Press Pass To The Eukanuba!

| January 26, 2012 | 1 Comment
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2012 AKC/Eukanuba National Championship Best In Show Winner

2012 AKC/Eukanuba National Championship Best In Show Winner – GCH CH Jaset’s Satisfaction “London”

AKC Eukanuba National Championship - http://retrieverlife.com

Best Of The Best

The AKC/Eukanuba National Championships is arguably the most prestigious conformation dog show in the Western hemisphere. One might think that the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show holds that honor with all of its storied history, but it is the Eukanuba, as it is affectionately known, that holds the honor as the only dog show that is by invitation only where only the best of the best are eligible to compete. For this reason any ribbon garnered at the Eukanuba is something that is coveted by owners, handlers, and breeders alike.

All Access

The great thing about having a press pass is getting close to the action. It was not, however, “all sweetness and light” as the saying goes. We ran across some particularly rude AKC officials in the Breed Conformation rings on Saturday that would not allow us to enter the walkways where competitors and other officials (and usually members of the press) wait outside the rings away from the general public. We were forced to find spots amongst the general public to take our photographs. Fortunately the Agility and Obedience officials gave us excellent access to the rings and the AKC officials were not only easy to work with, but also were very helpful when we asked questions about the event.

Hopefully next year the AKC officials that work the breed rings will understand that we are just trying to do our job and get a great story about AKC/Eukanuba National Championship published. We need the AKC’s cooperation to get proper access in order to make that happen!

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AKC Eukanuba, Dog Show

Fun In The Sun!

This year’s Eukanuba left the west coast of California for the sun-drenched state of Florida, coming from the grey, wintry Seattle area, the sun and warmth were welcome indeed! As soon as arriving in Orlando, I head straight to the new home of the Eukanuba – the spectacular Orange County Convention Center. This brand new venue is vast, so getting from place to place loaded with camera gear was oftentimes a chore, but it is a very worthwhile adventure.

My brother, Lou Leitao, joins me from Colorado to help me capture this year’s activities in photos and video. It is great to have him here with me because he is a great brother and a talented photographer. As we look over the judging program that night in the hotel room, we know we have our work cut out for us with overlapping ring times and not wanting to miss any good photo opportunities. It is going to be a tight, exciting day and we both cannot wait to meet all of the great dogs and people the next day.

There is an air of anticipation throughout the hotel as the participants walk their dogs from the comforts of their hotel room and move towards the breed rings. As someone who has had my Labrador Retriever – Zeus – at this event in 2008 and 2010, I have a keen understanding of the nerves that go along with a big event such as the Eukanuba and I offer words of “good luck” to anyone we encounter.

The conformation events take up most of the morning and finish up with the Golden Retrievers in the early afternoon. It was sensory overload with all of those great dogs in rings surrounded three-deep with spectators. All of this made for a very special event for the dogs. You could tell that they understood the enormity of this event.

After we finish taking in the retriever conformation rings, we wander through the halls and find the preliminary rounds of the National Obedience Invitational underway. There is a hushed mood in this hall. Obedience events play out more like a chess match than the Super Bowl, but this event is great to watch because of the interaction between the dog and handler.

We decide to wait until the next day to take in the final rounds of obedience so we move on to the Agility Hall. This place is like a party! The energy is electric in this hall and when we get close to the ring, dogs and handlers are racing through a series of jumps, tunnels, a-frames, and teeter-totters. This event is generally dominated by herding breeds so we wait patiently for a retriever and finally see a black Labrador fly through the course. Again Lou and I decide that tomorrow will be even more excitng to watch and shoot as this is still the preliminary rounds for the Agility Invitational.

It’s Tough At The Top

This year at the Eukanuba, retrievers found the top ribbons more elusive than last year’s where they had truly outstanding results. One event where retrievers shined was the AKC National Obedience Invitational where all four of the top spots were filled by Golden Retrievers. In the always highly competitive AKC Agility Invitational, there were three retrievers in the top ten in the 20″ jump division and one retriever in the top ten in the 24′ jump division. Although all of the retriever Best Of Breed representatives in the Sporting Group had a strong showing, they were unable to bring home any of the big ribbons.

National Obedience Invitational

OTCH Spirit's Zim Zam Zoom UDX6 OM4 - http://retrieverlife.com

NOI Winner: OTCH Spirit's Zim Zam Zoom UDX6 OM4, a Golden Retriever owned by Ward Falkner of North Vancouver, BC Canada. Photo Credit: © AKC

The National Obedience Championship is always is a bit more methodical than the AKC Agility Invitational that is taking place in the other hall, but any obedience events highlight the beauty of the dog-human relationship. The National Obedience Invitational is where this relationship is taken to its pinnacle. The best part is that it is clear that the dogs just love doing obedience work. You can see the anticipation in their eyes as they wait for their handlers to give them the signal for the next exercise.

I bumped into Kathleen Rasinowich-Platt as she is preparing to go into the ring. I wish Kathleen luck and let her get back to the business of getting her Golden Retriever, Buoy, ready for the ring. Kathleen and Buoy were last year’s NOI Champions and they were featured in our April 2011 issue.

As things wrap up in the obedience rings the Golden Retrievers end up on top!

The AKC Agility Invitational

Teresa Rodney Final Round Sprint 2011 AKC Agility Invitational

Agility is always fast and furious at the Eukanuba. The best agility teams in the US gather to see who will reign supreme. The AKC Agility Invitational is always filled with breeds like Australian Shepherds which are particularly fast movers but there are dogs of all sizes and shapes, each participating at a jump height that suits their breed. But, as one wise agility competitor once told me, “sometimes speed kills”. Accuracy is just as important in this sport so having a very precise dog that moves a bit slower can oftentimes be more successful than a dog that flies around like its hair is on fire!

Although retrievers were not crowned as champions in any of the jump heights this year, they did not go unnoticed in the standings.

  • 3rd Place 20″ CH MACH5 Windfall’s Made To Run CD JH OF Flat-Coated Retriever, owned by Teresa Rodney
  • 4th Place 20″ MACH9 Lime Creek’s Mie Black Beamer RE JH MXF Labrador Retriever, owned by Mark O’Sell/Ruth Lewis
  • 6th PLace 20″ GCH CH Nuka Bay’s Independence Mine UD GO VER RAE3 MX MXJ MXF Chesapeake Bay Retriever, owned by Lynda L Barber-Wiltse
  • 9th Place 24″ CH Crosscreek Youghiogheny MX AXJ Chesapeake Bay Retriever, owned by Karen Shaffer

AKC/Eukanuba National Championship

Best In Show thumbnail
The Golden Retriever thumbnail
The Flat Coated Retriever thumbnail
The Chesapeake Bay Retriever thumbnail
The Curly-Coated Retriever thumbnail
The Labrador Retriever thumbnail
The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever thumbnail
CH Eagleridge's Return From Bombay - http://retrieverlife.com
GCH CH Destiny As Good As It Gets JH -http://retrieverlife.com
GCH CH Cabin Ridge's Mega Margarita - http://retrieverlife.com
GCH CH Clarion's Blackberry Bramble - http://retrieverlife.com
GCH CH Kaltrav Caribbean Cruise JH - http://retrieverlife.com
GCH CH Honeyrun Simply Amazing - http://retrieverlife.com

2012 AKC/Eukanuba National Championship Best In Show Winner

CH Eagleridge's Return From Bombay - "Kuchi"

GCH CH Destiny As Good As It Gets JH - "Andy"

GCH CH Cabin Ridge's Mega Margarita - "Rita"

GCH CH Clarion's Blackberry Bramble - "Bramble"

GCH CH Kaltrav Caribbean Cruise JH - "Calypso"

GCH CH Honeyrun Simply Amazing - "Grace"

The AKC/Eukanuba National Championship is as good as it gets in terms of a conformation dog show. As an invitation-only show, it is guaranteed to have only the cream of the crop in the ring. Although the retrievers did not garner any of the big ribbons in the Sporting Group this year, we saw excellent dogs in all of the breed rings as well as in the Sporting Group.

Golden Retrievers

The 2011 AKC/Eukanuba National Championship - The Golden Ring

The Golden Retriever winners:

Flat-Coated Retrievers

The Flat-Coated Retriever Ring At The 2011 AKC/Eukanuba National Championship - http://retrieverlife.com

The Flat-Coated Retriever Ring At The 2011 AKC/Eukanuba National Championship

The Flat-Coated Retriever winners:

Chesapeake Bay Retrievers

The Chesapeake Bay Retriever Ring At The 2011 AKC/Eukanuba National Championship - http://retrieverlife.com

The Chesapeake Bay Retriever Ring At The 2011 AKC/Eukanuba National Championship

The Chesapeake Bay Retriever winners:

Curly-Coated Retrievers

The Curly-Coated Retriever winners:

Labrador Retrievers

The 2011 AKC/Eukanuba National Championship - Labrador Retriever Winners

The Labrador Retriever winners:

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers At The 2011 AKC/Eukanuba National Championship - http://retrieverlife.com

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers At The 2011 AKC/Eukanuba National Championship

The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever winners:

Whew!

The 2011 Eukanuba was such an amazing event! All of the wonderful people and their great dogs made it truly special for us and gave me my “dog fix” while I was on the road. If you have never experienced the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship, The National Obedience Invitational, and The AKC Agility Invitational, I highly recommend it. The events have something for every retriever lover and they will keep you busy from dawn till dusk!

We are still working through the over 7000 pictures we took but we hope this story give you a taste of this awesome experience!

Category : AKC/Eukanuba, Dog Show

About the Author ()

I am one of the founders and editor of Retriever Life. My passion is Labradors of all sizes and shapes but I am a big fan of all the retriever breeds.

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  1. Jen says:

    I have some questions for you and would like to contact you via email.. what is your email address? Thanks!

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