Showing a Miniature Dachshund, whether it be a Long Haired or a Smooth Haired can be a very rewarding experience. Of course you need to have a dog that has show potential. You may have bought your puppy from a breeder who informed you that it has possible show potential. However, you need to be made aware that before entering your dog for a show you must decide whether or not your puppy is good enough to show.
The first thing to ascertain is whether your puppy is good enough and to get a copy of the Breed Standard. This can be obtained by clicking on the menu on my home page and clicking on the Breed Standard page or by visiting the www.thekennelclub.org website. Having read a copy of the Breed Standard you then must compare your puppy with all the points describing the Miniature Dachshund. Do not be over concerned if your puppy does not meet all the requirements because as yet there is not the PERFECT Dachshund. Some come very close and have gone on to achieve great success in the show ring. However, the only way to prove that your puppy is suitable is for you to enter a show that has Miniature Dachshund classes on offer. These shows are available via the classified show adverts in The Dog World or Our Dogs newspapers available either from your newsagent or direct from the relevant canine newspaper. www.TheDachshund Club.co.uk also promotes Breed Classes at their various Breed Shows both at Open Show and Championship Show level.
It is advisable to try entering your puppy at either a Breed Club Open Show or another Canine Society Open Show to initially get your dog (and you) used to the format of showing. There will probably be on offer classes for a Minor Puppy, for puppies from six to nine months, or alternatively a Puppy class which allows puppies from six to 12 months of age to enter. The Judge on the day should have at least some knowledge of the Dachshund, otherwise they would not have been invited to judge the breed.
Click here to see Video of Mags in action at Bath Championship Show 2009 This will give you a rough idea of what to expect in the show ring.
On arriving at the Show you will have to find the Ring in which the Dachshunds are being judged. This is shown in the catalogue of classes for your breed. Having done this it is wise to take your puppy out for a walk around the venue to enable it to become acclimatised to the sights and sounds of the show. If you are at a General All Breeds Open Show where Dachshunds are to be judged, you and your puppy will meet with dogs from other breeds, some very much larger, and some much smaller than your puppy. This will be a new and very daunting experience for your little dog but with you at his side giving him all the encouragement and support he will take it all in his stride. You will also feel a little more confident if your puppy is at ease within its surroundings. If there is an empty ring available it would perhaps help if you walked your puppy around this area to get it used to the scenery and then perhaps you could place it on a spare judging table and allow another person to "go over" your puppy. The more socialised it is the better the chances of your puppy performing confidently around the ring.
When the Steward calls you into the ring by number (this is stated in the catalogue) you and your puppy will enter the ring. The Steward will present you with your Ring number which you must make visible to both judge and ringside onlookers, either by a ring clip or a sleeve ring number card holder (easily obtained from any number of stall holders at the show). Having acquired your ring number you will then be expected to proceed to the weighing scales to ascertain the weight of your puppy. Having read the Breed Standard you will have realised that Miniature Dachshunds, under present day criteria, need to weigh under 11lbs ideally. However, should your dog be slightly over this weight do not be over-concerned - this can be due to numerous things -like not having urinated or emptied its bowels before going into the ring. But your dog can be penalised if it is under-weight due to starvation before a show to reduce its weight then the judge has the right to ask you to withdraw your dog.
Having weighed your puppy you then take your place at the side of the ring. It is advisable if this is your first show to follow behind other exhibitors in the class. You may wish to note how other exhibitors are placing their dogs. At this stage the Judge will initially look over all the dogs entered in that class and then instruct you ALL to walk around the ring, once or maybe twice. By doing this the Judge can see all the dogs entered and take into account movement and confidence. Then, each in turn will place their puppy onto a table. It is at this point where you stand your puppy to display it at its best.
Click here to see Video of Mags in action at Driffield Championship Show- 2010
Ideally a Miniature Dachshund should be placed on the table with both front feet slightly apart - and by placing its back legs slightly wider apart than the front legs and then stretching the body out to a comfortable stance. The top line should be almost level (from shoulders to rump) with an allowable slight rise on the rear. The elbows of the front legs should be level with the ribcage, not protruding. The head should be proud and erect but not facing upwards. You have all the time you need to position your puppy until you feel you have acquired the right position. Having done this the Judge will then proceed to "go over" your puppy. Most judges start by checking the mouth for the correct alignment of the teeth and then check for length of muzzle and correct eye. Dachshunds should have an almond shaped eye, not a round eye. Length of ears, which should be just short of the nose, will then be checked and then the judge will proceed to check the pro-sternum and shoulder placement of your puppy. By passing his/her hands over the body the judge will check for length of rib and placement of hocks. The closer of these the better. Then a check on the genitals, a dog should have two, the bitch is most obvious.
The final check is the length and placement of tail and angulation of the back legs. Once the judge has gone over the entire exhibit they will advise you to "do a Triangle" This is performed by walking from the Judge to the nearest corner, walking straight across to the next corner and then walking in a straight line back towards the judge. Sometimes the judge will ask you to walk away from them in a straight line and return back to them. Having done this it is usual practise to again put your dog in the "stacked" position for the judge to give their final appraisal. All the other exhibits entered in your class will undergo this procedure. When all exhibits have been seen then they will line up in front of the judge. It is at this stage where you must "show" your puppy "off". From this final line up the Judge will pick the winners.
A "first" placing is very gratifying, a second is also quite good, a third is acceptable. However, should you not get placed you must be able to accept defeat honourably. You must bear in mind that some of the dogs in this class may have been shown before and therefore have much more ring confidence. The winners will probably have achieved more points from the Judge because in their opinion the exhibits meets the Breed Standard better. However, do not become discouraged. Your first show is both a learning curve for you and your puppy and there will be other shows to enter whereby you can put things right that you didn't do this time. If you enter a Breed Show where only Miniature Dachshunds are entered then the same ring procedure applies and it is at this type of show where you can compare your puppy. Many experienced exhibitors will be only too pleased to give you help and advice at these shows. Only time will tell whether your puppy is good enough - one judges opinion may be very different from another. Experience is a wonderful tool and can be applied to your advantage. However, do not give us hope if all does not go well at first. Keep trying and learning. If your puppy is not quite as good as you were first given to believe then look for something better. There are fine, reputable breeders who will sell you a puppy that has good show potential.
Showing Miniature Dachshunds is a wonderful, if slightly expensive, hobby and a lot of pleasure can be gained from being part of the show scene. If your puppy gets placed then you have a base to work from. Good luck in achieving success, Remember you have to be in it to win it. We have all started from small beginnings and didn't quite make it at our first attempt but many of us have gone on to achieve great success by learning from our initial mistakes.