Monday, March 13, 2017

Best in Show

We're dog people. 
My mother says that I was co-raised by a dog--Cindy, a blue Weimerainer. This 60 pound beauty would gently prop her nose into my crib and make sure I was breathing. If I cried, Cindy would race out of my nursery and find my mother, who was usually hanging clothes on the line. Cindy would bite a corner of Mom's blouse and pull her into the house. I had Cindy on my mind when I drove over to Franklin, Tennessee, to see an AKC dog show. 

189 dog breeds are recognized by the American Kennel Club. I didn't see any Weimaraners, but I saw Borozis, American Eskimos, Scottish Terriers, West Highland White Terriers, Yorkshire Terriers, Maltese, and many more.  
 I've been dogless for a long time, and this show was a smile-maker. 
The owners and handlers were friendly, going out of their way to help me get a photograph. The charming dogs posed naturally, with good grace. They're so photogenic, all I had to do was point the camera. 

As you can imagine, I took about a million photographs. 

Waiting to go into the ring...


Basset Hounds wear soft "snoods" to keep their long ears out of the dirt floor prior to show time.


Finally, it's show time. From an early age, puppies are taken to handling classes, which are offered at local dog clubs. The pups learn how to walk around the ring (and it's a little more complicated than ring around the rosy. Many years ago, my husband and I took our dogs to handling classes--the dogs did fine, but I kept walking the wrong way). The youngsters learn to be examined by the judge; and the classes aid with socialization, too. At six months of age, the puppy can enter the ring. The judge evaluates the dogs' conformation and temperament, which includes a hand's on exam. Points are awarded to dogs that exhibit the best characteristics of their breed. The goal is to earn enough points for an AKC championship. But showing is also a family activity--children of all ages can show dogs--and lifelong friendships have developed between breeders. 
 Over the years, I've talked to handlers, and they all say the dogs love going to the shows. One handler said that all she had to do was clap her hands and say, "We're going to a show!" And the dogs would dance in circles. I saw happy, bright-eyed, friendly dogs of all breeds.

I love all breeds--all of them are best in show in my mind--but terriers will always have my heart.


We have our favorites. Dogs from childhood or dogs who became our best friends. No matter the breed, they leave paw prints on our souls.

Shared at:


  1. Great post. My husband and I love to watch the Westminster Dog Show every February.
    My favorite dog is the White Westie Terrier. They are so cute. I guess I am a terrier fan too.
    Thanks for sharing.

  2. They are all so precious! My kids and I would love to attend a dog show! Thanks for sharing.

  3. Hi Michael,

    Great post! I LOVE the pictures you took of the Scottie(s)!! We are Scottie people at our house; Duncan is the third one we've had during our married life, and I had one growing up. They are so photogenic.

    Like you, we love all dogs, but our hearts remain with terriers. I also like your pics of the Bernese Mountain Dog and the Border Collie (one of my very favorite breeds). I was glad you wrote that the dogs love going to the shows. I'm a little tired of the animal rights groups protesting events like this. I think they're just against purebreds in general.

    Your post has made me want to attend a dog show now. Thanks for sharing this and have a great week!



  4. What great photos, looks like you had a wonderful time. I am a total sucker for a terrier face, love those little guys (and the larger ones too). We've been dog-less for about a year and a half, and I do miss those warm furry bodies and cold noses.

  5. I'm like you. I've been dog-less for a long time (25 years) since I lost my little terrier. I loved looking at your photos and seeing all the behind the scenes action. Great post.

  6. We just watched the Westminster not to long ago and enjoyed it as always. I was rooting for the German Shepard that won, but only because there wasn't a Chihuahua in the mix towards the end of the show ;)

    Those pups are beautiful and I hope you find one of your own to love soon.

    love to you,

  7. My heart is going pitter-pat.♥

  8. beautiful, thanks for the photos. Partial to the Scotties, lost our boy a few years ago. But also the Schnauzers, Norfolks and Yorkies. All of our boys left us in the last five years. Miss them all. Now we have a sweet little Yorkie girl we recently adopted who has been getting a few health issues cleared up at age eight. Such a sweetheart.

  9. Gosh, so many memories of dogs owned by us, friends and family and I scrolled through these great photos. I sense you're getting closer.......:)

  10. Loved seeing these beautiful dogs! We are terrier lovers, too, although we question the sanity of that at times--they can be stubborn & too smart for their own good! 😉 Looking at the beautiful Scotties brought tears--we lost our HIGGINS12 years ago & I will never stop missing him!

  11. Oh I loved the pictures..... I certainly do love dogs, especially Border Collies, but they are all terrific.

    Do i get the feeling that maybe a sweet dog is in the future?

    So glad that you enjoyed the dog show.


  12. Noticed several Scottie pics. Enjoying 13 years with our Scottie, Button. But already decided she will be our last dog. Will settle for great pics. At our age, keeping house and a large vegetable garden takes alot of time. Have loved many kinds of dogs through the years. Fond memories.

  13. I read your blog as much as time permits. My husband & I are Scottish terrier parents. We have had 4 Scotties and 2 Westies. Terriers are so full of spunk and spirit. Our 4 year old Scotty, Beauregard won his championship at the show in Franklin, Tennessee. Thanks for your AKC post and for your always inspiring blog.

  14. I loved the touching story that you shared of Cindy, Michael Lee, and I could just picture her at your crib and then off to get your mom. The photos of all the dogs that you took, are just beautiful. Hopefully you won't be dog-less much longer.

  15. They are all Best in Show! What fun to walk around and see all the different breeds! Terriers have so much personality. The breeder that we got Chloe & Grace from who was coincidentally in Tennessee, also bred Westies. We joke that Chloe has some Westie in here gene pool since she has more of terrier temperament than Bichon. I hope your pup arrives sooner rather than later. ��

  16. I loved your photography of the cute doggies and your stories you shared! I have never owned a dog, I have been a cat person by default (grew up with a cat), but I have always wanted a Westie!

  17. I adore dogs, although we don't have one of our own because we travel too much. Loved this post, Michael Lee, beautiful photographs. I loved your memories of Cindy, and also the dog handling class! I'd walk the wrong way too, I'm very sure!!

  18. These photos were great! I don't know what I'd do without my 5-year-old 60 pound aussiedoodle... he gets in bed with me at night and cuddles up so I'll rub his belly as he goes to sleep... except he always pushes my hand away after a couple of minutes. I guess he can't fully drift off until I stop! The other thing he does that blows my mind is he refuses to budge when I tell him to please move or go on or get out of the doorway, etc. But if I use the magic words, "Excuse me".... he's up and moved almost before I can complete the phrase. My dad says he has us trained well...

  19. I enjoy watching dog shows but have never been in person. Love pups...great pictures!!!
    Thanks so much for sharing at AMAZE ME MONDAY!

  20. Love this post! I had a Siberian Husky, Dobermans, and a Norwich Terrier. They were all my favorites. ♥♥♥