Number 20 – CH Sundew Kokopelli DNA-VP

Koki  You may wonder how Koki did on the weekend that Robbi and I went to Indiana…she showed at four shows and the best we did was a second place in one of the shows. 

As Koki’s breeder, owner, and exhibitor, I can show her in the Bred-by Exhibitor Class.  This class is usually full of the best show dogs in the show, if I may say that.  It is the Class where the breeders show the dogs they kept from their litters.  It is usually the class with the deepest quality and is one where you can have a dog like Koki who is close to being “finished” but can still be out of the  four placing ribbons.  That is exactly what happened to us at the other three shows.  So, no points for Koki.  We went home happy, and on the way we talked about all the things I need to do with Koki before the next show so that she might “finish” like Joker.  Robbi said I didn’t present her, as in show her off enough.  I also knew that she often shows with her ears folded back, and she is not real happy, happy in the ring.  I thought about the times that she won…each of those times, she was “on!”  She was pulling the lead and trotting ahead of me and had her head up looking “on fire.” 

I went home and used bait to train Koki to show with her ears forward instead of back.  I made silly noises and only gave her a treat when she looked animated and sparky!  Each day she did it more for longer.  I also groomed her often and trimmed her toenails every few days.  I fed her a supplement that is high it Omega three oils.  I trimmed her coat a few weeks before the Memorial Day weekend preparing for my Club’s next show. 

Well, the Memorial Day weekend arrived, and Koki and I went off to the show.  We showed in two shows on Saturday, and I think we placed once and got nothing at the next show.  In the dog show world, we say that she got dumped!  

Sunday arrived, and we showed in the morning show. The Judge was Kym Base from Missouri and I noticed that she was really looking at Koki, Corey had helped me with some last minute grooming touches and I was feeling very confident with the fact that Kym was really looking at her while she was moving around.

Usually in the show ring the same routine happens.  The Judge asks all dogs in the class to enter the ring.  Sometimes the Judge wants to see the dogs all lined up so that he/she can get a good look at all of them for a first impression. Then the Judge asks the dogs to gait around in a group all lined up so the movement can be viewed.  The line up usually ends up near the entrance to the ring.  The judge then proceeds to take each dog in turn. The dog moves up as the previous dog in the line is finished and eventually each dog ends up at the Judge. They dog is “stacked” with their feet under them in the perfect pose. The handler holds the dog by the collar as the Judge approaches their head and begins their individual examination.  The Judge usaully aproaches from the front and looks at the head.  The Judge looks at the ears and the face comparing the dog to the Breed Standard.  The judge either asks to see the teeth or exams the teeth. The bite is examined and the alignment of the teeth as well. The Judge also looks for full dentition (42 teeth).  The Judge then puts their hands on the whole dog carefully examining the shoulder angulation, the length of body, how the neck fits on the body and how wide the distance is between the shoulder blades. They examine the loin and the angle of the pelvis, they check the legs and feet. They look at the coat, the undercoat, and the color.  All of these points are compared to the Breed Standard and to each other dog in the ring.  Then when the physical examination is complete they ask the handler to “gait” the dog away from the judge and then back to the Judge. This is called the “down and back.” The Judge is looking for how the rear moves as the dog moves away and they look at the front legs as the dog comes toward them.  All of the gaiting in the ring is done at the trot.  With an Aussie with good front and rear movement, the rear legs look like a V as the dog trots away.  The bent joint, the hock, should not turn out or turn in, but should appear to be a V with straight lines from the hip bones down to the toes.  As the dog trots faster, their feet will move closer to a straight line on the ground.  When the dog trots to the Judge, the front legs form a V from where the legs come out of the chest (like our arms come from our shoulders) down to the toes. The dog stops in front to the Judge so they can get one more look at the dog’s expression and how their ears look.  They also look once again at the front and rear legs for how they look after the dog comes to a natural four square stop without being “stacked” or posed by the handler. Then the Judge usually asks for the dog to go around to the end of the line, and they watch as they trot all the way around with no other dogs trotting around.  Once all the dogs have had the individual exam, the Judge may ask for the dogs to go around the ring as a group or they may ask for one more “down and back.”  Once that is done, they usually start placing the class pulling out their favorites and lining them up in first, second, third, and fourth place with the rest of the dogs behind them. 

So, in Koki’s class that day, after all of the individual exam and gaiting, Koki got pulled out of her place in line and was put in the front of the class by the Judge and when she had all the rest of the class where she wanted them Judge Kym asked the class to go around and she pointed to Koki for first place.  Wow, we were the Class winner of the Bred-by Exhibitor Class, and we would come back in the ring for Winners Bitch.

So we went outside, and I brushed Koki some more and let her go potty. There are four other classes to be judges before the Winners Bitch class, and I tried to stay calm. Finally, all Class winners were called into the ring by their armband number.  Basically, the Judge followed the same procedure as we did in the class.  Stack up, go around, individual exam with down and back and around to the end. The Winners were all back in the line around the ring and the Judge went to the first bitch in line and looked at her bite, then she came back to Koki and looked at her bite.  No one else got that double check, so I thought it was between Koki and Paris.  So she asked us to gait around, and I just kept looking at the Judge and at Koki to be sure whe was going right and she picked Koki for Winners Bitch!  Woohoo!  That gave Koki a five Point Major to “finish” her Championship!  It also gave me Point Number 20 for Hall of Fame! 

I have to admit that my reaction was kind of over the top as I went to the Judge to get the big blue rosette.  Robbi was at the entrance to the ring ready to give me a huge hug and people were coming to congratulate me as somehiw lots of people knew what happened. So I turned to go back to get my ribbon and Kym looked quizical.  I said, of course that “finished” Koki, but that’s not all, that it the last point I need to be a Hall of Fame Kennel.  She then gave me a huge hug.  When Koki and I left the ring, I dare say that everyone in the building made their way over to hug me and slap me on the back. This was a huge moment. People said the nicest things and trully shared my joy! 

What this meant for me is thirty years of breeding dogs that all go back to my foundation of Feather and August.  I will be writing a short page on every dog that contributed and I will try to include photos of all of them.

To finish off the magical day of showing Koki, though, we did have to go back in for Best of Breed. Koki was a show machine in that class. I was proud of her.

My club had planned a pork barbecue dinner, and they surprise the heck out of me by having a congratulations for me with a huge sheet cake with Sundew Hall of Fame Kennel on it and cards signed by everyone who was there.  It was so much fun, and I can’t thank my friends and club members enough for being so thoughtful and for surprising me again with a wonderful evening.  As I said, this happened Memorial Day weekend, and I’m still grinning about it! 

We showed for the two shows the next day in Best of Breed. That is where you show after you become a Champion.  I was proud of my “show machine” as she was a joy to show! 

We went to a show this weekend, and Koki was Best of Breed for that show under Judge Shelly Hollen from Texas.  What a thrill!  I’m really glad the Koki ended up being Number 20!  I couldn’t be prouder.

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