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Competing In The Group Judging
If your dog should be “Best of Breed”, he is eligible to compete in the group judging. As a novice you may believe this is something that happens only to the experienced. Nonsense! If you have a good dog in good condition, well trained, well shown, it is quite possible for you to go Best of Breed even though it may be your first show or your dog's first show. Or, as sometimes happens, you may have the only dog of your breed entered that day at that show. Yes, if yours is the only one of his breed, and as long as the judge thinks he is representative of the breed, you will get Best of Breed and be eligible to compete in the group.
There is no rule saying you must compete in the group, but you are eligible, and it is usually a good idea to compete in the group even though you feel you do not have a chance to win it or place in it. It is good experience for you and for your dog to show in the group, and no harm is done if you are ignored.
Showing in the group is just the same as showing in the breed, except that the ring is usually a great deal larger and you will be competing with other Best of Breed winners instead of dogs of the same breed as yours. The larger ring means that you will have a lot more ground to cover when gaiting your dog around the ring.
Frequently in group judging, the judge will stand in one position and have each dog brought up to him for examination. If the judge did not get a good opportunity to see the dogs as they were going around the ring, or if the circling of the ring was dispensed with, when he asks for the individual gait he will probably have each dog gait twice: once he will be standing at the end of the ring watching for soundness, and the other time the dog is gaited the judge will move to the side of the ring and watch the dog's over-all appearance.
Just remember to change the lead from one hand to the other, keeping the dog between you and the judge. The alternatives to having the dog brought up to the judge for individual examination and gaiting would be for the judge to go down the line of dogs, examining each one and gaiting each one before he moves on to the next dog for examination; or he might examine all the dogs and then gait all the dogs.
You will be a little more nervous in the group ring, but if it's any consolation to you, so is everyone else in there with you. The same procedure is followed as in the breed classes when the judge places your First, Second, Third, or Fourth.
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