Joining nearly 2,000 entries from two dozen states and Canada, local dog breeders and handlers enjoyed a weekend at the Seattle Kennel Club Dog Shows.
Norwegian Buhunds from Sammamish and Boxers and Mastiffs from Issaquah were just three of the 152 breeds meeting inside the Qwest Field Event Center in Seattle last Saturday.
Issaquah resident Margi Hamilton’s smooth coat Chihuahua, Cassis, finished highest of the 25 local dogs entered on Saturday, judged Best in Toy Group and entered into the final Best in Show competition. The eventual Best in Show winner was Keegan, a Irish Water Spaniel owned by Woodinville’s Stacy Duncan.
Returning from Westminster Dog Show in New York, Sammamish resident Vali Eberhardt also brought four Norwegian Buhunds to the show, including Best in Breed winner Sophie.
“It’s a full-time hobby,” she said.
The Buhund, a type of herding dog, was finally sanctioned by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 2009 as an official breed allowing Eberhardt to enter them into competition. Another Buhund, Kaare, won Best in Breed.
Meanwhile, Issaquah’s Pam Clayton was showing her Pekingese, Bee-Bee. Clayton’s involvement with Pekingese show-dogs runs deep in her family, with five generations involved in either breeding or showing dogs.
“It’s fun,” she said. “It kept my daughter out of trouble.”
She also helps run the Evergreen State Pekingese Club, which maintained a booth at the show.
Standing in the center of the exhibition ring, show judge Darryl Vice, visiting from Palm Springs, Calif., said the judging was based on standards put out by the AKC.
“I’m looking for which dog fits that standard the closest,” he said. “That tells us head shape, body shapes, the way they should move, coat texture type, that sort of thing.”
Bee-Bee was one of 16 in her breed entered in the show and won first prize in the Bitches Bred by Exhibitors category.
Competitors vied for the title of Best in Show in one of the largest “confirmation” dog shows in the country, awarding prizes for dogs that best fit the AKC standards.
Inside the ring, each competitor is judged on breed standards, gait, physique and temperament over a two minute span. Judges direct the ritual of posing, prodding and a final trotting in a circle before awarding places in the breed. Winners of the breed advance to one of seven groups, and the final seven group champions then compete for Best in Show.
The Seattle Dog Show is also only one of four shows nationally that also offers prizes based on physical performance in the Agility, Obedience and Rally competitions. The format of the dog show is to hold two shows in one weekend, with the potential for different winners each day.