Showing Your Italian Greyhound

For the pet owner who just wants something fun to do, showing in conformation showing can be terrific fun.  For the would be breeder, a necessity.   Here are some questions to ask yourself

Does my dog qualify to show?    Any fully AKC registered dog that is not spayed or neutered may enter a dog show.   However, one must read the standard for our breed to see if they have any disqualifying faults.  Our breed has three.  Males must have two testicles and Brindle marked or  those with Tan markings (Blue and Tan or Black and Tan) like those found on Dobermans are disqualification's.  

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Is my dog good enough to show?    We would all like to believe our dogs are "show quality", but the simple fact is that not all dogs have the right stuff to make it as a conformation show dog.   While in order to show this doesn't matter, it does matter to the owner who probably doesn't want to lose every time they are in the ring.   And there is a simple fact that some IG's have been produced that  are so poorly bred that they barely qualify as Italian Greyhounds!  These types of dogs have the potential of being dismissed by a judge from the ring for lack of merit!      How can you find out?   If you purchased your animal from a responsible breeder, they can tell you right away if your pet is good enough.    However, if your sources were not so good, and/or the breeder never showed, you have several options.   Find a local All-Breed club (www.akc.org) nearest you and attend some meetings.  Meet other show going folks and ask about attending conformation "handling" classes.   You can meet people qualified to give you  an answer.  But please be aware, no one wants to hurt your feelings so they may hedge to spare your feelings.   Other IG breeders may also be of help to you.  Seek more than one opinion.

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What kind of training does my dog need?     For the purpose of conformation showing, your dog must know how to properly walk on a leash and be comfortable with strangers running their hands over their bodies and opening their mouth.    They must allow you or anyone else move their legs into "set" positions in order to be presented in what is called a "show stack".  They will need to be able to handle being up on a table and examed by a judge.   There is no sitting involved in conformation showing so this is not a necessary command for them to know.    There are many good books available to purchase to teach you these things, but it is highly recommend you attend handling/conformation classes sponsored by your local Kennel Clubs and/or attend puppy matches for hands on experience.   A show dog's temperament must be one of a friendly nature, be able to handle the sometimes crowded, noisy areas of dog shows.  They must be comfortable enough to potty on lead when you need them to and handle dozens of people wanting to pet them.  There are a lot of dogs at a dog show, some well behaved, some not.   Your dog must be able to handle seeing dogs as big as Great Danes or handle a Terrier who may bark/bounce or scream in their crate as you walk by.    If your dog's temperament cannot handle these kind of situations, then it's best to spay or neuter your pet and find something else to do for fun.   There is nothing worse than to see an exhibitor with a frightened dog and see that both exhibitor and dog are not having any fun.

How do I find out information about shows near me? A good place to start is with the AKC (www.akc.org).  They do have a listing of shows and show superintendents nearest you.
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What is a Show Superintendent?    When an AKC Dog club wants to sponsor a Conformation Dog Show, they hire specialized companies that are trained in the art of making a show run smoothly.    They have the equipment and staff  to make sure that the show is run in accordance to AKC Rules and Regulations.   It is to them that you pay your entry fee and receive your verification and conformation of entry.  One of the largest Show Superintendents in the Southeast is Jack Onofrio Dog Shows.  You may visit their website by going to:  www.onofrio.com       You can ask to be put on their mailing list to receive what are call premiums.

What is a Premium?      This is  a mini catalog that is mailed out to individuals to tell them about the upcoming dog shows nearest them.  A premium will list the entry fee costs, classes offered, judges, special announcements and rules to enter (plus more).    It will also have an entry blank form so that you can enter your dog if you so choose.   If you need help filling out the entry form,  the show superintendents can be contacted to ask questions.

What is a "Puppy Match"?    These are usually an informal get together to help people train puppies and/or young adult dogs for the show ring.    Many of the same rules apply in matches as they would in regular dog shows.  The only difference is that no points are awarded at these matches.    Generally matches are open from  young puppies to senior dogs.   Each match will specifically tell you which dogs will qualify for the show. 

Where can I find out about these matches?    Your local dog kennel club usually will sponsor one or two puppy matches a year.   You can find out about local clubs by visiting the AKC website.    A lot of matches are associated with dog shows as sort of an after Best In Show activity.  Some premium lists will tell you if there will be a Puppy Match sponsored by the local kennel clubs that weekend.

Why should I show my IG before I breed?   The Italian Greyhound is a Toy breed.  They were specifically bred to be a pet.  However, in order to qualify as an Italian Greyhound they must conform to the written standard that was originally written back in the 1900s to describe how the Italian Greyhound should appear.   The standard not only describes the "look" but also the temperament of the breed as well.    People love and own the Italian Greyhound because of the way they look and their personality.   It's easy to love our pets and think because they are perfect match for us that they should be bred.  However, not all dogs should reproduce.     Showing your Italian Greyhound not only helps you define your ability to tell a great Italian Greyhound from a good Italian Greyhound, it will help you connect with other individuals who share your deep passion for the breed.    Most importantly, it will help you to keep focused on the important features that make our breed so terrific.  Future generations of IG lovers will thank you for your attention to detail!

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If you should need more assistance or information, I am always available via email to help out.