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Understanding The Green Star System

My brief for this article is to explain to the uninitiated how a dog can achieve the title and honour of becoming Irish Annual Champion for its breed and how this differs from the title of full Irish champion. (As an example, I will use one of my own breeds, the Pembroke). Hopefully this explanation will be easier to understand than a declaration from the European Parliament.

Irish Champion
In Ireland a dog can only be awarded the title of Irish Champion if it wins a total of not less than forty Green Stars points provided one of the following conditions are included in the required total;

a) Four different wins of five points or more in the breed under four different judges.

b) Two wins of five points or more together with one win of ten points in the breed under three different judges.

c) Three wins of five points or more in the breed together with one group win under four different judges.

Two of the Green Stars must be won after the age of twelve months.

It is worth noting here that Bearded Collies along with the other Collies, Corgis, Pyreneans etc are classified as belonging to a seventh group, the Pastoral Group (the Working Group was split in two a some years ago as it was becoming too large).

Green Star
And what is a Green Star I hear you ask? A Green Star (GS) is a certificate won at an Irish Championship Show; each Green Star carries a number of points, commensurate with the Green Star Index, ranging from one to ten, which are determined by the number of eligible registered dogs and/or bitches actually exhibited in the breed classes. In lay man's terms that means that a Green Star is worth between one and ten points depending on how many dogs were actually exhibited on the day.

This year the IKC have decided that if six Corgi dogs are exhibited, then the Green Star for Corgi dogs will be worth five points (this is known as a "major" and a dog needs at least four majors to become a champion - see above). On the other hand, because there tends to always be more bitches exhibited at shows here, then at the same show there has to be six bitches exhibited for the bitch Green Star to be worth five points. (If only two bitches are exhibited then the GS value drops to one.) If eight bitches are exhibited on the day then the value of the bitch Green Star increases to six points; if seven dogs are exhibited then the value of the Green Star increases to six points. The value of the Green Stars keeps increasing in relation to the number of bitches and dogs exhibited until a maximum of ten Green Star points is reached - thus twelve bitches and above present on the day always give a Green Star value of ten points. Even the St Patrick's Day Show which may draw an entry of twenty odd bitches is still only worth a maximum ten Green Star points.

I know that a lot of English exhibiters will be reading this article and saying to themselves "Gosh it must be dead easy to make up an Irish champion ...only five dogs present to make a major GS and we show in classes of thirty dogs over here. I must nip over to Ireland a few times." But due to the geographical position of some of the Championship Shows in Ireland it is often hard to obtain the necessary "majors" that you require - as many English exhibitors will testify it takes a lot more than the minimum four shows to make up an Irish champion. The Irish system also allows for a little sting in it's tail - if Corgi exhibitors suspect that an exhibitor is a ....cert' to take the GS then they don¹t enter under that judge and thus they deprive the dog or bitch of the precious points to make a major; in this way exhibitors can put an end to corrupt judging as the Show committees in theory should stop offering judging appointments to judges who get low entries.

Best in Breed
Are you still with me! Good. Now we come to calculate the value of a Best in Breed win. The BOB always takes the higher number of Green Star points on offer in the breed on that particular day. For example, lets pretend that on a particular day the dog GS was worth only two points with the bitch GS worth eight points; if the dog goes BOB his GS value increases from two to eight points (the bitch still keeps her eight points despite being beaten for BOB). If on the other hand the bitch goes BOB the the GS points remain as they were with the bitch keeping her eight points and the dog remaining on just two. This system allows for the occasions when for example, a dog is having a' of good wins and the other exhibitors decide that they are not going to enter their dog just to "get it beaten" (sic) and so the GS points are low on the day; by winning BOB the dog can pick up more points on the day.

Likewise if a Corgi wins the Pastoral Group then it takes the highest number of points awarded to any dog competing in the same group for example, the BOB Corgi can enter the group with only six GS points but when it wins the group its points value increases to ten as it beat a Sheltie with a GS win of ten points. As pointed out above a dog may only use one Group win towards the title of Irish champion but all groups wins during a year can be used in the race for the title, Annual Champion.

Annual Champion
The title of Annual Champion is awarded annually in each breed to the dog or bitch which has won the greatest number of Green Star points in its breed with a minimum of thirty, to be won under not less than three different judges. This paradoxically means that it it is possible for a dog or bitch to be annual Champion in the breed yet not have achieved the title of Irish Champion; this sometimes occurs in numerically small breeds where dogs can win many Green Stars during a year, all worth less than five points. To over come this problem, a dog winning two consecutive Annual championships is awarded the title of Irish Champion.

Each dog or bitch winning an annual championship is entitled to put "19--" after its registered name. Therefore when you are studying a catalogue at an Irish Championship show and you notice that a dog has (AN 94) after its name then you know that it was the top winning dog in its breed under Irish Kennel Club rules in 1994.

Visit Ireland
I hope this article has helped the reader to understand the Irish championship system; I sincerely hope I have not put anyone off coming to Ireland to show their dogs. I can assure you that anyone coming to Ireland will be receive a warm reception and, as anyone who has exhibited over here will tell you, our shows are relaxed, enjoyable and most importantly, FUN.

Dogs - This article has been reproduced courtesy of Marleen Collins

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