Ruby's mom: Where can I get more information to find out if my American Cocker Spaniel is show quality?
I have a beautiful tri-color cocker spaniel. To me, her coat is wonderful but it's not exactly long and luxurious like those I see in show photos. Hers is very wavy and has an excellent sheen. I've never been to an actual show and have no idea how to start. Is there any information online that I can use to evaluate her myself? If not, how do I find a reputable person to evaluate her for me? Also, why do some cocker spaniels have the long, fluffy coats and others do not? Is there something I can do to help her coat grow longer?
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Answer by I Know
There are a number of ways, here is a link that should help you get started. It is the site of the national breed club.
Go to a dog show, and talk to people showing the breed (when they aren't busy getting to go into the ring) and often people who are showing their dogs, will be glad to evaluate your dog for you and give you tips. If there is a ACS breed club within driving distance, attend the breed club meetings and get to know other people in the breed. There you will find people willing to evaluate and also often willing to teach you how to present a dog in the ring, or recommend professional handlers. Theres a lot more to showing than just having a good dog, a lot of showing also is in the art of handling and presenting the dog to the judge in the most favorable manner. The judge has only a short time to judge each dog and in that time, the dog has to gait his cleanest, pose and look alert and show at his best, and the handler does a lot of little things that can aid in making the dog look even better than he is.
Study the standard and the finer points of top dogs of the breed. It takes time and study and seeing dogs to develop your own eye for faults and virtues in your breed. Once you get to know experienced show people (which is easy if you are around them and they learn you seriously want to learn), they will help you by pointing out faults and virtues in different dogs (often a breeder will show you the faults and virtues in his own dogs, and compare different dogs to help show you the differences)
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