All the different dog show lingo can be a bit confusing. I remember when the whole concept of "points" earned toward a champion title finally made sense to me, it was as if I had listened to people speaking a different language for months and then all of a sudden, I could understand it.
Sweepstakes classes are for dogs that are under 18 months of age and have not achieved their champion titles yet. In specialty shows, like this one, it is a great place for breeders to show off their beautiful up and coming superstars and get extra ring experience for the puppies.
The puppies shown to me ranged from six months of age to eighteen months of age. As a judge, we are tasked to judge them on THAT day. Not how we think they will turn out, not how we guess they will fill out...but how they look at that moment in the ring. This means a gorgeous puppy can win big as a puppy and then something unfortunate can happen and they never get a champion title. For example, in Frenchies they could get too big (over 28 pounds) or their jaw could become wry (twisted).
I was honored to have quite a few lovely Frenchies to judge. I was so impressed with their appropriately heavy bone, the lovely faces and plush condition. The only whine I would share is I would like to see more curve to a few of their toplines. That can come with age, so I am not bemoaning the downfall of Frenchies, by any means.
As a judge, we are supposed to watch the dogs trot around to make sure they move in a correct manner. We examine them on the table to ensure the bite is correct, the ears in proper placement and anything else we need hands-on experience to determine. I was so impressed with the lovely bites and many of them had REALLY straight teeth - a mini-miracle by Frenchie standards!
Sometimes in judging dogs, and probably anything else, is how easy it is to pick the first place one and the last place, it can be in-between that is tough. There were a couple of classes where I had a tough time picking the best and I had two that were soooooo close in quality!
When it was all said and done I went with a lovely cream dog as my Best in Sweepstakes, he was sassy and a handsome, excellent moving Frenchie.
Catherwood's Tondra State of Mind - CLINT is on the left and his Grand-father BISS GCH. Altitude's You Had Me at Hello KENNY was my Best in Sweepstakes Veterans Winner.