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Dog Shows Should Adopt 'American Idol' Format: Here's How 'Top Dog' Would Work

Add some competitions to the contests

Jim Shea

Too Shea

March 3, 2012

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I was watching "American Idol" the other night when I started thinking about the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

I watch Westminster every year, mainly because my dog's a big fan. He likes to pant over the female entrants. What can I say? He's more horndog than purebred.

I don't understand how dog shows work.

The dogs come out all groomed to the hilt and poofy, and then trot around this large ring with their handlers while everyone claps. For what?

Then the judge goes over and individually examines each dog. At some point during this inspection, he forces open the dog's mouth to, apparently, check his breath. This always reminds me coming home on a Saturday night when I was in high school.

When all the judging is done, the judge picks a winner, which, as far as I can tell is often based on how closely the dog resembles a mop.

It all seems so shallow. I mean, it's kind of like a beauty pageant without anyone pledging to work for world peace.

What Westminster needs to do is add a talent component to the competition, and the best way to do this in my view is by adopting the "American Idol" format.

In general terms, "Top Dog" would work like this:

The competition would be open to any dog in the United States, regardless of parentage, so long as the dog has had all his shots and doesn't bite.

The parading around the ring and breath checking would be done away with in favor of an ongoing competition, which would feature such challenges as sitting, fetching, playing dead, and balancing a treat on your nose.

Dogs would lose points for barking, fighting and, especially, licking themselves.

After the field is whittled down, the dogs would meet the celebrity panel of judges. I don't know who exactly would be on the panel but the members would have the star-power of, say, Benji, Eddie (from Frasier), Beethoven, or maybe even Spuds MacKenzie.

The show would also have a human announcer: I'm thinking Donald Trump here.

Eventually, the surviving competitors would go through all the standard "American Idol" steps — Hollywood, mentors, groups, audience voting, etc. — until the "Top Dog" is crowned.

The winner would be guaranteed a dog food contract.