The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

October 14, 2012

Entrants to try stick to standards at dog show

By Robert Barron, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — It takes hours of working with a dog to prepare it for a dog show such as the one Sooner Kennel Club held in Enid through Sunday.

Dogs must be trained, groomed and styled to look like what their particular breed should look like. Those are the dogs that win. Stephanie Hill prepared her dog, an affenpinscher named Hatti, for the show. Hill attends 30 to 40 shows a week with Hatti, which she has been training since she was three months old. They took training classes three to four times a week. She also learned how to groom Hatti according to the American Kennel Club guidelines about what Hatti should look like.

Mary Anne Brocious, of Milford, Mich., was the judge for Best of Show. Brocious judges about 40 shows per week over a 20-week time period each year.

“Every breed has American Kennel Club breed standards,” Brocious said. “This is a blueprint that describes all the characteristics of the breed. I use it as a guideline to find the dogs that most apply.”

Along with those characteristics, dogs also have conditioning, grooming, coat and other standards to be judged.

This is Brocious’ first show in Enid, but she previously has judged in Tulsa and Oklahoma City. This year, she also has judged in Germany and China.

There is international interest in purebred dogs, she said. The finest are in the United States, where people still use their dogs for their specific purpose, like hunting and sporting activities.

“Dogs are not only used for competition, but ... for their primary uses as well,” Brocious said.

Bramble is a good example of that type of dog. Bramble’s owner, Johnnie Gentry, of Fayetteville, Ark., described him as a curly-coated retriever, a rare breed of retriever. He was Best of Breed at the Curly Coated Retriever and Specialties show in 2011 and Best of Breed at the National Eukanuba show in 2011 and the Westminster Kennel Club dog show in 2012. It is rare for the same dog to consecutively win all three shows, Gentry said.

“He’s a house dog. He snuggles on the couch, loves people and loves getting into the water,” Gentry said.

Victoria Beaman was one of three handlers working 14 different dogs at the Enid show. Beaman was grooming Oliver, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, as she talked.

“The dog’s health and well-being are first; that’s why there are so many of us,” she said.

The three-day event, which is sanctioned by American Kennel Club, was free and open to the public. Dogs competed in four categories: rally, obedience, conformation and agility.

Brocious recommended anyone in Enid looking for a purebred dog contact the Sooner State Kennel Club to help find a breeder.

“There are lots of great hobbies, obedience, rally, agility, that are all activities you can do with your dog,” she said.