Pulling into the parking lot of the Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg, Pa., on Nov. 18, 2006, for the Kennel Club of Philadelphia’s annual dog show, it was clear this was not an event for amateur spectators. Not with the RVs parked all over the lot, and crates and makeshift pens dotting the landscape. These folks meant business.
After getting my schedule and map, I walked into an exposition hall full of furry and some even not-so-furry canines of every size and color. Then there was the barking. And I mean lots of barking. Not the kind you hear from your dog when she spots a squirrel on the bird feeder, but a jolly, fun sound, like dogs at play. These may be show dogs, but they are still looking to have fun and surely the more dogs, the more fun.
Visiting a dog show as an observer is a sport itself. With my printed schedule in hand, it was more like an Olympic challenge. No armchairs for this event. Good thing I wore my running shoes, as I had to go from show ring to show ring in search of my favorite breeds. Want to see the Chinese Cresteds show? Ring Five at 9:30. Oh, wait, that’s the same time as the Golden Retrievers in Ring Seven. Hold on, I think those rings are right next to each other! Ah, they are! Just a simple turn of the head, and I could see several breeds at once.
The agenda for the day included demonstrations of dog sports like agility, Frisbee catching, and weave pole competitions. Even celebrity author John O’Hurley and writer Carla Genender were signing their new tomes for audiences.
What fun it was to walk up and down the aisles of the benched area and see so many different breeds and chat with owners about their dogs. I find dog people are happy to chat about their charges and regardless where they place in the standings, they all seem proud.
And that was just in the show rings. (Warning: Winners of both days’ events appear below, so if you’re planning to watch Sunday’s show on Thanksgiving, you’ll want to stop reading here.)
And the winners are
It was a hometown gal who won the Best In Show on Saturday. Ch. Smash JP Win A Victory, a Toy Poodle called “Vikki” by her friends, was on the mark with her perfect stature. She pranced around the ring like she owned the place! Vikki comes to Pennsylvania by way of Japan and is just another dog on her way to that Super Bowl of Dogdom: the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in 2007.
The group winners from Saturday included a Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen from the Hound Group, a Tibetan Terrier from the Non-Sporting Group, a Bouvier des Flandres from the Herding Group; an Irish Setter from the Sporting Group, a Great Pyrenees in the Working Group, a Sealyham Terrier from the Terrier Group.
As the crowds vanished at the end of Saturday’s show, the exhibition hall looked like a ghost town: empty rings, benched aisles with empty crates, and grooming tables left to stand unused.
But I understand that it buzzed again on Sunday, when group winners included a Scottish Deerhound, Akita, Lhasa Apso, and Belgian Malinois, plus Toy Poodle Vikki, and Saturday’s winning Irish Setter and Sealyham Terrier. The terrier, Ch. Efbe’s Hidalgo at Goodspice or “Charmin,” went on to win the big prize – Best in Show – for Sunday.
To see many of the dogs who competed over the two days, including Sunday’s Group and Best in Show competitors, tune in to NBC on Thursday after the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade to see Sunday’s National Dog Show Presented by Purina.