My Involvement in Purebred Dogs
By: Rebecca Clas
My involvement in the sport of purebred dogs and junior showmanship,
has blessed me with an immense amount of knowledge of dogs. I have
been showing dogs for nearly 14 years. I began to show in juniors
since I was eligible. I qualified for the Westminster Kennel Club
dog show for five straight years. In 2000, I was the #1 junior in three states.
Over the past two years, I have volunteered to teach the junior showmanship
class at the Catoctin Kennel Club training facility. The Caoctin Kennel
Club and I work on providing a junior showmanship class for children
interested in showing. The class is free and teaches the juniors,
not only how to show their dogs, but also good sportsmanship. My goal
has been to develop a comradery between the juniors. All too often,
I notice how juniors isolate themselves from one another in competition.
Since my class is a combination of local 4-H members and AKC juniors,
I teach juniors the general knowledge of dogs. I ask them such questions
as: How many teeth does a dog have? Where does their breed originate?
What was their breed bred to do? etc.
Aside from Junior Showmanship, I am also active in conformation. In
1999, I won Best of Opposite sex with a Portuguese Water Dog at Westminster
Kennel Club. Three years later in 2002, I won Best of Breed with a
Staffordshire Bull Terrier. I have also won multiple groups and group
placements. Over the years I have trained and finished eight Staffordshire
Bull Terriers, seven Portuguese Water Dogs, and five Poodles. Along
with these three breeds, I have also helped to finish a couple of
Labs, two Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers, a Tibetan Spaniel,
and an American Staffordshire Terrier. In 2004 alone I have personally
finished 3 dogs and helped to finish several others. I have traveled
to Bermuda and Canada to compete in breed and junior showmanship.
I have also helped rank ten different dogs for breed and all-breed
standings. One of the dogs was ranked #1 in all-breed Staffordshire Bull Terriers in 2002. In
2003, I was #2 with a Staffordshire Bull Terrier in the all-breed standings.
Last years I was #2 with the same dog in breed and all-breed standings.
At the 2004 Eukanuba Classic, I won an Award of Excellence with a
Staffordshire Bull Terrier. I have also bred two Whippet litters,
one Staffordshire Bull Terrier litter, two Portuguese Water Dog litters,
and three Poodle litters.
I have also educated the public about the sport of purebred dogs.
My senior project and presentation consisted of an insight into dog
shows. I documented many aspects of the sport through pictures and
note taking. I presented my project to other students at the Catoctin
High School, as well as many adults who came to the presentations.
To me it is important to educate those outside of the sport.
In the future, dogs will always be a part of my life. I want to continue
to educate juniors on good sportsmanship, technique and breed standards.
My belief is that one can always learn something new everyday. This
year I plan to participate in agility and obedience with my Staffordshire
Bull Terrier. I also plan to train my Staffordshire Bull Terrier to
become a therapy dog. Hopefully this will help educate the public
that bull breeds are not vicious. Also, I plan on attending the Crufts
dog show in 2006. I plan to attend this year as a learning experience.
In the future, I hope to further my education in the sport of purebred
dogs. I also hope to become a breed judge as well as a junior showmanship
My involvement in the sport of purebred dogs has enriched me with
many learning experiences. Among these are responsibility, interpersonal
skills, values and goals. Working with the younger juniors has helped
develop my teaching and leadership skills. I have learned how to interact
with people, in good and bad times. The sport has helped me realize
what I want out of life regarding my goals and values. Whenever I
see a young child interested in this sport, I encourage them to participate
and learn, so he or she can benefit as much as I have from the sport
of purebred dogs.