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Best of Breed
Photo: Andreas Gradin
I am a dog-lover. So recently when friends invited me to accompany them and their dogs to a dog confirmation show I jumped at the chance.

We left early Sunday morning because judging the retriever class of dogs was the very first event on the International All Breed Canine Association show’s agenda. Owners had to check in then find their ring location in the great arena and be ready when called.

My friends raise white golden retrievers. Their entire family shares the chores and responsibilities of their home business. The parents are teaching their girls additional skills by having them learn how to properly handle the dogs in the ring in front of the judges. To ease the girl’s nerves, as well as to give the two dogs a chance to become acquainted with the sounds and smells of the building, we walked around the circumference of the arena.

Some owners had just one pooch; others had several.

I learned that most owners were there to have their dogs accumulate points, titles and advanced classifications. I learned that the judges give each animal a written critique and a rating number of how well the dog conforms to the International "UCI" breed standards. The judge’s comments, points, awards and titles can increase the worth of a particular dog and bring more dollars for each off spring or stud fee.


On this particular day there were four different rings where the judging of the various breeds was to take place. We selected a spot to wait near ring number two. At the exact time scheduled, the judge called the arm band numbers of the first owners welcome to enter the ring with their dog. Then it was time for judging the two white female puppies my friend’s girls were showing.

Since there were only two white females on the schedule, one sister’s dog would be judged against the other sister’s dog to see which one the judge felt was closest to the breeds’ ideal. Diamond won a metal on a ribbon and her note from the judge. Sophie got a nice note from the judge but was eliminated.

Because Diamond got the judges nod on the first round of judging, we had to wait until it was time for her to compete again against all the puppies in the retriever class for the “Best of Breed”, puppy class title. If she were to continue to win she would eventually be eligible to compete for the title of “Best in Show”. That never happened. During that round she misbehaved. Sadly she placed last in that round and we drove back home.

As I later reflected on my experience watching the girls, and the judges need to determine which dog in the ring was the most perfect representation of the breed, I became very grateful that God doesn't work that way with humans. There is no best of breed, no best of show!! We are judged on His merits, not our own.

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By Carole Kilcher. Copyright © 2010 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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