Strutting their canine stuff

Plenty of familiar breeds were on display alongside more unusual ones at the Fort Dodge Kennel Club AKC All Breed Dog Show and Obedience Trials Sunday.

Everything from huge bull mastiffs to pint-sized chihuahuas, from bulldogs to Belgian tervuren, from poodles to papillons to Great Pyrenees had its place in the second of two back-to-back shows. Scoring from Saturday’s show and trials is separate from Sunday’s judging.

“The number of entries is about the same each day,” said Pat Reed, show chairman.

On the west side of the building at the fairgrounds was three rings of conformation judging, where heavily groomed dogs were judged based on their adherence to the breed standard. On the east side, all breeds competed against each other in obedience trials.

Wendy Olson, of White Bear Lake, Minn., waited with what looked like a small polar bear at one conformation ring. The big fluffy dog was actually a Great Pyrenees named Halsey.

It takes her about three hours to get the dog groomed and ready for the show, she said, but she enjoys the work.

“I like grooming, obviously,” she said. “I’ve always liked big dogs.”

What does she use to keep the dog happy during the day?

“Duck jerky,” she said.

Marianne Minks, of Cedar Falls, said her Tibetan spaniel, Creme, actually wasn’t too hard to prepare, even with its long coat.

“These guys are actually quite easy, they take about 10 minutes,” she said. “Some like cockers or poodles take an hour. But with some short haired breeds, you spray something on, brush them off and call it good.

“Even with short-haired dogs it’s a lot of work,” she said. “You have to tidy their nails, clean their ears. Then before you start showing, you take them on car rides, so they get used to that and won’t get carsick. You take them out so they can meet other dogs.”

Creme was registered as Zen Tao Creme de Tashi. All the dogs had elaborate American Kennel Club registered names in addition to their simple call names.

Larry Jackson, of Ames, explained how he named his Belgian tervuren, Revolution’s Ellesmere of Anduin.

“Ellesemere was the home of the elves in ‘Eragon,'” Jackson said. “And the Anduin was the river in ‘Lord of the Rings.’ We try to give them interesting registered names as well as call names.”

Mere, as the dog is called, also shows in obedience and agility classes.

Belgian tervurens are smart dogs, said Linda Friedow, of Kanawha.

“They were bred to be working dogs on the small farms of Belgium,” Friedow said.

“They’re intelligent, they’re very versatile. They’re the same as a Belgian malinois, but those have short hair. Malinois are used by police departments for their athleticism and agility.”

Friedow also enters tervurens in the obedience trials, she said.

Deb Sackrison, of Minneapolis, was having so-so luck with her Welsh springer spaniel Stewart in the obedience ring. He did pretty well, she said, except he went the wrong way on one of the last challenges.

Obedience training “is a lot harder, but a it’s a lot more fun for the dogs, and you’re more of a team,” Sackrison said. “You both have to be on your A game, especially here at the highest level.”

The hardest part is when the dogs must obey commands given by their owners through hand signals only – no calling allowed.

“There’s so much here to look at and they have to focus right on you,” she said.

In another trial, the dogs pick out which object from a pile was touched by the judge.

“Articles looks like the hardest one, but it’s one of the easiest for the dogs because they have such good noses,” she said.

The winner of the Utility A obedience class was Diane Partlow, of St. Paul, Minn., and her cocker spaniel, Thomas.

Cockers are a fun breed to train, she said; they love to play and run.

“The only thing wrong with cocker spaniels is the grooming,” she said. “He’s in show classes also.”

He was a breed champion before Partlow bought him, she said.

“He was 2 1/2 when I got him and started training,” Partlow said. “They don’t have to be a puppy.”