Beginners question about specialties
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Thread: Beginners question about specialties

  1. #1
    rayluckgoo's Avatar
    rayluckgoo is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultBeginners question about specialties

    Hi,
    We're pretty much beginners showing dogs. We've shown our black for a couple of years now and he's done well in his class...but no points yet and we have a new yellow puppy.

    My questions is...what's the difference between a "specialty" dog and one that does the all breed thing?
    I'm going to the lab specialty in MA in May (sans dogs) just to watch, listen and learn....but I kind of want to know what I should be looking for.
    I found that lab people at shows are fantastic...and will help you as much as they can as long as you know what your questions are....but I'm not even sure how...if they are both based on the same standard...how there can be a difference.
    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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    ruff n tumble crew is offline Senior Member
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    I have found that a "specialty type lab" will be heavier boned with more mass. An "all breed type" will usually be more moderate. I'm sure others will elaborate a bit more.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ruff n tumble crew View Post
    I have found that a "specialty type lab" will be heavier boned with more mass. An "all breed type" will usually be more moderate.
    That's the way I describe it too.

    From what I have heard, many all breed judges prefer the moderate dogs because they are thinking that the lab is a sporting dog, meant to work, and a thinner body, little more leg helps there.

    Have a great time at the specialty! Why not enter your dogs? I always support the club by doing at least one entry a day.

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    In my opinion there does not have to be any difference. I won't compromise what I feel is a Lab to win in either venue.
    Both my Gryphon and and Lily have placed well at all breed shows and specialties.
    Lily just recently received her first two points at an all breed show (under a breeder judge) and last year at Potomac one her class. Honestly though she has not even shown very much in AKC. Has placed at least one day out of two days of showing though when have shown. I plan on showing her more now because at 4 years and one litter of pups she looks better than ever. But we've been busy doing UKC conformation the first couple years, agility, rally and obedience. She also has her RA and one CD leg.
    So I think they can show well in EVERY venue..All-breed, specialty AND performance.

    Gryphon also did very well in all-breed and usually placed. But he placed most specialties I put him in as well and also took first in a very large class and I think placed in every specialty I entered him in.

    It is always going to come down to what a jugde thinks of the dogs that day...sometimes politics play a role. But I do not feel I need breed a certain type of Lab to win in a particular venue. I think you can have "type" and still have dogs who are more moderate or even heavier.....
    Kim

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    Oh and I should also say that when Gryphon did his winning at specialties he was NOT a heavier Lab. NOTHING like the boy he is now. In fact under some judges these days at specialties he would probably do REAL well now. He is a big boy!
    This is what he looked like ...

    Much leaner..not even close to filled out.
    At what cracks me up is when he was a youngster he placed at the Nationals AND at Huron River looking like this!! LOL
    Kim

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    Kim, you make a point...there shouldn't be a difference, but there often is. Be it judge preference, regional preference, what have you. You can even flip through the LQ and see the difference in styles of dogs. The bigger, more typey dogs often only list specialty wins, some of the more moderate dogs only list all-breed wins, and then there are the number of dogs that win in both venues and are very beautiful animals.

    The question of is there a difference? Yes, sometimes there is. Is it right that there is a difference? Probably not. Are there many dogs that do well in both shows? Of course!!!
    Last edited by Canyon Labradors; 04-23-2009 at 12:33 PM.

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    I guess my thought is...regardless of the type go and show and have a good time. But KNOW what you have. Now I would not attempt to go in the EITHER ring with a BYB or Field type Lab.
    Kim

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    I agree- more moderate dogs (even what I would call "lighter-boned" of those moderate dogs) are usually those who do best under all-breed judges, and heavier-boned, more bulky dogs with a lot of breed "type" do best under specialty/breeder-judges. Puppies are a bit of a different story, however, since they are not mature and even those breeder-judges that like a bulkier dog can appreciate that they are still puppies and may not be filled out when they're being judged.

    Do you have any photos of your new puppy?

    I would enter if you're going anyhow- even just in sweeps or just in regular classes (1/day)- just for the experience. From what I've seen, you will very rarely get the great ring experience for puppies from many judges at all-breed shows (depends completely on the judge, obviously). It is well worth the entry fees just to get a gentle-handed judge who speaks kindly to a puppy, giving them a good, fun first ring experience. They don't expect a puppy to stand still, they laugh when puppies bounce around the ring, and they understand when a puppy is soft and just wants to lay down for a belly-scratch. Just make sure any judges you show under are good with puppies...

    Quote Originally Posted by Canyon Labradors View Post
    The bigger, more typey dogs often only list specialty wins, some of the more moderate dogs only list all-breed wins, and then there are the number of dogs that win in both venues and are very beautiful animals.
    In spite of still being pretty new to this and with only one single show dog (and knowing that I'm extremely blessed to have ended up with the dog I have), I'm probably one of those people who only lists specialty wins because I'm personally more proud of those wins.

    That is mostly because of the fantastic caliber and sheer numbers of dogs (and well-known breeders) we were competing against, and the fact that those wins were under well-known breeder judges who have devoted a lot of their lives to studying the labrador retriever inside-and-out. I was especially pleased to earn a BISS win under a breeder-judge who was a key participant in rewriting the Canadian labrador retriever breed standard recently (against some pretty steep competition).

    Our points were under 6 judges- 3 all-breed and 3 breeder-judges:
    1 pt- 6 mos old all-breed show (WD/BOW)
    2 pt- 20 mos all-breed show (WD/BOW)
    3 pt- 22 mos all-breed show (WD)
    4 pt- 22 mos specialty show (WD/BOW)
    2 pt- 2 yr at all-breed show under breeder-judge (WD/BOW/BOB)
    4 pt- 2.5 yrs specialty show (WD/BOW)

    So...all-breed dog or specialty dog? I think with many of these dogs, it is all in how they are presented on a particular day. While I feel deep-down that my dog is probably a lot more of a specialty-type dog (and does well at those shows relatively consistently, regardless of the judge...especially now that he has matured and is able to compete with the "big boys"), he also does well under all-breed judges, though with them it is very much "hit-or-miss." He is definitely not everyone's cup of tea, though I would venture to guess that there isn't a dog alive who is.

    Either way, I also agree with the OP- there doesn't seem to be a group of people anywhere at a dog show that is as welcoming and friendly as most lab folks. And just think...at a specialty show, you usually get at least TWICE the number of lab folks to hang around with! My preference for showing at specialty shows is more because I like the social aspect.

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    DefaultThank You

    Thank you...
    You have helped me tremendously with questions I was sort of afraid to ask.

    This will be long...sorry
    I bought Jackson thinking I might like to show but really knowing nothing about it. The breeder gave us the most show worthy of the two males but did not specifically tell us he had "show potential". This kennel does extensive hunt tests but shows their breeding stock in conformation as well. He has an excellent pedigree.
    I brought Jackson to a local breeder who shows extensively and has a number of champions and she thought Jack show worthy so we showed him! He did extremely well as a puppy but he turned out quite small (Makes height standard by 1/4 inch and weighs 72 lbs.). At a show another breeder suggested we show him in Canada where they like them smaller...and just Sunday he took Reserve Winners Dog! (I was so excited)! So...small but quality I believe.
    When our old dog died we decided we were having a lot of fun so decided to get a "show potential" pup. I emailed a number of breeders to get on waiting lists. One response (polite...and friendly) made me wonder if I was doing the right thing. She was the one that said she bred only "specialty" dogs and went further to say she wouldn't sell to beginners because they would do things like "show dogs with blown coats" and "show puppies before they were mature" and generally put dogs in the ring that shouldn't be there and thereby embarass their breeders.

    By having breeders evaluate Jack I felt I hadn't embarassed anybody but I certainly showed him once with a blown coat because I thought it would be good experience for both of us ....and we'd help somebody else get the points they needed.
    Why not enter your dogs? I always support the club by doing at least one entry a day.
    That's sort of what I thought until I got this letter.

    I guess my thought is...regardless of the type go and show and have a good time. But KNOW what you have. Now I would not attempt to go in the EITHER ring with a BYB or Field type Lab.
    Thank You. The new puppy (pictures today or tomorrow...he is the sig pic) will be forthcoming soon. His breeder (and co-owner) is fine with showing him and just having some fun. She just cautions not to expect too much unitl he's older.

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    I am sorry that breeder actually said that to you. The tough part is that there is a part of me that understands what they meant, but in all reality, showing dogs is supposed to be fun for both the people and the dogs. My Jackson is still young, just a year, and he was the show pick from my litter. I showed him at our speciality and he didn't do well AT ALL. Many experienced breeders probably would have left him home. My mentor here in town as 2 boys, 1 a bit older than Jack and 1 a bit younger, and she hasn't shown either, not even in a fun match. I think when you've been around the block 20 years, you can put that pup in the closet for 3 years and then show them. But when you are learning and getting used to showing, I think you need the experience. I don't show Jack at every show, but close ones, shows I like, clubs I like to support, I'll bring him out.

    Sounds like you got good advice from your breeder/co-owner about taking him out and having fun and not to expect anything. I have 2 gals who have my 2 nice girls, and it's the same. They are learning, having fun, and that's enough.

    About showing in other venues, you MAY want to see if UKC is active around you. It's got a different reputation in different parts of the country, but in Colorado, we have a small group of lab folks that show, the dogs are nice, and we give each other some good competition and LOTS of experience showing. It's alot more laid back than AKC around here.

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