The Specialty!

The main event of our trip to Calgary (via Chilliwack and the DeMille’s Farm Market) was the Alberta Kennel Club (AKC) All-Breed Dog Show and the Canadian Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever National Specialty, which included conformation, obedience, and working certificate testing (in the field).

It was a long weekend.


The conformation and obedience events were held at Spruce Meadows, where they hold fancy shmancy horse competitions. It was a beautiful venue!


Our pups didn’t do anything at the AKC shows… it was difficult to keep in mind that there were Tollers there from all over Canada and the States–lots of amazing dogs!

We didn’t enter the Sweepstakes competition on the Friday of the show, but we were there to support our “family” and friends.

This is Betsy. She just turned 12. She is Sunny and Taylor’s paternal grandmother.


Betsy watched the young pups do their thing in the ring.


Then she went in and showed them all how it is really done.


(Rina watched, taking mental notes.)




And she won! Best Veteran!


Saturday we went out to watch the working certificate testing in the field (more on that later) then more conformation on Sunday, including the Specialty!



Taylor got 4th of 4 in his class. Disappointing, but the other dogs were all really nice so I wasn’t too bummed.

Little Miss Rina was 6 months old to the day on Sunday so we were able to enter her in the Specialty–her very first show, and without any handling classes! I got to go in the ring with her… I was nervous, but we were there to have fun and make sure she had a positive experience. Boy did she! She stood well for the judge (didn’t back away or try to sit), ran decently around the ring, and had moments of cute puppy-ness, as she should. She ended up getting 4th place out of 6–she beat two other pups! Plus many people made comments later in the day about how nice she was. :)

Then it was time for the Specials (the dogs that already have their championship titles). Sunny’s turn!


There were LOTS of specials. The judge broke them up into two groups there were so many.


Sunny didn’t win, but he still looked good. :)

There are a bunch of “special” classes/competitions with a Specialty show, plus some additional acknowledgement things they do. For example, they had a “Parade of Veterans” and a “Parade of Title Holders.”

This is Eddie and Merlot. Eddie and his owner, John, are an amazing obedience team. They got 199 out of a possible 200 points on Saturday! Crazy awesome. Merlot is Sunny and Taylor’s sire.


And there’s Sunny! Mom tried to put the ribbon on Sunny’s collar but he thought it was something trying to get him. Silly boy.


Taylor had to stay in the crate during the parades. He has such a great pathetic look when he wants to.


Some of the “special” classes at the Specialty include the Gun Dog class (dogs with hunting titles), Brace (where you take in two dogs of the same line and they’re supposed to look alike), Best Sire (the sire is judged based on 2+ of his offspring), Best Dam (the mom is judged based on 2+ of her offspring), and the Three Generational class (the dog is judge based off of their offspring and their offspring’s offspring).

Piper, Sunny and Taylor’s mom, went in for the Best Dam class. We took in Sunny and Taylor plus there were two pups from her second litter. There were 3 or 4 other “families” in the ring… a lot of dogs! But Piper won! It was really exciting… I think we all yelled, screamed, and teared up. We are good friends with Piper’s owners so it was very special for us to be a part of her getting such a great honor.

Betsy went in with Merlot (her son) and Sunny (Merlot’s son) for the Three Generational class, too, and won!

So even though our troop (Sunny, Taylor, and Rina) didn’t come home with any points or fancy awards, it was still a very successful and rewarding event for us and our Toller “family.”

Their reward for being so good all weekend:


The Dog Spa! They put these signs on this random fountain… so we took advantage. (It was really warm all weekend. I got fried.)





Good pups.