Summary:In Showing Kunga, author Alxe Noden tells the story of how she went from being a pet owner with no interest in showing dogs to what she describes as a “dog show junkie.” This is no sugar coated story, but rather is a revealing and often humorous exploration of showing dogs, warts and all, by an author with no axe to grind and with nothing to sell other than a very entertaining and educational story.
Winner of the DWAA Maxwell Award for 2013, Best Paperback Book
Enter the show ring fully informed
With the exception of those who are already involved in the world of dog shows, few people know much about showing dogs and what it takes to develop a champion. Even if you take the time to read a “how-to-show your dog” book, you will likely only learn half of what you really need to know. In Showing Kunga, author Alxe Noden tells the story of how she went from being a pet owner with no interest in showing dogs to what she describes as a “dog show junkie.” This is no sugar coated story, but rather is a revealing and often humorous exploration of showing dogs, warts and all, by an author with no axe to grind and with nothing to sell other than a very entertaining and educational story. You are guaranteed to fall in love with Kunga, her fun loving and lively blue Great Dane.
Learn all about:
• Where you can go to find out if your purebred has the potential to be a show dog and get advice on learning show ring basics.
• What you need to know and should expect from the breeder who sells you a purebred show dog.
• What it’s like to compete against professional handlers and the pros and cons of hiring one to show your dog.
• Whether or not anyone really makes money showing or breeding dogs, or are they just in it for the prestige and bragging rights.
• How to discover any biases or preferences on the part of judges that might impact how they will evaluate your dog.
What experts are saying about Showing Kunga: Showing Kunga by Alxe Noden is a book that needs to be read by those in the dog show fancy, pet owners, and those interested in possibly showing their first dog. Alxe only intended to purchase a pet Great Dane that was healthy and had a good temperament. Buy this book and relive some of the challenges you have had and remember your mentors—and then return to the sport your support of the newcomer. It is about mentoring. Read about Kunga and Alxe and their journey from pet owner to dog show junkie and enjoy. Ed Gilbert, AKC judge and author of K-9 Structure and Terminology
At last! A completely honest and exposed view into the exhilarating, crazy, and often baffling world of conformation dog showing. As a newcomer to the sport, Alxe learns (often the hard way) about the competitiveness, the etiquette, and the unwritten rules of the ring, and shares her experiences and faux pas so that her readers may have a “leg up” on her competition. With seemingly no subject off-limits the reader follows Alxe on her journey from a novice pet owner to championed show handler. Conformation showing motivates us to train and gives us an activity to do with our dog. However in the end, a ribbon is worth 39-cents, but the shared experiences with our dogs are priceless. Kyra Sundance, World-renowned trainer, bestselling author of 6 books including 101 Dog Tricks and host of an award winning DVD series.
Alxe Noden is a writer, photographer, and filmmaker and is chief dog feeder and janitor at home. She
lives in Boulder, Colorado, with her husband and her dogs.
A quasi-instructional, entertaining memoir that reads like a novel with a beginning, a middle and an end, Showing Kunga (‘joyful one’ in Tibetan) is a book I simply couldn’t put down. It kept me up at night until I finished it: I bet Alxe Noden could even make a cookbook interesting!
Noden inadvertently stumbled into canine conformation and relates what to do as well as what she did (what not to do!) without being preachy, didactic or talking down to the reader. Good pre-puppy research resulted in a well-bred healthy dog of good, sound temperament who became a champion.
Part of Noden’s success in dog shows lies in her positive, friendly personality: one learns from observing and talking with other handlers. “Slowly the fabric of friendships and obligations is woven, and the newbie becomes part of the cloth of the show world.” (p. 96)
Sprinkled with a generous spattering of humor, Kunga enlightens the reader on the history of dog shows, the fairly expensive expenses of dog-showing and the highly expensive expenses of the serious enthusiast.
Often amusing, Noden’s cheerful persona shines through, making us want her for a friend. Upbeat yet realistic, she writes of learning how to show dogs (in her case, a blue, natural-eared Great Dane male) by asking members of her dog club, being open to suggestions, watching others carefully and making most of her mistakes in handling classes rather than in the show ring (although she tells of her share of those, too).
Chapters feature her first show (and her first show mistakes); the art of losing well; the costs of being a reputable breeder; the world of professional handlers and judges, the politics and unwritten etiquette of dog shows; and, finally, winning!
This is definitely a winning book for dog show novices to refer to over and over again, for old-timers who want to relive their experiences, for anyone with an interest in showing, breeding or judging dogs (Great Danes or not), or just enjoying Westminster.
Noden has penned an excellent instructional manual that reads like a story so you don’t realize how much you are learning. However, I would have turned often to a glossary of terms defined in the text (it would be short but handy) - the differences between a backyard breeder and a reputable breeder, the triple crown of dog shows, a limited registration, for starters. In addition, some of the cost figures the author cites are from way back in 2004 (and then, an incomplete citation). (We assume the majority of costs shared with us are more recent.) On the other hand, she writes for all breeds by giving website addresses, e.g., for the AKC where one can find any breed’s information.
All in all, a book I loved reading! I hope Noden writes many more – perhaps a mystery series about a reward-based dog trainer?
Bonuses: The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Show Dogs and the appendix, Finding a Good Breeder, which needs the widest of all possible exposures.