I have to admit that I have mixed feelings about posting this. Don't get me wrong -- I feel honored to have received this invitation. I think it does recognize all the hard work and effort Jackson and I have put into training and trialing, as well as the unique challenges some of us face when we choose to train dogs that are not of the traditional obedience breeds.
For those who may not know how invitations are decided, AKC invites the top 25 obedience dogs in the country based on number of OTCH points earned in the reporting year. In addition to these 25, the top three dogs (according to their OTCH points) in each breed are invited. A third way to get invited is through regional qualifying events.
Some breeds have no qualifying dogs; some i.e., herding and sporting group breeds have lots; and some breeds i.e., Great Danes, have very few competing at that level so their chances of getting invited are much less competitive - although they do need to have earned OTCH points to be on the list.
I guess the thing that seems incongruent to me is - the goal of the NOI is to have dogs compete for the title of National Obedience Champion (NOC), which to me means the best obedience dog in the country - at least on that given weekend - but they also invite dogs such as Jackson, who are nowhere near the same level as the top obedience dogs are. Perhaps AKC is just trying to encourage wider participation in obedience and are recognizing the accomplishments of nontraditional obedience dogs - and if they are - that's okay. I am proud and honored that we have been invited, even though it seems a little weird : )
Just thinking out loud.
If you have thoughts on the NOI, I'd love to hear them!