Best in Breed
Have you ever seen a dog show? If not, here is how they work:
People assume that the overall winner, "Best in Show", is what it's all about. Not necessarily. Many owners are quite happy with "Best in Breed" because that is what matters in breeding decisions and because, quite frankly, most owners of, say, Afghans feel that Afghans are the only dogs worth mentioning. Fans cheer on the breed they've owned and lose interest when that one is eliminated. Korzoi owners may not be able to cite the last ten Westminster Kennel Club "Best in Shows" unless one of them is a Korzoi. Best in Group is merely a ticket to the Final and the Final is gravy, affecting only a few dogs. In a sense, everything after "Best in Breed" is an apples-versus-oranges comparison.
Here is a list of the seven groups, along with their number of Westminster "Best in Shows":
Terrier Group: 45
Sporting Group: 19
Working Group: 15
Non-Sporting Group: 10
Toy Group: 9
Hound Group: 5
Herding Group: 1
The Herding Group's Old English Sheepdogs, Corgis and Australian or German Shepherds fare much better in casting calls than in Westminster. Again, this shows how "Best in Breed" can matter more than "Best in Show" (setting aside the fact that you must win the former to qualify for the latter). Still, fans of that group might wonder what's going on with the judging.
Poetry operates similarly, except that the reader defines the breeds. The lines can be drawn along thematic, genre or formal lines.
"Oh, a poem about peaches. I love peaches! Great poem!"
"That was so profound! I love it!"
"Never found a sonnet I didn't like."
|Earl the Squirrel's Rule #41|
|Earl the Squirrel's Rule #60|
Imagine if dog shows did not allow the appearance of three or four entire groups. What kind of sampling, showcase, or competition would that be?