Have you ever read a book that drew you in the story so much that you were sad to see the last page? Well, this book, Show Dog: The Charmed Life and Trying Times of a Near-Perfect Purebred
by Josh Dean, is one of those amazing books. It kept Mom and I up way too late many nights wanting to know what would happen next to Jack. Jack is an up and coming Australian Shepard show dog striving to be the number one dog in the AKC. He is a young dog who is unpredictable but loves to compete. The author, Josh Dean, follows Jack around the country for an entire year. We get to experience Jack’s successes and celebrate his accomplishments like winning an award of merit at Westminster. We are there to see his struggles such as when he wasn’t winning at all and had to sit out a month to let his coat grow out. We also get to be there when he became a Dad and well … figured out how to become a Dad hehehe.
Like many dog lovers, we watched the dog shows on TV, but didn’t really know what was going on. The “dog fancy” world was a mystery to us, but Mr. Dean did an amazing job explaining the show world for us simple folks (and dogs) who actually thought the judge picked the most handsome dog to win (nope they don’t compare the dogs, they judge the dog on how close they are to their breed standard). He even includes a handy flow chart which explains what each dog must win to continue to advance and eventually become best in show.
Mr. Dean also talks about the lives of professional handlers and how the top dogs stage campaigns complete with ads in special show magazines. He also gives us insight into the drama, politics, and the big business of the show world. This book portrays the show world as mostly being made up of people who are in this business because they truly love the dogs and want to carry on their chosen breed. That being said, it is still big business and an owner can spend at least $2,000 to $3,000 a month on a full time handler. A full-fledged PR campaign can run into the six figures. We were also surprised to learn that it is very hard for an owner handler (someone who is both the owner AND the handler) to truly be competitive in the show world. To get to the next level, most owners must employee a professional to show their dog.
Mom says that Jack reminds her a lot of me. We are both superstars in our own ways, can be unpredictable sometimes, and are full of personality!
I think this book gave Mom just enough knowledge to be dangerous while watching Westminster last month. People were actually asking her what this or that meant (like best of opposite for example) and she was spouting off what she learned from reading “Show Dogs”. I think she may have had some people actually fooled that she knew about the show dog world … BOL!!
Mom also told Dad she now wants a show dog westie. Not that we can afford a show dog (my blog can’t support the hobbies of ANOTHER dog!). Plus, I’m the star in this house. Mom doesn’t need to be taking a dog other than me all over the place. I vetoed that crazy idea!
But seriously, Show Dog; The Charmed Life and Trying Times of a Near-Perfect Purebred, is an amazing book and a must read for any dog lover! To order your own copies go to: Show Dog: The Charmed Life and Trying Times of a Near-Perfect Purebred