Purebred dog enthusiasts have been around for hundreds of years. While mixed breeds can make good pets, purebred dogs will always be in demand because they are predictable. Size, temperament, health, talents, trainability, suitability for a particular lifestyle all things to consider when looking for a canine companion. A well bred purebred dog is like a top of the line automobile. There are many activities that you can enjoy with your dog depending on his or her breed.
Conformation shows are where the dog is judged on his adherence to the ideal of the standard of the breed.
Obedience is judged on how well the dog performs a set of exercises on several different escalating levels.
Rally is obedience on a sort of random level. You don’t know what exercises you will be asked to perform until you enter the ring.
Agility is a sort of obstacle course. Fastest time wins.
Tracking is using the nose over a course to find an end object. Scent hounds are very good at these tests but many breeds can participate.
Several different field and hunt tests exist for different breeds. Pointing breeds run their dogs in field trials off horseback and need several square miles as the dogs range far and wide, while their hunt tests are foot handled and need much less space. Both are used to assess the dog’s hunting ability. Pointers “freeze” when a bird is found, are released when the bird is shot, and retrieve to hand.
Spaniel field trials and hunt tests are all foot handled, spaniels hunt in a “windshield wiper” pattern and “hup” or sit when they find the bird, then flush on command and retrieve to hand after the bird is shot.
Retrievers walk along with their handler or wait “on the line” with them, “mark” the thrown bird or birds, then are sent to retrieve on land or water. Handler uses hand signals, whistles and voice signals to help direct the dog.
Sight hounds compete in lure coursing or open field coursing trials where they chase a “lure” (think greyhound racing) or hare in an open field.
Earthdog trials are conducted for many terrier breeds where they “go to ground” ie: go down tunnels where they are expected to confront caged rats indicating at all times intense interest in “getting game”.
Herding trials are conducted for many of the herding breeds where they demonstrate their ability to round up or herd sheep and sometimes ducks or geese.
Some of the working breeds compete in weight pulls.
Junior showmanship is great for the up and coming future keepers of the centuries old purebred dog tradition. They may start competing as young as 9 up through 17 in 3 age and experience groups. They are judged on their dog handling prowess. Many of these kids are outstanding handlers.
There is a niche for any and all purebred dogs to be a part of the AKC scene and for you and you family to enjoy and have fun with your dog. Joining an all breed club such as AVKC will advance you towards that goal with experienced club members to help you along the path.