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The National Championship
Countdown to Eukanuba……

Merlin’s Ring time for the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship is less than 72 hours away. This seems trivial to some I am sure. But I can think of little else. Merlin is a four and a half year old dog, but it seems like just yesterday that I walked into that ring on the hill in Brooksville with the goofy puppy many people had been swooning over…. And got our butts kicked all the way back to Tampa by better handled dogs….. So the road began there….
Frankly I never thought the road would be so long or have so many turns. He has had some good runs.
November 2008 through June 2009. He had a great run. He and I both got it together and win after win came as he finished his Championship.
He showed some off and on in 2010. But frankly my head was not in it. Work (or lack of work) issues kept my head in other places. Still he managed a couple of Best of Breed wins. And despite it all, he managed to hang around and be relevant in his breed.
But he came back stronger than ever in 2011. I could focus and devote myself to serious campaigns. He looked great and now a fully mature dog in his prime.
April through June 2011 – A great Special Campaign ten shows in about 12 weeks. Taking 6 Best of Breed wins and a couple of select dog awards in those ten weeks.
November and December 2011. A campaign of 8 shows in a little over a month time. Taking 4 Best of Breed wins, two Best Opposite and one select dog.
He has spent much of the year in the top 25 in his breed. Falling out for a while in late summer and fall. Once the points are updated he will be ranked 12th or 13th in the Country.

It has been a great year that has led to being invited to the AKC/ Eukanuba National Championship. Just being invited is an honor few show dogs ever receive.
So Sunday Morning Merlin walks into the ring with 26 of the other Top Australian Cattle Dogs in the Country and World. To win Best of Breed would be a HUGE longshot. Even receiving one of the five Awards of Excellence would be a Fantastic Achievement.

Longshot or not….. I like his chances. He is in TOP physical shape and in his prime. Since he got it together in November 2008, He has typically shown well. But lately he has taken it to a whole different level. He turns on in the ring and works like he owns it! Even though he got no recognition in the group ring last weekend (ACD’s seldom do) He had two very powerful showings. To the point that spectators approached me afterwards and commented on his performance. Many ACD people brush off group, but I have taken Merlin every time. That has paid off. He is at home in the big ring with a lot of dogs. Some dogs never make the adjustment and transition from the breed ring to the larger more intense group ring. Merlin has...... All those group showings were unintentional practice for this Sunday. Because although it is a breed ring, it will have a group feel. Big ring, lots of dogs, and large crowd of spectators.

So whatever happens…… happens…. He has already received a great honor by being invited. But come Sunday Morning…….. Team Merlin is going to BRING IT!!!!!!


The Chips will fall where they fall. After that we have a few shows in January. Merlin will end his show career with a Regional Specialty on January 22nd. On the same hill in Brooksville where it all started four years ago.


Obedience and Tracking are on tap for next spring. Time to put some titles behind his name to go with the titles in front.
 

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I am so excited for you and proud of Merlin! I went to the AKC nationals in 2008, I believe, and it was an amazing and unforgettable experience (I wasn't showing anyone, just a spectator). There will definitely be a lot of dogs in the ring... and in the ring right next to it, and across from it, and walking around, and in cages everywhere, etc! I'm sure he'll be fabulous!
 

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Sounds like he already has won! :cheer2:-- im not into shows myself, but he sounds like he will make the best of it. Have fun with it, go with the flow and (i know i dont have to say this-- but) love him either way it goes!!
 

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Thanks for the well wishes and luck all!!!!

We are down to about 24 hours. I was going to sleep in this morning as tomorrow could be a long long day. I made it to almost 6 am.
 

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Best of luck!

Our boy is also down there waiting for Sunday.
He's with our good friend and breeder.

As we speak,
we're stuck in Washington D.C. at a boring trade show,
so many miles away from all the excitement.
We'll have to wait impatiently by the cel phone
to hear word of the results.

Again, I wish you (and us!) the very best of luck!!!
 
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