How do you decide which shows to enter? With regard to specialties, are there certain ones that are better to enter? Or when first starting out do is it better to keep it low key until you figure it all out?
Not sure how everyone else does it, but when I first started I would show in the very near shows and talk to the other lab breeders about where there are larger entries. I always go to the shows that are near to me, and any specialty that I can find that is near. That's how I do it, anyway!! ;D Good Luck!
And the Dostaff Girls:
Abby, Anna, Ava, Brandy, Cali, Holly, and Ruby (and Dixie, too)
It often depends on the judge, not the show. Some shows I will enter simply because they are close and I have some money burning a hole in my pocket, but otherwise entries can add up and I want to know that my dog will get his two minutes.
I have a dog with two missing premolars and it is a waste of time and money to take him to tooth fairies. I have another dog who was quite large and I had to be selective about the judges that he showed under.
If you look on infodog or many of the judge information lists, you can see what the judge likes and what they have put up in the past. You can also see what they breed, so you might be more inclined to enter under a judge who breeds a working or sporting breed than a terrier or foofy dog. On top of that, once you get out to shows, see the judges in action and talk with other exhibitors, you learn who looks for movement, heads, etc. More importantly, you learn who is a face judge.
There is a local show here next month and I have two dogs with outstanding movement and I am entering the one day only, under John Ross who knows a good dog and will put up a good, clean moving dog. The other two judges will likely not like my dogs.
If it is a breeder judge, you can also look at their kennel and see the type of dog that they seem to like, in addition to what they have put up at previous shows or specialties. You can also get a few hints into what they are looking for if you read their critiques from previous specialties.
This is where hiring a handler can also be beneficial...not only can they present your dog better, but they know the judges you should be taking your dog to
To err is human:To forgive, canine."
I usually go to shows that are relatively close to me, I usually don't drive more than 3-4 hr. I usually only do one day unless it's REALLY close. I am new to my area and don't know the judges too well, so I don't base my entry on that. I sometimes will look at the prices of the entry fees too, and not enter the really high priced ones. Since I have 2 obedience dogs and 1 show dog, entry fees can get high....