More than 130 breeds of dogs will trot, sit and generally strut their stuff at the Norris-Penrose Event Center during the Colorado Springs Kennel Club All Breed Dog Show from Thursday through Sunday, and the public is invited, though you must leave your dogs at home.
Thousands of professional dog handlers, dog owners, vendors and entourages from all over the country will bring 1,100 dogs to compete for prizes and bragging rights.
“Not money, but the prestige of winning that event,” said Ann Roache, show chairwoman and Kennel Club vice president. “Like going best in sporting dog and group show and winning a specialty is very prestigious.”
Nineteen judges will kick things off at 8 a.m. each day. All breeds are judged to American Kennel Club standards, which can be found on-line at akc.org. Each breed winner competes in its own group for form and function, depending on what they were bred to do: toy, working, hound, nonsporting, sporting, terriers and herding. Toys, for example, were bred to be companion dogs, and hounds were bred to chase game. The first-place winner in each group will compete for best in show each day of the event.
Dog lovers can make note of when their favorite breed is competing by going to the website and clicking on premium information under the 2019 schedule. Roache recommends bringing a portable chair to set up ring-side. While you can’t speak with the judges or competitors in the ring, you can chat them up outside the ring and in the grooming area.
“It’s a really good place to figure out what kind of dog you want,” she said. “You can’t choose your kids — you get what you get. But you can choose a dog that fits your lifestyle best. A lot of people get a dog that doesn’t fit, and that’s why they end up in the pound or a rescue.”
Roache’s dog, 2-year-old Australian terrier Wags, also will compete this weekend. As chairwoman, she can’t show her own dog, but her professional handler will lead him through the competition, one of many that Wags competes in year-round and nationwide.
Roache has competed in dog shows for four decades, always with Australian terriers. She said she loves the little breed’s spirit, extroversion and versatility. She can do agility and obedience training and take them for hikes.
“It’s important to keep the breeds of dogs alive. They’re companion animals. They’re working animals,” Roache said. “We try to breed healthy, competitive dogs who win but are also great pets in people’s homes.”