Friday, January 31, 2014

Best In Show: Attending the 114th Golden Gate Kennel Club's All-Breed Dog Show

The 114th Golden Gate Kennel Club All-Breed Dog Show
Photo: Chronica Domus


This past Sunday, as is the case most years on the last weekend in January, I had the pleasure of attending a very fun show.  That is to say, a very fun show for anyone who enjoys being surrounded by well behaved dogs, in tip-top physical condition, in all their varied shapes, colors and sizes.  Yes, the time had once again arrived to make the short trip by car to attend one of the two well loved Golden Gate Kennel Club all-breed dog shows, the highlight of my January social calendar.

The Cow Palace exhibition arena is the annual venue for the two shows that are staged back-to-back to a delighted crowd of dog lovers who attend the shows to not only see the dogs being judged in the ring, but to also meet the diverse entrants in the exhibition halls surrounding the main arena.  This particular show, organized under the auspices of the American Kennel Club, is known as a "benched" show, meaning it gives spectators the opportunity to meet the dogs when not being shown in competition.  It is one of the very few shows of its kind in the country; the Westminster Kennel Club show, held at New York's Madison Square Garden, being perhaps the most well known example of this type of dog show.

 Golden Retrievers in competition for Best of Breed
Photo: Chronica Domus


One can wander about the various benches to gain a better understanding of the breeds, meet the exhibitors and handlers, see the dogs being groomed to showy perfection, and even pet a dog or two, with permission.  The breeders are more than willing to share their dogs with an admiring public, and also share valuable information on their specialty breed with potential future dog owners and admirers alike.


 
Benched Irish Setters patiently await their admiring public
Photo: Chronica Domus

At this year's shows, a dizzying array of 138 AKC recognized breeds were represented, amounting to a total of 1347 entrants, all vying for the coveted title of Best In Show.  With so many dogs under one roof, one would imagine having to be subjected to a cacophonous din of yelping, barking and whatever other sounds emanate from the mouths of dogs.  Incredibly, I can report, not a peep was to be heard from any of these supremely behaved pooches.

  A Standard Poodle fresh from the doggie salon
Photo: Chronica Domus


 
 One of the grooming stations ready for action
Photo: Chronica Domus


 I couldn't quite tell if this adorable bedraggled Puli Dog had already visited the grooming station or not
Photo: Chronica Domus


 A view of three patient dogs being groomed
Photo: Chronica Domus

 Alongside the main arena, where dogs are judged for breed and group, other competitions are taking place in the lesser rings and in the exhibition halls.  These determine the best Junior Handler (always astonishing to watch the young handlers navigate their way around the ring with the utmost confidence and professionalism), Obedience Trial champs and Utility winners.  These particular exercises test the competitor's ability to complete a specific set of commands in a timely and structured fashion.  Watching these competent canines perform like well-oiled machines is always so thought provoking, and I find myself daydreaming that perhaps one day my dear old uncoordinated Mavro will be successful in retrieving a mere stick on command.  Sigh!

 The Working Group compete for Best of Group
Photo: Chronica Domus


 
Champion of the Working Group, Akita Redwich Adrenaline Junkie 
Photo: Chronica Domus


  
A trio of Pugs waiting for their turn in the ring
Photo: Chronica Domus


 
At last... now it's my turn!
Photo: Chronica Domus


Dogs surely have earned the title of man's best friend for good reason, and if you are considering the addition of a companion animal to your life, and are clueless as to where to begin the process of narrowing down your breed and temperament choices, attending a well-organized benched show will steer you in the right direction.  I would also highly recommend visiting animal shelters and contacting breed-specific rescue groups that offer wonderful animals waiting to be matched to their next loving owners.  I have adopted a number of dogs from these groups over the years and have always been rewarded with oodles of love, cuddles and loyalty from my fury companions.

Tell me, do you own a dog or have you considered adding one to your household?


3 comments:

  1. Hello Imogene Rollison, and welcome to the blog.

    Yes, that mop of a dog is a Puli. They look to be a nightmare to groom (does one groom them I wonder?).

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  2. Such a pity that so much dog politics can get in the way of 'pure' dog appreciation! All this info sounds a little familiar to some of what I have read about Schipperkes and the national shows that occur here. Both my dogs are tail-less, (not born that way!) because of the 'standard', I asked if my first dog, just a couple of weeks old then, if they would leave her tail insitu, but apparently they took it on day 3 of her life. Such a shame! Now of course this is illegal and Schipperkes are allowed to keep their tails, and such cute little tails they are! The Border Collie is such a gracious and stunning looking animal. Great post!!! Looking for large dog breeds for families Wondering what large dog breeds are good with kids or would be good for apartments Find out here A complete list of large dog breeds

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