2003 ASC National
Specialty Show Photos
On Sunday, July 13th, Mrs. Zim and I drove down to Riverside, California, to check out the Cockers at the American Spaniel Club's national specialty show. It's the biggest show of the year in the Cocker world. We had a really interesting day!
It's incredible to see so many great looking Cockers together at the same time. There were literally hundreds of dogs there, and just about every one is a dog you would take home in a minute if given the opportunity. Here is a small group of partis in the show ring. There were Cockers there in all the major colors. Whatever kind of Cocker you like... it was there... except the "outlaws" like sable and merles.
Watching the dogs in the ring was interesting, but a bit frustrating, too, when you see fantastic looking dogs who were not winners. How the judge can choose between the dogs is difficult to imagine. Especially when they brought the solid blacks in to the ring... every dog looked almost exactly the same! How do you choose?
What I enjoyed the most was not seeing the dogs in the show ring... I got more of a kick out of wandering through the hall next door where the dogs wait in between the various competitions. You can watch the handlers groom the dogs and get them ready, and you can get much closer to the dogs than you can when they are in the ring.
This is another shot of the dog pictured above... we thought this one was absolutely to die for! As we wandered through the big room full of Cockers, we found ourselves being drawn to the red & white partis and to the chocolates. But to each his own... there was something there for everyone.
These guys were very hard to resist... a litter of what looked to me like 5 or 6 month old buff puppies. We came back to visit them several times throughout the day. We never saw their owners or handlers give them any attention. It was a little sad. And one had a cherry eye.
My wife had never seen an "ear wrap" before... the thing they put over the ears to keep them clean. This dog was fascinating. He was sitting by himself on top of this table, and he was not restrained in any way. He would bark at every person that walked by, but he would never jump down off the table. It was incredible. I came back later and he was still there all alone, barking at everyone, but never jumped down. Condsidering all the things in that room for him to explore, I couldn't believe he could be trusted to sit up there alone unrestrained. A very well trained dog!
It's unfortunate that I didn't get a better picture of this one... a chocolate & white parti. Standing up, this dog took our breath away. We didn't see very many chocolate & white partis for some reason. I guess it is not a popular color among the judges. We saw this one in the show ring and it did not make the first cut... but he or she was definitely one of our favorites.
The dog that actually did win "Best In Show" over the hundreds of other gorgeous Cockers was a tri colored Cocker, Champion San Jo's Born To Win. I found this interesting because when I checked out his pedigree I noticed that he and our girl, Abby, have the same grandfather.
It was fun seeing a few people we know there. I even got to meet one of my Internet friends in person. This is Connie Kimble (and her dog Sheila) from Tashecon Cockers in Sacramento. She was there for the obedience events, not conformation. I had never met her before in person, and did not recognize her when my wife and I walked by. But as we were passing her in the hall she said "Mr. Zim?!?" It was fun to talk to her in person rather than in email because she is so full of life and energy in person! It makes me wonder how many more of my Internet friends are way more fun in person than they seem on the computer!
It was a fun day for us, and we were glad we made the drive. If you ever get the chance to go to a Cocker specialty show... do it! A specialty show is sure a lot more fun than an all-breed show like the ones you see on TV.
One other interesting aspect of the day was putting my digital camera to the test... a dog show presents a lot of challenges for a camera. For one thing, it's a long way from the seats to where the dogs are in the ring... so a long zoom lens would really come in handy. The Minolta camera I used in Riverside has a 4x optical zoom, but there were times when that was not nearly enough. The new Panasonic DMC-FZ10, which has an image stabilized 12x zoom lens, is much better equipped for taking pictures in situations like this. Click here to see pictures I took with the Panasonic camera at a Cocker Spaniel specialty show in San Jose, California, in February of 2004.
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