Dog Shows and Photography

Besides photography, I show dogs, specifically Golden Retrievers. We’ve been involved in the “dog fancy” as it is called for over 25 years! Without getting into the nuts and bolts of dog showing, a judge basically evaluates each dog compared to the AKC standard of the breed and picks the dog that best fits that standard, in his or her mind. Each exhibitor enters his or her dog in one of the many classes offered with the first place dog of each of the classes then competing against all the other first place winners. Boy and girl dogs are judged separately until the end when they, along with dogs who are already champions compete for “best in breed” (and a slew of other coveted wins from this final class.) All the “best of breed” winners compete in their respective groups; there are total of seven groups represented in AKC shows. Each of these winners from the groups then compete for Best In Show where one of the seven is chosen for this much coveted win. 

Dog shows start early and end late. It’s an all day thing from start to finish. Some shows are widely known and televised. Usually, it is only the Best of Breed winners competing in “groups” and then Best In Show of the seven group winners that is televised. It is during the classes long before Best of Breed is decided that I enjoy to photograph the dogs. Here, you might photograph someone’s dog who is unable to be physically present to see their dog show or perhaps a dog club member who would like a great shot of their dog in the ring. If I’m at a show, I usually have camera in hand! It is because of photographing dogs at dog shows that I love animal/pet photography. Whether I’m shooting “my” breed or any other breed, capturing these dogs with my camera is almost as thrilling as being in the ring myself!

I currently have one of my dogs “out” showing. My sweet “Doodle” is being handled in the ring and cared for outside the ring by a trusted professional handler who shows dogs for a living. I know what time my breed will show and approximately what time my breed will finish in the ring. Then, I wait for news on how my dog showed crossing my fingers she “won” to achieve the necessary points towards her championship title.

In between shows, Doodle is our beloved pet. She lives a life much like anyone’s dog running, playing, hiking and camping with us. In these scenarios, it is hard to believe she is anything more then “man’s best friend”.


She certainly IS “man’s best friend” but she is also an excellent example for her breed. We miss our girl while she is “out showing” but know she is being well taken care of and with luck, will come home with the CH title before too long. Hopefully, I will be able to get to one of the shows she is entered in and be able to photograph MY dog! Crossing fingers the days and times work out that we can do just that!


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