Our Favorite Moments From the 2012 AKC/Eukanuba National Championship
What a weekend! The AKC/Eukanuba National Championship returned to Orlando, Fla., for its twelfth annual show, and there was truly something for everyone. The theme "Celebrate Dogs" was evident as dog lovers from all walks of life came together for the event.
On one hand, of course, was the National Championship itself. Breeds were judged throughout the day on Saturday and Sunday, and groups were judged in the evenings. Several special and moving presentations honored junior handlers, exceptional breeders, dogs receiving the AKC Humane Fund Awards for Canine Excellence (or ACE) and more.
Best in Show (and $50,000 in prize money) went to Sky (GCH CH Afterall Painting the Sky), a Wire Fox Terrier. Another big winner was London (GCH Jaset’s Satisfaction), a Standard Poodle who represented the United States in the Eukanuba World Challenge, a stunning display of top dogs from around the world competing for a $10,000 prize.
We couldn't help but spend a little time with this sleepy Saluki at the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship Meet the Breeds.
One of our favorite booths won best booth in the Sporting group. We have no doubt this Golden Retriever was well compensated for his stellar portrayal of everybody's favorite reindeer.
The Greyhounds were a perfect example of their "45 mph couch potato" nickname. Sadly, there wasn't enough room on the couch for us to join them.
The Borzoi booth was striking enough to win the Hound group, and we certainly agree with that decision.
"Frenchie" kisses? Who could resist?
While watching the pro dock divers leap over 20 feet was fun, some of our favorite moments came during the amateur competition, when dogs new to the sport required a considerable amount of coaching to even get in the water. Once they jumped, whether they went 3 feet or 13, the crowd absolutely exploded.
London, the Standard Poodle representing the United States in the Eukanuba World Challenge, wasn't just the judge's pick; the crowd loved him too!
Sky the Wire Fox Terrier won Best in Show and proudly posed for photos long after the ribbon was awarded.
The Reserve Best in Show winner was a Saluki named GCH CH Shiraz California Dreamin', who certainly had her fans in attendance.
The 2012 Awards for Canine Excellence recipients included Pilot, a service dog; Kirby, a law enforcement dog; Joy, an exemplary companion dog; Keahi, a search and rescue dog; and Benny, a therapy dog.
Dock Dogs was very popular with the crowd and showcased three distinct dock diving events: Big Air, which measures how far the dog jumps out from the dock; Extreme Vertical, where dogs compete by leaping high into the air; and Speed Retriever, which the announcer jokingly called "doggie drag racing."
The AKC Agility Invitational also had a steady crowd to cheer on the dogs as their handlers guided them through tunnels and over hurdles. And while the AKC Obedience Invitational had a more subdued atmosphere, the competitors' passion for the sport was evident.
As if all that competition wasn't enough, the Eukanuba K-9 Fun Zone featured performances by the Olate Dogs (2012 America's Got Talent winners), demonstrations by police and military K-9 units, skateboarding Shelties, Flyball dogs and more. Visitors also posed for photos with Stella from Modern Family and other canine celebrities. To say there was never a dull (or quiet!) moment would be an enormous understatement. We wouldn't have had it any other way.
The 2012 AKC/Eukanuba National Championship will air February 4 on ABC at 2 p.m. EST.