Among the 32 Staffordshire bull terriers to strut and trot across the stage at the 14th annual AKC/Eukanuba National Championship this weekend will be one local pup.
Grand Champion Massie’s Dancing on the Clouds, otherwise known as Ginger, will take the stage in Orlando. The 3-year-old dog belongs to Janet Massie and her husband, Dwayne, owners of Massie Staffys, a breeding business in Monroe.
According to Massie, high-ranking exhibitors at the national championship can expect a cash award: the best in show winner receives $50,000 while those deemed as “best bred-by” exhibitor will receive $15,000.
“My expectations is that I really want her to win ‘best bred-by by’ breed, but if I get a placement I’d be all over myself,” Janet said.
Staffordshire bull terriers originated in England and weigh around 30 to 40 pounds. In that country, they have obtained the nickname of “nanny dogs” because of their affectionate nature and their love for children, Janet said.
For Janet, Staffordshires are a perfect size: not too big and not too small. Sturdy and fun-loving, “they’re considered a Velcro dog — they want to be with their humans.”
At the national championship, judges will assess multiple physical aspects of the dog.
Staffordshire bull terriers should be “stacked” correctly, referring to the posing of the dog with all four feet squared on the ground. Judges will look at the dog’s “bite” or the alignment of the dog’s teeth. The tail should look like an old-fashioned pump handle, Janet said.
Dogs also will be judged on their movement.
Staffordshire bull terriers should have a “top line,” or the area of the body running from the shoulder blades to the dog’s rump, that is level and does not bounce when the dog walks. Top Staffordshire bull terriers should “freestack,” or stop squarely with all four feet in proper position.
“It should be a smooth, effortless coordination of the dog’s body,” Janet said. “If she’s out in the field hunting, she can carry this gait for a very long time and not be tired.”
Ginger will be shown in three competitions: best of breed, owner-handler and junior showmanship.
“I think it will be pretty cool to be on TV,” said Janet’s daughter Lacy, who will present Ginger in the junior showmanship competition.
Lacy is an honor roll student at Monelison Middle School. In preparation for her trip to Orlando, Lacy has been practicing with Ginger in her yard with guidance from the family’s dog handler, Blair Aguillard.
“She’s really playful and happy, and she just loves to be cared for,” Lacy said, speaking of Ginger.
Aguillard began showing dogs at the age of six; at the age of 23, she’s considered one of the top Staffordshire handlers in the United States, Janet said.
“She’s a remarkable young lady and she knows how to show a dog. She’s awesome.”
Janet is rightfully proud of her dog.
Ginger is the product of careful breeding and “just turned out to be a really phenomenal puppy,” Janet said.
“We knew we had something special. She’s really a great specimen of the breed for a female.”
A livestream of the AKC/Eukanuba National Championships can be viewed at www.live.eukanuba.com at 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.