Ben is currently competing in an office pool: Fantasy Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show
. Picks are due Sunday, 2/9/2004. The competition is on USA on Monday 2/10 and Tuesday 2/11.
Our competition is based on picking the winners of the 7 Groups (Best in Group) and Best in Show. We decided to skip the Best in Breed competition. For each group, we pick 1 winner and 3 dogs to place. 2 Points for the winner and 1 point if your backups win.
The following is a running commentary of Ben's research and picks:
Gun dogs that were developed to assist the hunter ... generally have high energy and stable temperaments ... Pointers and Setters point and mark the game, Spaniels flush the bird, Retrievers recover the game from land or water.
So the Sporting Group is definitely overwhelmed by Spaniels. There are like 11 Spaniels out of 28 possible sporting dogs. There are also 6 Retrievers and 3 Setters. The cool thing about this group is that they refer to them as "Retriever, Golden" and "Retriever, Labrador". Which is especially funny when they say "Spaniel, Cocker." It's funny to say outloud (pronouncing the comma). It's also good that they have "Spanial, Cocker (Black)", "Spanial, Cocker (Parti-Color)" and "Spanial, Cocker (A.S.C.O.B)". It turns out that ASCOB means Any-Solid-Color-Other-than-Black. I guess that makes sense. But it's really fun to say. So far, the ASCOB Cocker has my vote.
Now I assume that the judges don't base their decisions on Funny Names, so it's better to pick out the winners based on looks.
This dog is called the Vizsla:
which is cool because not only is it worth a lot in Scrabble, but it also looks like it's been on Atkins.
The Brittany is not a particulary interesting dog, but we all love Britney, so that has to count for something. The Brittany could definitely get my vote.
The Retrievers (both Golden and Lab) are too cliche. And the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever just isn't as tough as it's name suggests.
No way in hell would I vote for a dog called a Pointer.
On the other hand, the Spaniel, Sussex isn't a bad dog:
It's long and low, which is always a good quality in a dog, and rare in the sporting group.
I also have to give it up for the Black Spaniel Cocker:
because I think it would be funny to see this dog hunting. And of course there's the whole 'cocker' thing again.
Conclusion: I have to say, there aren't too many attactive options in the Sporting Group. I'd have to say my top four are as follows:
- Spanial, Cocker (Black)
- Spaniel, Sussex
Hounds were originally classified as Sporting dogs, but were assigned their own group in 1930. These dogs are hunters, either to bring down the game themselves or hold it at bay until the hunter arrives. Sighthounds hunt by sight, Scenthounds by tracking with their superior olfactory senses.
This is probably the most interesting group. I feel like I have a love-hate relationship with the Hound group. Some of the greatest dogs in the world are members of the Hounds, but some of the crappiest dogs manage to give hounds a bad name.
By far, without a doubt, the best dog in the world is the Floppy-Eared Low Rider
Any dog that is judged on "Distance from Stomach to Ground" and "Ear Span" is a winner in my book.
To continue with awesome hounds, we have the Beagle.
Beagles are so awesome that they found it necessary to have two Beagle groups: the 13" Beagles and the 15" Beagles. (In keeping with naming tradition, they are called Beagle, 13" and Beagle 15" respectively). It kind of makes you wonder the differences between the two groups. I assume one is way more competitive than the other. So do you think beagle owners give their 14" dogs coffee to try and stunt their growth? Or anabolic steroids to get them over the 15" mark? I'd also like to point out that my Powerbook is 15" and it would be waaay cuter if it were a puppy.
Just when you thing you couldn't get enough hounds, Dachshunds are also in this group! For those of you who aren't up on their breeds, Dachshunds are also known as Weiner Dogs. My girlfriend's life-long idea for a killer business is to dress them up as hot-dogs and put signs advertising street vendors around their necks. Definitely briliant. In the East Village in NYC there are 2 weiner dogs who walk around with flashing bike reflectors on their backs so people don't step on them. CUTE! I will admit that the Smooth Dachshund
is waaay better than the Long Haired Dachshund
but they are both unbelievably low and long.
To top it off, you've got to give Dachshunds mad props for being, by far, the most digraphic dog of all time.
Now comes the darker side of the hound group.
They oughta hold a competition for the worst fucking dog of all time. That competition would consist almost entirely of hounds. I mean, which one of the following would you least like to snuggle up against:
Ugh! Those are some awful dogs. Can you believe they can rightfully compete against a Floppy-Eared Low Rider? In fact, once I saw a Scottish Deerhound walking down 1st avenue (on the way to the bagel store). I asked the owner what type of dog it was and he told me. That was the day I started my Palm Pilot list of "Dogs I Hate." More on that later.
Conclusion: This is an easy list.
- Beagle, 13"
- Weiner Dog (Dachshund Smooth)
- Floppy-Eared Low Rider (Basset Hound)
- Hairy Weiner Dog (Dachshund Long Hair)
These dogs are generally intelligent and powerfully built, performing a variety of tasks, including guarding homes and livestock, serving as draft animals, and as police, military and service dogs.
My gut feeling in this group is to vote for the Anatolian Shepherd Dog. It's not particuarly cute or anything, but there's a finite chance that through some inadvertant mishap, the dog will accidently get switched with one of its sheep. And hilarity ensues!
At first I was pretty psyched about the Giant Schnauzer. To me it sounds kind of like a Huge Weiner Dog. Which would obviously rock. But upon closer inspection of the list of Dogs I Hate, I quickly remembered why the Schnauzer tops the list: First off, I don't like it's beard. At all. Second, I had a really embarrasing moment at a beer garden in East Berlin when I ordered a Hefeschnauzer, much to the delight of all the Germans.
I do like the Great Dane, however. I really feel bad for the fellow. It got such a bad reputation for being in Marmaduke, one of the worst comic strips of all time (losing only to Mark Trail, Family Circus, Cathy, and Calvin and Hobbes). One thing that's strange about Great Danes is that 1/2 of them are female. It's weird. You see a 9 foot dog walking down the street, you don't think "bitch". You think "RUN!".
I also like the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, if only because I like the Great Dane and clearly this dog is Greater.
Probably my favorite in this category is the Komondor. This dog looks like a mop.
In fact, this dog recently filed suit against Anheuser-Busch for denying them the role in the "No Pets Allowed" commercial on the grounds of racial discrimination.
I think I'll just go with last year's Working Group winner, the Noufoundland.
But to be honest, The Working Group is a lot like the 2004 Presidential election - doesn't matter which one wins, as long as it's not the Standard Shnauzer, I'll be happy.
- Great Dane
- Anatolian Shepherd Dog
Terrier" comes from the Latin word, "terra" (ground) as these determined and courageous dogs must be small enough and agile enough to "go to ground" to pursue their quarry (rats, foxes, and other vermin). All but the Australian Terrier and the Miniature Schnauzer were developed in the United Kingdom.
The first thing that really struck me about the Terrier group is that every single dog in this group is called a Terrier. You'd think they could just leave off the word "terrier" if it's used for every single dog. But I guess I could see the confusion if you just referred to it as a Fox or a Bull.
Now I have to say, there are more Terriers on the list of Dogs I Hate than any other group, including the Airedale Terrier, the Lakeland Terrier, and the Welsh Terrier. (see what I mean about calling them Terrier all the time?)
I think my favorite so far in this group is the Bedlington Terrier
Not only does it's face look funny, but so does it's body and it's ears.
I really don't like Bull Terriers (White) either:
There's just something about dogs with no faces that I just can't stand. That's why I hate so many terriers. (If you have to ask what I mean by no faces, you wouldn't understand).
Honestly, I've gone through almost all the Terriers so far and I hate them all. I even hate the Bedlington that I picked earlier. I'm going to send the WKC an email suggesting they either move some Toys into the Terrier Group, or they move the cute hounds into their own group (called Cute Hounds) and the ugly hounds into the Terrier Group, and then we can have a Worst Dog on the Planet competition.
That being said, I think I'm going to vote for the Kerry Blue Terrier out of hate
OH GOLDAY! Holy stink! Look what I just found! Oh No! I can't believe there's a Miniature Schnauzer! Who are they kidding! No one wants that! Aaargh! Ewwww! I'm picking this one out of hate also.
But wait. I found one that's okay - the Scottish Terrier, which I like to call Scotch on the Fox.
While this dog does have a cylindrical face, which is almost as bad as a dog with no face, I think this is the dog that looks like it's floating on magnets when it walks. Kind of like a mag-lev train, but only with a keen sense of smell. I could be wrong about this, and if so, I'll be really disappointed tomorrow, but I'm pretty sure that's right.
And finally, I did find a terrier that I actually like: The Skye Terrier. It has a Phoenix-esque name and really dumb looking ears. That' my kind of dog!
- Scottish Terrier
- Skye Terrier
- Miniature Shnauzer
- Kerry Blue Terrier
Toy dogs were bred to be companions for people. They are full of life and spirit and often resemble their larger cousins (e.g., Pomeranian as a Nordic breed, the Papillon a little Spaniel, and the Toy Poodle the smallest variety of the Poodle).
Everyone knows the Toy Group rocks. And picking good Toy dogs is trivial.
By far the best Toy is the Chinese Crested:
This doggie has no hair on its body! It has funny hair on its head and feet, but it needs sunscreen in the summer and a coat in the winter. Doesn't get much cuter than that, I'm sorry. (Actually, it does get much cuter than that - this past summer I met an American Hairless Terrier puppy. It had absolutely no hair on its body except for a moustache. Completely hairless. Not only that, it's skin was too big for its little body, so he was all wrinkly. His name was Raisin. Now that is the cutest thing every).
The next two choices will be equally simple:
The Chihuahua actually gets 2 breeds - the long hair and the smooth. I'll vote for each of these dogs, if for no other reason than to show my solidarity with Elle and Bruiser.
And even the last pick is easy. A Toy Poodle.
Damn I hate these dogs. But I have some inside sources that tell me that Poodles are going to win. Evidently poodles always win. I can't say that I'm proud of this, but this won't be the last poodle picked in this competition.
I do have to say that it's tough not to pick the Pomeranian for this category. I mean, the fucking dog has fucking papers. How can you argue with that?
Actually, now that I do more research, this group is harder than I thought! How can I not vote for the Shih Tzu
or the Pekingese
or the Maltese?
Not only that, but what about the Italian Greyhound??? You've gotta love this dog. This dog it completely anorexic, shakes with fright all the friggin' time, and insists on putting it's tail between it's legs in reverse-Jame Gumb style!
Well, it's 2am, so I've got to pick 4 of them. Here goes.
- Chinese Crested
- Chihauhua (Smooth Coat)
- Toy Poodle
The AKC originally registered dogs as either Sporting or Non-Sporting. Hounds and Terriers split off the Sporting Group, Toys and Working from the Non-Sporting, and later, Herding from the Working Group. The remaining dogs, with a great diversity of traits not fitting any of the above, comprises the Non-Sporting Group.
The Non-Sporting group totally rocks. It's home to some of the best dogs in the world - dogs which need no further introduction and simply a shout-out and the top spot, including the French Bulldog:
and the Boston Terrier:
And obviously I have to pick both Poodles (Standard and Miniature) because poodles always win. I think it's part of WKC tradition that poodles have to win every year. So even though I hate them, my next 2 votes are for the 2 poodles.
But wait! Crap! Crap crap crap crap crap! I was just looking at past years results. It turns out the Bichon Frises has placed in each of the last 4 years, and took Best in Show one year!
What to do? I have to pick the two goddamn poodles. And my 2 all time favorites are in this group too! But how can I not pick the Bichon Frises? I really need to decide here - am I playing to win? or playing to screw around? I don't know. So I called Kennyb. And he made an excellent point - He said "Ben, when you went to the International Rock Paper Scissors Championships, did you go to screw around? or did you go to win?!" Also, how could I show my face at work on Wednesday morning and have to say, "yeah, i picked the boston terrier to win it all." What a chump.
- Bichon Frises
- French Bulldog
- Poodle (Standard)
- Poodle (Miniature)
This group split off from the Working Group in 1983. Herding is a natural instinct n dogs, and their purpose is to serve ranchers and farmers by moving livestock from one place to another.
Alright - we're really close to the deadline here. I need to pick quickly.
Definitely going with both Corgis in this group (Cardigan and Pembroke). They are the lowest and longest of the Herding Group.
I'll also pick the Smooth Collie, because I like Smooth Dogs.
And the dog from the Bud Light commercial is a no-brainer:
- Corgi (Pembroke)
- Corgo (Cardigan)
- Collie (Smooth)
And there you have it. Stay tuned to USA on Monday and Tuesday nights, or check the results online. I'll post how I did shortly after the competition.