some people she could steer you to in your area. Even though you can't go out now, you could start chatting online. There was a FB live video just yesterday that was a conformation learning video - it may still be up. It would be great to talk that through with someone who would be willing to mentor you with that.

I see that you are in Illinois -I'm not sure what area, but I know some really nice people in the Chicago area. The one I know is planning to move, but she would be a great resource for you. If you are near there, message me and I'll see if she can connect with you.
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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-17-2020, 12:03 PM
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Some great suggestion about where to start try conformation shows and about local Chapter clubs for help.

Good luck whatever you decide to do.

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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-17-2020, 01:45 PM
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My question for you: are you a competitive person? Can you handle disappointment? You HAVE to be competitive to do well in this particular venue, and you have to be willing to take your lumps and learn.

I didn't do well. I'm not competitive at all, and I'm a perfectionist who doesn't handle failure well.
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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-17-2020, 04:27 PM
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Dog or bitch. Definitely talk to your breeder before anything else.
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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-17-2020, 05:02 PM
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My question for you: are you a competitive person? Can you handle disappointment? You HAVE to be competitive to do well in this particular venue, and you have to be willing to take your lumps and learn.

I didn't do well. I'm not competitive at all, and I'm a perfectionist who doesn't handle failure well.
I am competative enough I guess. And it turned out I could handle disappointment (truthfully it's kind of like baseball scores--a real talented hitter might hit 3 out of 10 times at bat--400 hitters are so rare most baseball fans can name all of them) So on average a breeder owner handler I know who as been showing dogs for years says it takes about 8 months to finish a good dog with a professional handler. When I started it I wouldn't have been regarded as a really talented handler but because I had the other half of the equation--the really good dog--and he finished in AKC for that championship in 8 months--March to November. At the time shows within my range (Washington, Oregon, one show in California because it was part of one of the few old circuits--Cal Ore circuit) and one show in Idaho--for the same reason--part of two days of shows--one in Washington and one in Idaho A total of 21 shows.

Generally I was a pretty good sport (I'm not counting on what I said on the way home to the friend I went to a lot of shows.)

There are a lot more shows and while the entries have shrunk from the huge ones in the mid 70's to the beginings of the 90's and you'll hear people talk about how you can't even find majors any more that's just not true. Even in the worst years there are still more majors than there were in Dobes than there were when I started showing.

And although when I started showing it was harder to finish males than bitches (because there were more being shown). This has made a complete about turn--the entries are nearly always much bigger now in bitches than in males.

I'm sort of a perfectionist but because it takes two things for a win (mostly) in the conformation ring, losing didn't depress me to lose. You have to have a little talent and work at learning how showing in that ring is done but you have to have the dog too. I had a really hard time in the performance venues--went into the ring holding my breath--because I just knew I wasn't as good as some of the other people who had been in before me and after me. Best thing that happened to me was I met a woman who had the litter sister to one of my males who LOVED showing in performance. The breeder of one of my dogs show him a few times in Obedience--I showed him (holding my breath) the rest of the times and between up we put an AKC CD and a CKC CD on him to go along with he championships. But performance scares me like conformation never did.

And my biggest disappointment was the point at which I realized I'd never be able to show one of my conformation dogs. But some wonderful handlers probably did better than I ever did--we'll never know for sure.

It wasn't all bad--I liked watching my dogs in the ring--but not quite as much as I had like being in there with them. It's definitely not for everyone though.

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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-20-2020, 10:42 AM Thread Starter
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More wonderful information and ideas. I completely forgot about the UKC as a good "dip your toes in" option.

It would be a bitch, as she ended up with a litter of all females. The breeder has been wonderful to talk to over the past 10 months and I'm sure she'd be a great support, but she is 6.5 hours (and 2 states) away from me. This is still with me not knowing if I will even get one of her girls. I'm sure with her recent successes in the show ring that there is a lot of interest in her pups.

I'm up in NW Illinois (near Rockford), near the Wisconsin border. I'm closer to Madison than I am to Chicago proper.

Hopeful future dobermom (again)
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post #16 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-20-2020, 10:47 AM
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I would get your breeder to find someone she trusts that you can meet with to evaluate your puppy as she grows. It could be another breeder or handler or just someone with a good eye for dobermans. Showing dobermans is a big commitment and being 6.5hrs away from your breeder is really not that far. You may be driving further to go to the right shows or to get your puppy to a handler.
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post #17 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-26-2020, 10:23 AM
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Dogs Name: Vanya (Miniature Pinscher), Nadia (Doberman Pinscher)
Titles: SD CSAU ATT IBAR SPOT CGN WAC BH BSA G1a
Dogs Age: 17/03/09, 26/02/15
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I don't have much to add to the thread besides my personal experience. I took my girl into the show ring three times, once UDC under AKC judges, once in UKC and once in CKC. For the CKC show I passed her off to professional handlers and what I realised then is I enjoy the showing experience a LOT more when I'm not stressing and fussing and worrying about whether I'm doing the right thing. I found I got to enjoy my dog a lot more watching her in someone else's expert hands.
But you won't know until you try.


Show yourself
I'm no longer trembling
Here I am
I've come so far
You are the answer I've waited for
All of my life
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The Following User Says Thank You to Artemis For This Useful Post:
melbrod (04-26-2020)
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