BERWICK, NS - The Kings Mutual Century Centre in Berwick is going to the dogs – but not in a bad way.
The venue will host this year’s Evangeline Kennel Club (EKC) Dog Show on June 30 and July 1. The event runs from 9 a.m. to approximately 5:30 or 6 p.m. each day with two shows per day. EKC director Sheila Smith said pure bred dog owners would be taking part in a three-tiered competition, striving for Best in Breed, Best in Group and Best in Show.
She encourages people to come and see all the various breeds and points out that the owners and handlers love talking about their dogs and answering questions. Smith anticipates that there could be as many as 175 dogs in each of the four shows but points out that only those dogs registered for the event are allowed in the building.
She said they have two judges coming in from Ohio, one from Ontario and one from British Columbia. The club tries to bring in judges who have not been in the area before, or at least not for a very long time. They try to find credentialed officials that can judge all breeds and Smith said they have succeeded again this year in finding them.
“A lot of dog show people look at who the judges are,” she said. “Different judges seem to have different preferences, so it’s very interesting.”
This year, the EKC will also be hosting the invitational Nova Scotia Junior Handling Finals following the shows on June 30. Smith said junior handling is something that happens all over the world and involves people who are age 18 or younger. There is a junior handlers’ club in Nova Scotia and she has had juniors work with her dogs when she was showing.
“They learn how to groom the dogs, how to show the dogs and you have to think about it,” she said. “Every breed has to be shown differently.”
Smith said junior handlers learn a lot, often by working with senior handlers, and the provincial finals will give them an opportunity to “strut their stuff with our dogs.” She said they do a fantastic job and they do it for free since junior handlers can’t be paid. However, the experience could help them prepare for careers as professional handlers.
Various kennel clubs across the province take turns hosting the junior handling finals. Winners go on to nationals and, given success there, to the international championships in Crufts, England.
Smith said the main reason why participants are so passionate about dog shows goes back to the original reason for having the shows: to recognize the dogs that are the best examples of their specific breeds.
“That’s why the shows actually started, to encourage people to breed the best dogs,” she said. “People are passionate about it because they want to show that their dogs are superlative examples of their breed.”
Other reasons for their passion include a love for a specific breed and a love of travelling to shows to network with other owners and breeders. Smith said it’s all geared toward the future of the various breeds.
For more information on the club and associated programs, visit www.evangelinekennelclub.com.
Did you know?
- The Evangeline Kennel Club Dog Show us a fundraiser for the club. Admission is $2 per person or $5 for a family or small group.
- There will be various vendors and representatives of dog-related organizations on hand at the show to provide information.
- They will be celebrating Canada Day as part of the July 1 shows with flags and a cake.
- The Evangeline Kennel Club provides obedience classes, which are held two or three times a year. Each session is six to eight weeks long.
- The club is bringing in Dr. Carmen Battaglia to facilitate a two-day seminar called “Breeding Better Dogs That Win” in Wolfville this November.