(BPT) - Dog shows are an extraordinary opportunity to learn more about the nuanced and wonderful things that make dog breeds unique. But while many of us have an idea of what a dog show is - often from what we have seen depicted on television or in movies - there are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to these events. Below are some myths and facts that will hopefully set the record straight.
Myth: Dog shows are beauty pageants for dogs
Fact: It's an active and fun event for people of all ages
Dog shows include an array of activities for dogs and attendees. At the AKC National Championship Dog Show, for example, there are several events including an agility competition, AKC Meet the Breeds(R) and even a Puppy Stakes. The show is interactive for attendees, who can experience more than 190 breeds. Any dog that is registered with the American Kennel Club (AKC) is eligible to participate in dog shows.
Myth: A dog's breed isn't important
Fact: It is very important - and dog shows celebrate breeds!
Just like humans, a dog's genetic history can have an impact on their health, personality and nutritional needs. Dog shows are intended to celebrate these differences and give dogs a chance to show off the best parts of their breeds and personalities. Every breed is different, and all were designed for a specific purpose to fill a specific need. Knowing the history of breeds and maintaining breeds through future generations can - if done properly - help eliminate some health problems.
There are even breed-specific diets that cater to the unique needs of each breed by tailoring certain characteristics, such as kibble size, nutrients and more.
'At Royal Canin, we love to celebrate the unique differences that make each dog breed remarkable, which is why we produce age- and breed-specific canine diets,' says Kamie Eckert, president of Royal Canin USA, presenting sponsor of the AKC National Championship, the biggest dog show in North America.
Although many recognizable breeds will be attending - such as Golden Retrievers, Yorkies and Bulldogs - the AKC also adds new breeds to the list on an ongoing basis. It can take up to 20 years for a breed to be recognized by the AKC. For example, it may be another 15-20 years before the Labradoodle could potentially be recognized as a true breed by the AKC - even though it's a recognizable breed to most consumers.
Myth: All dog shows are private events
Fact: Anyone can enjoy the AKC National Championship
While some events may be private, many dog shows like the AKC National Championship are open to anyone to attend. Where else will you be able to see 30 Saint Bernards all in the same place? Or a Border Collie weave through agility poles faster than your brain can process?
For those that are unable to attend in-person, you can catch the highlights on your television screen. This year, the AKC National Championship presented by Royal Canin will air on Animal Planet on New Year's Day for everyone to watch! The show will be anchored by Jerry O'Connell, AKC Vice President Gina DiNardo and sportscasters Jason Knapp and Sam Ryan. This three-hour show will allow you to see all that makes dog shows so special, so be sure to tune in!