This weekend, the First Company Governor’s Food Guard Athletic Association’s annual dog shows occurred in Springfield, MA. Previously, these shows were in Hartford. Last year, Hartford was Loki’s first show, so it seemed sensible to let these shows be Pike’s first as well. (Spoiler alert: Pike did better than Loki on his first time out!)
We had plans to show both Pike and Loki both days this weekend, but the judging schedule for Saturday had Loki in the ring at 8:30 am, and Pike in at 1:00 pm. The big gap between ring times meant that Jackson and Clover would have to come to the show with us, because otherwise they’d be home alone for far longer than I am comfortable with asking them to go without potty breaks. When it came time to load the crates into the Dog Bus on Friday afternoon, I made the executive decision to pull Pike from Saturday’s competition, so we could just show and go with Loki, and thus leave Jackson and Clover at home. The weather Friday was just frigidly cold and I simply couldn’t bear the thought of staying out in the cold long enough to rearrange the crates in the van, then having to set up crates for a single day of showing.
Saturday’s show was a major for class dogs in Rhodesian Ridgebacks. Loki won his class, but Winners Dog and Best of Winners was awarded to Aron, who belongs to Marsa, and Reserve Winners Dog went to Loki’s litter brother Raylan. So, as Marsa said while the boys were in the ring, “We’re keeping it in the family!” Nathan stayed with Pike while I showed Loki, and he reported that Pike was perfectly content in his crate. No fussing, no whining, just happy to watch everything going on. Big win for us on that front! We did let him walk around and socialize a bit, and Tiny Dog took everything in stride. Yay Pike!
Sunday, Pike and Loki had ring times that were stacked on top of each other, so we decided Nathan would handle Loki, and I would take Pike. Pike’s entry was in a special 4 – 6 month non-competitive puppy class (no points) that is intended to help introduce puppies to the show ring, and novice owners too. Last year when we did this class with Loki, he was the only entry in Rhodesian Ridgebacks, but this year Pike didn’t get off so lucky: there were three other Ridgeback puppies in the ring with us! I was pretty nervous about how Pike would perform, because I have been the laziest slacker trainer with Pike. We haven’t gotten him to a single handling class, and the only introduction he’s had to stacking has been extremely lackadaisical practice in my living room, not even on a show lead. Oh, and of course we were first in line!
So, all that said, I am extremely proud beyond words to report that my little liver-nose boy did his job with complete aplomb. He stacked as well as I would expect a four-month old puppy to do, he gaited perfectly without trying to break into a gallop or chew on the lead, and he walked out of the ring on Sunday with the ribbon for Puppy Best of Breed and a rosette for a Puppy Hound Group 1! Tiny Dog did it!
Over in Loki’s ring, Nathan was busy winning as well! Loki won his class, won Winner’s Dog, and then took Best of Winners to add another point toward his championship — which would be Nathan’s first point in the the show ring. However, it took me a little while to find out just how well Nathan had done with Loki.
As I was standing outside Pike’s ring waiting to go back in for Best Puppy In Show, I kept craning my neck to see how Nathan was doing in his ring. Nathan saw me looking and held up the ribbon that Loki won for Winner’s Dog, which is a purple ribbon. However, with the lighting and the distance between us, to me the ribbon looked red — which is a second place ribbon. I thought he was showing me that Loki was second place in his class, and I gave him a thumbs up to say, “Yes, I got it!” So, with me thinking he had only won second place in Loki’s class, I was confused by why Nathan and Loki kept standing outside the ring. At first I thought he was waiting to be judged for Reserve Winners Dog, but then I saw there were bitches in the ring.
So I’m standing there wondering just what the hell is going on, and thinking to myself, “What the !@#$ is Nathan doing? You’re done! Go put the dog back in his crate!” and Nathan was ACTUALLY standing waiting to go back in the Best of Breed class so Loki could compete for Best of Winners. And I keep looking, and grumbling to myself, and looking — because, remember, I think Loki was only second place in his class.
Finally, Pike and I got to go back into Pike’s ring to compete for Best Puppy in Show (which was awarded to a Cavalier King Charles), and then I took Pike outside to have a quick potty break. We came back in, I put Pike in his crate, and boy was I confused when Nathan handed me a whole fistful of ribbons! I looked down at the ribbons, back up and Nathan, and then threw myself at him in a giant hug when I realized he had actually gotten Best of Winners! Nathan and Loki did it, too!
So, that was our weekend, which was pretty awesome. How did yours go?
Happy fourth birthday to our big man Jackson! When we first opened a conversation with Marsa about what we were looking for in a Rhodesian Ridgeback, I asked for a calm, confident puppy that would be have a solid temperamental base that I could build on and she gave me that in spades. Jackson has gone everywhere and done everything I’ve ever asked him to do.
Happy birthday to all the dogs from the Toren x Zora litter!
If it’s been quiet here around the ol’ blog, it’s because we took time to head to Orlando for the AKC Eukanuba National Championship, and combined that time with a family vacation. It was two days of straight driving there (and two days on the way back), and I need to start by giving a hundred thousand thank-yous to Amy and Marsa, without whom the trip would not have happened. Amy boarded Clover for us, and Marsa boarded Jackson and Pike, so that we only had to travel with Loki.
On the trip, before heading to Orlando, we made a stop in Perry, FL to visit my family for a few days.
My dad has, in addition to the house dogs, actual hunting foxhounds. He’s always had hunting dogs, pretty much my whole life. Florida is one of the few (the only?) states that will allow you to hunt deer with a pack of dogs. His current crew are a mix of Walker and Blue Tick hounds, and they have no idea what the show ring is. I think they made jokes about Loki behind his back. 😉 Anyway, growing up around my dad’s dogs is for sure where I get my love of a good hound. Without the dogs that he raised, I wouldn’t have my Rhodesians.
We had two little excursions during our stay in Perry. First was to the site of the old Hampton Springs resort.
A day later, we went out to the Hickory Mound area in the Big Bend Wildlife Management Area. The last time I was out in Hickory Mound, it was hunting with my dad. He left me at the truck while he headed out down the road. I got bored. I decided wading in the water would be a good idea. It wasn’t, because it’s full of razor sharp oyster beds, and I still have the scar on the bottom of my foot to remind me that wading in oyster beds is … not smart.
The kumquats were delicious but the oranges … well, if you ever get offered an orange by my uncle David, be suspicious. I suggested he might want to put some sugar down by the tree base. Like, a bag full of it. They were VERY bitter!
This brings us to the end of part one … part two tomorrow I’ll cover the actual show in Orlando!
Yesterday, Nalyua had some amazingly good questions about Clover and her championship. So good, I wanted to pull them out into their own post. (Naly, I <3 you so much for how good these are!)
Congratulations for Clover winning her Championship! (Err my apologies if I interpret the post wrong!)
You did not interpret the post wrong. Thank-you very much!
That leads me to a (maybe) stupid question again. I’m sorry!
I see that Clover won points even after she got this floppy ear which is not breed standard.
Before her ear injury, Clover had already won 11 points and had two major wins. She needed four points to finish her title.
The thing about breed standards is that they describe a hypothetical ideal dog of that breed, and no real dog is going to be perfect in every way. Some judges we’ve shown to since her ear injury have been able to look past the floppy ear and say, “Well, even with the bad ear, I think this dog gets closer to the hypothetical ideal dog described in the standard.” Some judges have decided that the bad ear was enough of a flaw that they felt the other dog in the ring was more deserving of the win. I had the opportunity to talk to a judge on each side of that divide — one said the ear injury didn’t bother him because he liked Clover’s structure and her movement very much. The other judge said that, while there were things she liked about Clover, the standard was very clear about both ears being erect, and she felt that was more important. Judging is inherently subjective because you’re comparing each dog in the ring to a hypothetical ideal dog, so every judge has to decide for themselves what part is more important than other part. If you have two dogs that are in all other ways equally of good quality, do you pick the one with a better shoulder, or the one with a better rear? Ask ten judges, get ten different answers.
And I saw your descriptions that Jackson needed to mature a bit and get more broader around the chest.
Yep, at the time we retired him from showing, we hoped that with maturity, Jackson’s front would improve.
He didn’t seem to get the same amount of points Clover got. To me as a total noob this seems very strange because the floppy ear is obviously and clearly visible not supposed to be there, while Jackson looks like an exemplatory Ridgeback( and even seemed to be the breeders pick puppy until they decided on a girl instead). To someone who has no idea that is.
In some way, this is just an example of how you make an educated guess at 8 weeks old of how a puppy will turn out, and then they do (or don’t) turn out the way you had hoped. Jackson’s shoulder and chest assembly is put together in a way that makes him stand with his two front feet very close together most of the time, because his chest is narrow. With dogs, movement follows structure. The way a dog is put together directly influences how he will move. And the more easily a dog can move — the less he has to fight his own body to move freely — the easier it will be for him to do the job he was bred to do (or to compete in dog sports, or even just be a pet). He has some lovely features — he has beautiful shoulder angulation, a very strong rear, and he looks very nice when you watch him trotting from the side. But as soon as he starts trotting in a straight line toward you, you can immediately see how that narrow chest affects the way he has to move his front legs in order to get out of his own way.
I am told — by people who are much more experienced in this than I am — that if I wanted to spend the money on it, I could eventually put a title on Jackson, but it won’t be as easy as putting points on Loki has been. I haven’t taken it off the table yet — Jackson is only three years old. No dog is ideal, and he’s got a lot of good points too.
In this photo, you can see the difference between Jackson’s chest and Loki’s chest (or Clover’s chest) pretty clearly, especially if you look at the spacing between their feet. This was a candid photo so you can see how each dog naturally “falls” into a different way of holding himself, just as a result of the differences in how their bones are put together. But also pay attention to the amount of space between the legs at the bottom of the chest — imagine putting your hand between their legs, and how much room there would be on Jackson versus Loki. See also how Jackson’s toes on his front feet point in different directions, and Loki’s all point the same direction. Again, this is due to that chest assembly and how the bones all interact with each other.
Then again Clover got this floppy ear due to an injury and Jackson’s problem is more from the general bone structure?
I am told that as long as an injury is considered an “honorable” injury — in other words, it’s not the result of cosmetic surgery or an attempt to surgically correct a fault in structure — that it is okay to continue to show the dog. So, if Clover’s bad ear had been that way since birth, that would be one thing. But her ears were up, and the one ear fell due to injury, and that makes all the difference in the world.
Does this make any difference in a show? And does the limited amount of Canaans in a show make a difference?
Yes and no. The rarity of Canaan Dogs versus a more popular breed like Dobermans does mean that it’s less competitive. You have more breeders and owners showing their own Canaan Dogs (versus handling them off to a handler) so it’s easier to compete as a novice like I am. A professional handler who has been showing dogs for forty years will know how to take a less-than-stellar front and make it look as best as it can be made to look. A novice won’t have that skill yet.
There’s a downside to rarity too, though: it’s harder to get points. I’m lucky that Poppy is local to us and so we could get three of the four points Clover needed just by competing against her. But for Poppy — who has all the points she needs EXCEPT for her second major — having Clover local to her is less valuable. Amy had to really work behind the scenes to organize getting Bird, Jury, and Mary Russell to come to us for shows, and it was only possible because they were in the same position Poppy was: they had points, but needed majors.
Because if I understood your explanation about shows then a Major can be only won if the dog beats contestants, or did I misunderstand?
Nope, you have it right. The amount of points you earn at any one show is determined by how many dogs you defeated, and you have to earn three points to be considered a major win. For Canaan Dogs, that means you need to defeat at a minimum four dogs of your sex who don’t have their title yet. Things get complicated when you add in crossover points, but to keep things simple, just know that you need at least four girls entered (who don’t have a championship yet) to be worth three points, and you need three or more points for a major win.
A reader asked for a picture of Jackson’s mouth now that the abscessed carnassial tooth has been extracted. Click the photo for a larger view. The two tiny blue arrows point to the clear dissolvable sutures visible in the space where the tooth used to be.
I’m seeing a little more tartar on his lower pre-molars than I would like, so time to step up the brushing AND I’ll probably schedule a dental cleaning for him concurrent with his yearly checkup next spring. However, his upper pre-molars look great.
While I’m no dental expert, this looks very good to me and the gum is healing well. It took three hands to move his lips out of the way enough to be visible, but Jackson is a good boy and very tolerant. I’m very happy with his recovery.
Last Sunday night, I slept like complete crap. I woke up about the time Nathan came to bed — around 1 am — and couldn’t fall back to sleep. I went downstairs and ended up doing a little paper crafting before lying down on the couch to cuddle with Jackson for a bit. I dozed, on and off, until about 5 am. Nate got up at his usual time, I dropped him off at the train station, and got home around 8:30 am. I took one look at Jackson and said, “Oh, CRAP.” He had a large swelling on the right side of his face, just under his eye.
I took a photo, in good lighting (as I do when anything goes wrong with the dogs) and then had a decision to make: wait and see if it’s a bug bite, or take him to the vet? I put the photo up on Facebook and Canaan Dog friend/breeder Chris Miller (River Rock) asked, “How do his teeth look?” I knew right away what she was referring to, and I knew I wasn’t going to like the answer.
The largest tooth in the dog’s mouth is the fourth pre-molar, called the carnassial. This is the workhorse tooth in the mouth, breaking up bones and shearing off pieces of meat (or shearing through leashes, as many owners can tell you). Jackson has (had, now) a slab fracture on each of his upper carnassials, because he doesn’t like to gnaw sedately on beef knuckle bones. He wants to get them between his teeth and break off a piece to eat. And I am an idiot and didn’t learn from the first slab fracture to not give him bones, so now he has (had) two.
One of them got infected.
Now, back at Jackson’s yearly wellness exam, I mentioned the fractures to our new vet and said I was concerned about them, because Jackson had stopped playing tug and he acted sometimes like when he grabbed a toy that it was biting him back. She did an exam on the teeth and brought in her dental technician and it was their opinion at the time that the teeth were fine. So, the infection either went undiagnosed, because dogs are extremely stoic and are experts at hiding pain, or it happened sometime between then and now. Regardless of when it happened, it had finally reached the stage of acute infection, and action would have to be taken.
I made an appointment for him to see the vet, and left the vet with some antibiotics and an appointment for him to get dental x-rays and a likely tooth extraction on Friday. The antibiotics did a good job of reducing the infection (and thus, the swelling), but Jackson didn’t have a great week. We were careful to keep him separated from Loki and we babied him, but he was pretty miserable. On Friday, the vet called me after they put him under anesthesia for the radiographs and said that he could tell just from a visual inspection that the tooth needed extraction, and asked if I still wanted the radiographs. I said no, go ahead and pull the tooth, and pull it he did. It’s a very involved surgery. It took three hours of work. They told me when I picked Jackson up that carnassial tooth extraction is more painful than abdominal surgery, and they need to use more anesthesia to keep the dog under because of that. I can only imagine how much pain Jackson was in. He came home with painkillers and more antibiotics.
It’s now Sunday and already he’s feeling a lot better. He actually volunteered to play with Loki in the yard today. He’ll have another week or so on painkillers, and while oral surgery usually heals very quickly for dogs, I’m taking the precaution of making sure his raw meaty bones are finely ground for the next month or so so the entire gum has time to heal.
We will be entered on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday for Loki and Clover. On Friday and Sunday, Clover’s litter sister Poppy will be entered, and on Saturday, Clover’s half-sister Rose will be entered. If you’re curious about Canaan Dogs and you’d like to meet some in person, please come out to see us! We love to meet and greet!
Jackson will be in attendance as well all three days, but not entered. And if we get lucky and can finish Clover’s championship that weekend, she will get a special red, white, and blue rosette. Keep your fingers cross for us!
So, now that I’ve gotten the retractable leash thing off my chest, here are some more photos from our hike at Houghton Pond yesterday. Dogs had a great time, and so did we.
Click through to embiggen. Our entire walk was about 2.5 miles, and looked like this: