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The Underdogs of Westminster

Three owner-handlers recount their experiences at the most prestigious dog show in the country.

Three owner-handlers recount their experiences at the most prestigious dog show in the country.

To the dog-show newbie, it can be difficult to tell an Afghan Hound from a Saluki, or a Puli from a Komondor.

And perhaps even less obvious are the different categories of humans at the other end of the leash, arguably the noblest of which is the owner-handler. Unlike professional handlers, who are paid to condition, train, and exhibit their clients’ dogs, owner-handlers show the dogs who crowd their couches and command their hearts. Most have no financial incentive when they walk inside a show ring — just the desire to present their own dog to his best advantage, and maybe win some ribbons in the process.

Want to read the full story? Pick up the February 2009 issue of DOG FANCY today, or subscribe to get 12 months of articles just like this.

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Dogs · Lifestyle