There are dog people and then there are dog show people. You might be forgiven for thinking the crazy subculture of dog shows doesn’t extend beyond Crufts and “Best in Show”, however the recent rise in popularity of local, less competitive dog shows has seen the two worlds collide.
At the professional end of the scale is the traditional pure bred dog show where dogs are judged on how they conform to the ideal standard of the breed, not how he compares to your annoying neighbours poodle who has also entered. They are either “all-breed” (Bray, Swords, Navan and Dundalk all breed shows are popular), dogs of a specific breed (West highland terrier, Dobermann and Irish Staffordshires all with shows this month) or dogs belonging to a particular group eg: toys, terriers, hounds. Check out dogshowentry.ie for online registration or www.ikc.ie for list of dog shows– there are over thirty of these shows alone during August and September.
If your marvelous mutt isn’t breed specific enough for the traditional show, then maybe consider an obedience, working trial or agility competition. The obedience events test a dog’s ability to respond to commands and complete predefined obedience exercises such as performing a ‘figure 8’, ‘scent discrimination’ and ‘directed jumping’.The working trials are based on the training that police dogs are given and are physically demanding and as such require a fit dog and handler. The agility trials involve handlers directing their dog through an obstacle course as quickly and accurately as possible.
The Working Trials Club of Ireland based in Tymon Park in Tallaght runs weekly classes and has details of upcoming competitions on their events calendar www.wtci.ie to watch an agility show in action check out the Fingal agility show in Malahide 27th & 28th August email email@example.com for details.
Fun competitions are spreading the country and are where the worlds of the normally sane dog owner collides with the craziness of the regular dog shower. Events like Dublin Pride and The Sitric Picnic had mini dog shows. The next one in the city is September 7th in the Phoenix Park – if your dog has the happiest smile, waggiest tail or shiniest coat check out www.barkinthepark.ie for details. Lets hope it doesn’t end like the dog show in a sleepy village in Kent, England where entrants challenged organisers when their dogs didn’t win rosettes and rival football fans and their dogs started scrapping. Bow-wow-meow!