With a list of awards and dog show honors for her prize standard schnauzer, Oakdale resident Kim Studley has high hopes for BIS GCH Blackhawk Finnegan’s Wake, also known by the pet name “Fin.”
Next month Fin will be competing in the renowned Eukanuba Dog Show in Orlando, Florida followed by participating in the prestigious Westminster Dog Show in New York in January.
“The Eukanuba show is like the Super Bowl where the best are determined,” said Studley, who anticipates the “Best in Show” award for Fin. “Westminster is like the All-Star Game where the up-and-comers appear along with the old dogs coming out – those with a history of winning, the old pros.”
Fin, three years old, has been in shows since he was six months old and was “championed” at nine months old when he was competing against other dogs that were much older. When he was 18 months old he made his first appearance at the Eukanuba Dog Show and received the “Award of Merit.”
“He was very special at an early age,” said Studley. “He’s also pretty. Fin is like that big dumb cute jock all the girls loved in school.”
For the AKC (American Kennel Club) shows, dogs first compete in their classes, then among dogs of their same breed. The “Best of Breed” then competes in one of seven formal groups of dogs: sporting, hound, working, terrier, toy, non-sporting and herding. For Fin and other standard schnauzers, it’s the working group.
The dog group winners compete in the final round for “Best in Show.” The goal is flawlessness. Everything from gait, coloring, shape and fur must be as close to perfect as achievable.
Studley uses Jody Paquette of Indiana as Fin’s handler, a person she sought out when Studley heard she was available.
“She’s very professional with schnauzers,” said Studley. “Fin went out and started winning right away with her including a ‘Best of Group.’ It’s just unheard of to have a standard (schnauzer) do that.”
Studley is proud of Fin’s accomplishments. She said this year Fin is the number two standard schnauzer in the country with his points from the shows and is one of the top 100 dogs of all breeds.
In September of this year, Fin captured best in show in the Santa Barbara event hosted by the Santa Barbara Kennel Club.
“Some people show dogs their whole lives and never get a ‘Best in Show,’” said Studley. “For me, I’ve been lucky. Just dumb luck, but lucky.”
Studley believes that standard schnauzers are not for every family as pets. They require lots of exercise and human interaction.
“They’re not a dog to just keep in your backyard,” Studley said. “They like to be challenged. They’re great for obedience training.”
Studley recommends AKC dog showing as a great activity, especially for youth. She said it teaches care for pets, training, competitive sportsmanship and is outdoors.
“For me, it’s been a great deal of fun,” said Studley. “I’ve met lots of people.”