What Is A Champion

Submitted by Bonnie Dunlop (Botrina Dobermans) and Marj Brooks (Manorie Dobermans)

What is a Champion?

A Champion is a dog (male or female) that has been evaluated by at least three schooled and licensed Judges as to how closely that particular dog meets the criteria (correct structure, movement, temperament, proportions and size, color) for the ideal specimen of the written Standard for that Breed. This dog would have been awarded the accumulative points needed to be awarded with a Champion Certificate by the AKC.  Here is a link to the Doberman Pinscher Standard depicting the ideal Doberman: https://dpca.org/breed/breed-standard.  The Standard is a guide to what the ideal Doberman should look and act like. Exhibits (dogs) are judged against individual breed standards which have been established for the AKC-recognized breeds by their parent clubs (Doberman Pinscher Club of America -DPCA).

How to Obtain a Conformation Championship

To obtain an AKC (American Kennel Club) Championship, each dog presented to a judge is exhibited (shown or handled) by its owner, breeder or a hired professional.  The role of a professional handler is similar to that of a jockey who rides a horse around the track and hopefully, into the winner´s circle. “Professional handlers are just that – professional – they are talented at their craft. They can bring out all of your dogs attributes as if to bring the judges focus on these traits and are able to present the dog looking its absolute best to the judge. Many times they are able to have the dog to look more alert and watchful at the “right moment” in timing.”
Dogs in competition at conformation shows are competing for points towards their AKC Championship. It takes 15 points, including two majors (wins of three, four or five points) awarded by at least three different judges to become an American Kennel Club “Champion of Record.”
The number of championship points awarded at a show depends on the number of dogs (males) and females (bitches) of the breed actually in competition. The larger the entry, the greater number of points a male or female can win. The maximum number of points awarded a dog at any show is 5 points. Here is a link explaining how points are won and accumulated toward a Championship: http://www.akc.org/events/conformation/counting_points.cfm.  Or http://www.akc.org/events/conformation/point_schedule.cfm.
Cost of entering a dog in any given show is $25.00 and up. Shows are held by different kennel clubs throughout the country and host a show under AKC (American Kennel Club) or CKC (Canadian Kennel Club) rules and regulations. Entries are paid to the show secretary for the kennel club hosting the shows. Some clubs have two shows on a weekend, others may hold three or four shows, so on average if there are 3 shows (Friday, Saturday and Sunday), then the entry fees will be $75.00 and upwards. Some show secretaries also are now charging a service fee to process entry forms. Those fees can range from $3.00 upwards which are added onto the cost of the entry fees.
If you hire a professional handler to show the dog for you, it will likely cost you from $65.00 to $90.00 per show. So if there are three shows you have entered the dog, you will be expected to pay your handler $195.00 – $270.00 plus taxes in some cases. Some handlers will have you sign a contract before they will show your dog.
Some handlers will write into their contracts that if they win the Breed with your dog or win a Group placement, you will be expected to pay the handler a set amount of money. It is like a bonus for winning. Even if it is not written into a contract, it is a gesture of appreciation and thanks to the handler for the prestigious win.
If you send your dog out of town to shows with a handler, then you must expect to pay additional expenses, such as a portion of gas, motel/hotel costs, meals, set-up expenses, etc. You will also be required to pay boarding fees for your dog if your dog is traveling with your handler as these costs pay for the food your dog will eat and is a reasonable request. The cost of traveling expenses is usually divided among all the other owners that the handler is showing for, so if the handlers traveling expenses amount to $800.00 for a weekend of showing and the handler was showing 8 dogs at the shows, then the cost of $800.00 would be divided by 8 to total an additional $100.00 on top of handling fees.
The total cost of obtaining a Championship on your dog can be anywhere from $ 1500.00 (if you show the dog yourself and finish in one or two weekends) upwards to approximately $10,000.00 to have the dog professionally shown, live with and travel with the handler.
Judges are schooled and licensed after studying the breed standard for which they choose to judge. Each judge will determine which dog closest meets the ideal specimen for its breed, based on how they interpret the standard and the ideal.
Different countries have different requirements for a Championship.
There is a relatively small percentage of all of the Doberman Pinschers shown that actually obtain a Championship. This is another criteria for the breeder to use to make breeding decisions based on the ideal.
Another criteria that breeding decisions should be made on the breeding pair is the DPCA (Doberman Pinscher Club of America) Working Aptitude Evaluation (WAE). https://dpca.org/awards/wae/.  This is a valuable tool that tests the temperament traits as described in the Doberman Pinscher Standard. This is an article about the test and using it to make breeding decisions about the pair to be bred: Breeders Tools. Pay particular attention to the traits that a working Doberman should possess. Temperament should be part of the overall criteria for breeding decisions. The same is true for health test results to make sure breeding decisions are made to attempt to eradicate some of the diseases that plague our breed, thereby contributing to the future health and longevity of this breed.

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