Dog shows are a great place to learn

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 12, 2010

This past weekend, Kate and I attended a dog show at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Ky.

With pastures full of stunning horses as the backdrop, we enjoyed watching handlers from all over the world show off their purebred pooches.

Dog shows are not just for people dressed in their Sunday best trotting around a ring leading a dog.

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They are for families, dog lovers and anyone interested in learning more about man’s best friend.

Most shows are not like the ones you see on TV. Many are outside and have several show rings marked off so that several shows can be taking place at the same time.

Bring your lounge chair and there will be plenty of room to sit around the show area. When you arrive you can purchase a show schedule that will show you what breeds and groups will compete at what times.

As dogs are shown they compete to earn points to earn the title of champion. Once they become a champion they become what is called “Finished.”

But you don’t have to worry about learning the lingo or the point system to have a good time.

If you are in the market for a purebred dog, there is no better place to learn about your favorite breed than a dog show. Watch your breed’s show and take note on how that breed is supposed to look.

Knowing what a breed is supposed to look like will help you in your search.

For example, if you are looking for an Italian Greyhound, watch how they walk, how they hold their tail, and observe their over-all look.

If you are wanting a purebred, a dog show will show you how they should look.

There are so many bad breeders out there and a dog show will educate you on what quality dogs look like.

Of course, I am not discouraging rescuing or adopting a dog.

I am just saying don’t pay big bucks for a badly bred dog that is going to give you years of health and behavioral problems.

So many breeders tell you that their puppies’ parents are champions, then you look at the parents and they are bow-legged, have an overbite, and are going blind at the age of 4.

Dog shows are a good place to network and find a good breeder. Breeders you find at a dog show will be quality and offer good puppies with good health guarantees.

Good breeders only breed a couple of times a year, so you may have to wait for a good puppy.

To find a dog show near you, search upcoming events on the American Kennel Club’s website at

So pack up the family in the min-van and head out and enjoy a dog show. Remember, every dog deserves to be treated like a show dog.

Tony Barker, The BARKer Shop