Should I Stay Or Should I Go?

Cardigan Welsh Corgi Breed Column

No, this isn’t a shameless plug for Choice Hotels, nor even an 1980s rock band. It is a question that every participant in the sport of purebred dogs needs to ask themselves each year. Your breed club’s national specialty holds endless opportunity for you in countless ways.

Let’s dispel one misnomer right up front. No, it is not just for showing in conformation, and if you think that, obviously you haven’t attended one in quite some time. The list of activities and events is sure to please most of us with a passion for their favorite breed. The Cardigan Welsh Corgi Club of America has a dedicated team of aficionados who work tirelessly to offer a grand experience for those who make the trek. every effort is taken to provide a fun and educational experience from the moment you arrive. The week-long event is filled with activities ranging from herding and agility, to rally and Canine Good Citizen testing and yes, conformation too. each year the group perfects the event and new things will be on the horizon to peak your interest.

The most valuable portion of the adventure is the opportunity to meet others with the same affection for the breed and to exchange observations and opinions. More than one great dog was born out of a discussion at a national specialty by those that observed with an open mind and common goal. Honest discussions about future breeding possibilities, information on how to improve your handling skills, grooming techniques, and how to achieve that elusive perfect score are just a few of items that top the education list. You’ll get to see and maybe even touch that beautiful dog that you’ve heard so much about on social media. True dog people never tire of talking about their dogs, so be prepared for plenty of kibitzing over your favorite subject.

Here is a list of comments, with rebuttals, that typically come up when considering attending the national specialty.

  • Oh, it’s too far away. The national is deliberately located differently each year in order to allow all of us to attend at some point in time.
  • I can’t get time off. The date and location of the national is well publicized at least two years ahead of time. A little planning now can help to adjust your calendar.
  • I can’t afford to go. Plenty of people will go together to reduce hotel cost, carpool, or even share RV expenses. Just put the word out and you will see the generosity that abounds with this group—and if you’re not careful, you might just make some new special friends.
  • My dog isn’t that good. We all have dreams of winning big at a specialty, but the reality is that if you go expecting to win you will have gone for the wrong reason. We all like winning, but the experience you obtain from attending is far more valuable than a ribbon that may soon be forgotten—and hey, you never know, you might have a star in your kennel that you didn’t even realize.

Remember that everyone is an unpaid volunteer and is there to help provide a wonderful experience for all who attend. Perhaps you yourself may be able to offer a little bit of your time to assist. What a great way to meet others in the breed and give back just a little in return. even a simple task can be of great service to the total event.

So the next time you’re lip-syncing to The Clash, “Should I Stay or Should I Go,” forget the high school reunion or that distant cousin’s wedding and make plans for the national.

—David L. Anthony

First published in the AKC Gazette Digital Edition, March, 2017.

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