Friday, December 9, 2011

AKC/Eukanuba National Championship: A REALLY Big Dog Show!

Next week, nearly 5,000 dogs from all over the world will converge on the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando for the biggest dog show in the country. The 11th annual AKC Eukanuba National Championship, held in conjunction with the AKC Agility Invitational and the AKC National Obedience Invitational, is like the Super Bowl of all dog shows!

And I'll be there! As one of the bloggers attending on behalf of Eukanuba, we'll be sniffing out lots of stories and great photos and posting them right here. We'll share stories about dogs and competitors of all types who have earned their spot in the competition --  some who were born to be champions and some who have overcome all odds to make it all the way to the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship.

If you're like me, you can watch dogs and talk about dogs all day, and all night, long! And at the AENC, it's not only permitted, it is EXPECTED! So here's a little background so you can enjoy the show even more -- whether you watch it via live streaming on Dec. 17 and 18, watch it when it's televised on ABC on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2012, read about it online or attend in person!

While I typically prefer LOTS of photos, I also have a thing about reading facts and stats (LOVE them!) ... so enjoy these -- if you are like me -- and I promise to post LOTS of photos next week! On second thought: read all the way to the bottom of this post for a really cute photo!

A really big dog show by the numbers
  • A record-breaking entry of 4,976 dogs include:
    • 3,938 dogs competing in conformation
    • 592 in the AKC Agility Invitational
    • 146 in the AKC National Obedience Invitational
    • 256 Juniors
    • 44 in the Eukanuba World Challenge 
  • Dogs from 50 states and 45 countries will vie for $225,000
  • 173 AKC recognized breeds are registered to compete
  • The largest entries include (in conformation):
    • 64 Boston Terriers
    • 61 Vizslas
    • 58 French Bulldogs
    • 57 Rhodesian Ridgebacks
    • 56 Retrievers (Labrador)
    • 51 Australian Shepherds
    • 50 Havanese (Largest entry in the Toy Group, WOW!)
    • 50 Retrievers (Golden)
    • 48 Dachshunds (Longhaired)
    • 46 Rottweilers
    • 45 Pugs
    • 44 Cavalier King Charles Spaniels
    • 44 Border Collies
  • The newest breeds to compete include:
    • 3 American English Coonhounds
    • 5 Entlebucher Mountain Dogs
    • 9 Finnish Lapphunds
    • 8 Cesky Terriers
    • 11 Norwegian Lundehunds
    • 12 Xoloitzcuintli (pronounce it: Show-low-its-queen-tli)
What makes this show a breed apart!

The AKC/Eukanuba National Championship is the only major dog show that:
  • Out of thousands of AKC sanctioned events, is organized and held solely by the AKC, the nation’s oldest and only not-for-profit purebred dog registry.
  • Is strictly by invitation only. The top 25 dogs in every AKC recognized breed and variety, as well as every Bred-By-Exhibitor Champion, Amateur Owner Handled Champion, Grand Champion, Bronze/Silver/Gold/Platinum Grand Champion and Best in Show winner during the qualification period, are invited to compete. In addition, the winner of each breed’s national specialty show and eligible Veterans are invited to compete.
    • In agility, the top-five ranked in each breed are invited and in obedience, the top three OTCH and OTCH-pointed dog in each breed are invited. (OTCH = Obedience Trial Champion)
  • Invites international competitors. In December 2010, international dogs from 50 countries as far away as Brazil, England, Japan and Ukraine participated.
  • Hosts a special attraction like the Eukanuba World Challenge, an exciting international competition which will feature the top dogs from more than 43 countries vying for $15,000 in prize money
  • Celebrates the heart and soul of the sport of purebred dogs by awarding the AKC Breeder of the Year Award. Seven individuals are honored who have left a great impact on a specific breed. These breeders have dedicated their lives to improving the health, temperament and quality of purebred dogs.
  • Runs three national events under the same roof. In conjunction with the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship, the AKC Agility Invitational and AKC National Obedience Invitational are held.
  • Offers AKC Meet the Breeds®. Representatives from up to 173 AKC National Breed Clubs share their knowledge and love of their chosen breed via decorative displays and offering dogs for the public to greet.
  • Serves as the only all breed qualifying show in America for entry into Crufts —- the world’s largest dog show. The Kennel Club (England) has designated the winners of Best of Breed, Best of Opposite Sex or recipients of an Award of Merit at the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship as qualified to enter Crufts.
  • Offers sizable scholarship awards for its Junior Showmanship winners and requires a specific grade point average as part of the eligibility criteria. Junior handlers, between 9 and 18 years of age, are invited to demonstrate their expertise for an opportunity to receive a $2,000 scholarship.
  • For the first time ever, presents competitions for Junior handlers in all three sports - Conformation, Obedience and Agility.
To receive daily updates and show results via Facebook, visit and On Twitter, follow the hashtag #AKCEukShow to follow all the action. And,  I'll be tweeting under @ToDogWithLove too!

Ok, I couldn't stand not having any dog photos on this post, so here you go!

Please meet Griffin, the future V.P. of Canine Communications for Iams, Eukanuba and Natura Pet Food brands.

Griffin is a Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen (PBGV) and was born on December 31, 2010 in the UK.

Griffin has a busy schedule planned at the show next week where he'll try his paw at dock diving and meet with all sorts of folks. (I'm hoping for a smooch!)

In the next few months, before he officially becomes  an execudog, Griffin will be learning his new job responsibilities, earning his championship title and studying to become certified as an AKC Canine Good Citizen and Therapy Dog.

See you at the show!


  1. Oh, how wonderful! We'll look forward to the posts straight from the show-have a great time and hope you get a smooch from adorable Griffin!

    By the way-this is a great post and we're printing it out to have alongside us when we watch the show!

  2. Bocci, Yay! I'm glad I'm not the only one who likes all this background info. I'm usually not a fan of so many words on page!

  3. this is so exciting. Mom would love to go one year
    Benny & Lily

  4. This looks like a fantastic event! Good luck to Griffin (great photo) and his dock diving.
    have fun!

  5. I am so excited!! Can't wait to meet you there!!

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