Clinton dog misses the cut at national championship

Laurie Thompson and Tucker: “He showed wonderfully. I couldn’t ask for anything better.” - Roy Jacobson / The Recor
Laurie Thompson and Tucker: “He showed wonderfully. I couldn’t ask for anything better.”
— image credit: Roy Jacobson / The Recor

It was a long way to go for rejection, but Tucker’s not bothered, so long as he can wag his tail.

Clinton’s celebrity canine didn’t make the cut in a prestigious California dog show last weekend, but he still enjoyed himself, said his owner-handler, Laurie Thompson.

“It was all or nothing,” Thompson said. “Only one dog moved on. We were in very good company in the losers circle.”

Tucker, aka CH. (champion) Whidbeys Moonlight Frost RN, offspring of Ch. Kaitan’s Without Remorse by Creekwood All That Jazz, is a 4-year-old Australian shepherd.

He’s a true thoroughbred, a many-times champion of his breed and the ninth-ranked Australian shepherd in the United States.

In a remarkably short span, Tucker hit the Big Time: an invitation to the American Kennel Club/Eukanuba National Championship in Long Beach, the largest-prize-money dog show in the world.

Show dogs from all over competed in seven categories for $225,000 in prize money, $50,000 to the ultimate winner, the “Best in Show.”

The show will be aired on the Discovery Channel on Jan. 31.

This year’s overall winner was a pointer in the sporting category, the current Number 1 ranked show dog in the world, Thompson said.

Tucker went against 27 other Australian shepherds for the chance to move on to represent the herding group in the final judging.

“It was confusing with so many dogs in the ring at one time,” Thompson said. “It’s a tough job for the judge.”

“Tucker showed wonderfully,” she added. “I couldn’t ask for anything better.”

She said Tucker was called out once for a second look, but didn’t make it into the top five in his group. The group winner was an Australian shepherd named Rowan, from Youngsville, La.

It’s a small dog world. Rowan is related to Thompson’s other show shepherd, Breeze, which has just begun her show biz career.

“None of the top 25 dogs made it into the top five,” Thompson said. “They were all dogs we hadn’t expected. I guess it depends on the judge.”

Tucker got his 15 minutes of fame, however. He was filmed by a television crew before the judging started, and he and Thompson were first into the ring, where they were alone for several minutes until the other shepherds joined them.

“They got a good look at Tuck,” Thompson said. “He was doing tricks and everything. It was pretty funny.”

They didn’t win, but they had a good time, she said.

“It was very exciting,” she said. “There were blue carpets, Christmas trees, poinsettias, everybody dressed to the nines, and the weather was 84 degrees and sunny.”

Thompson and a friend drove Tucker to California. On the way back, they ran into an ice storm in Oregon, and didn’t get home until Tuesday. It took 10 hours to get from Eugene, Ore. to Tacoma, Thompson said.

“Next year I think I’ll fly,” she said.

Yes, Tucker will be back next year. But first, he’ll take a well-deserved break, then travel to the famous Westminster Kennel Club dog show in New York in February.

“We had a fun time,” Thompson said of the Eukanuba National Championship. “It was really something to see. Quite a show.”

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