On Sunday Rachel, Margo and me went to the Long Beach Convention Center for the 2009 AKC/Eukanuba National Championships. This was our first time ever at a dog show. Rachel was very exited and she had high expectations of what it was going to be like. I don't think it lived up to that and I'm glad because it's like your first Star Trek convention - you don't want to get addicted.
As with most conventions that I've been to, with the exception of maybe SIGGRAPH and Macworld, this one also has that home made, Trekky, Comic Con feel. Glue gun and cardboard booth displays, hand made costumes and people who have no distance from the subject matter. At the same time refreshing and disconcerting.
For dog breeders and dog showers in America the AKC/Eukanuba National Championships is as high as you can go. Not just in prestige but also in fame and money. The breed that gets the best of show will have a banner year and a few years later the animal shelters will be inundated with dogs from people who didn't realize that when the breed description says "active" or "strong headed" - they mean it. This year the winner was a Scottish Terrier named Sadie. In case you want to get one to show off with here are some key pointers from the official AKC description: spirited nature, obedience training, regular exercise, chase instinct, regular brushing. If you don't think you can deal with any one of these - don't get the dog.
In spite of my obvious negative attitude to such events we had a good time and I took a lot of pictures. Rachel was at first swooning with all the dogs and dog activity. She had knowledgeable discussions with owners and exhibitors. She even got one exhibitor ticked off by asking about the genetic connection between the American Staffordshire Terrier and the American "Compton" Pit Bull Terrier. BTW - in the eyes of the United Kennel Club, they are the same breed. By the time we went around all the "Meet the Breeds" exhibits and spent some time watching the Malemutes and hugging the Siberian Huskies she seemed to be done and ready to go home. I was relieved she didn't catch the "con" bug.