Free Stacking?
by Dorothy Kendall, Orlane Lhasa Apsos

What’s the big deal about whether or not to free stack your dog in the show ring … isn’t this about choosing the best breeding stock at the shows? Yes, it is a dog “show” and we want our dogs to look good, but why carry this into realms of the absurd?

I like to see dogs sparring, but it’s difficult to get Salukis to spar, right? How about Bulldogs? Now Terriers do this without thinking, and look great doing it … that’s a good thing. Even some Toys will spar, or look at each other with animation … but Afghans look good in a stack or moving, but they don’t spar – or free stack!

Let’s judge dogs on an individual basis – Shelties are free stacked, and look good when standing waiting for the bait. However, let’s not feed the dog in the ring, but use the bait to get their attention! If a judge can only make a decision based on which dog stands still the longest, why are we working so hard to breed better animals? Does this mean that the whole lineup is so good (or so bad) that this might be the only deciding factor? Cut me a break!

I love to watch dogs being shown naturally – standing on their own, not being propped up, held together, and pushed and pulled into some unnatural pose. As I get older, it’s also easier to stand with my dogs, instead of kneeling – but you have to have a pretty good dog to do this! I guess that’s the idea of showing, though – taking in a dog that looks good without a lot of extra handling. So stop worrying about free stacking – unless of course, you plan to win the group at the Garden!