By Gibson Akers, Linn-Mar senior
In Iowa, many of us are familiar with the occasional cattle and swine shows that happen across the state.
Many, however, have little knowledge to what a dog show is. We’ve all seen Westminster on TV, but you do not grasp the excitement and hard work that goes into these shows.
A couple of weekends ago I traveled to Dewitt to attend the Clinton Kennel Club Inc. annual dog show. When I first arrived there was a flurry of excitement in the air, along with the smell of dog shampoo. There was mixture of dogs, ranging from Chihuahuas, to Golden Retrievers, to Saint Bernards and any breed in-between that is recognized by the American Kennel Club.
I quickly learned the basics of how a dog show works.
The dogs are broken down into breed group and then by the type of breed. Then, depending on the show, the dog must perform different tasks. You can find more detailed information at www.akc.org/events/conformation/beginners.cfm
The best part of the show is watching the progress of a dog. The day begins early with owners and handlers setting up their grooming stations and kennels. Before the dog goes into the ring, handlers groom and comb their dogs. This can take a few minutes to an hour, all depending on the type of breed and temper of the dog. The dog and handler head to the ring to check in and wait for the judge to enter. The dog and handler then will run through different abilities.
When you go to a dog show, you quickly learn the owners and handlers are very friendly. Don’t be afraid to spark a conversation with them because they are willing to tell you all about their dogs and about the breed. Also if you are interested in getting a dog, dog shows are the best place to check out different breeds. It is also an easy place to become connected with a good breeder.
If you are a dog lover, want a dog or just want something to do, head over to the nearest dog show. You can find a list of dog shows in Iowa at http://www.infodog.com/panels/ia.htm.You won’t be disappointed.