It is often said, this town is going to the dogs. Nothing could be more apt this weekend when the South Dade Kennel Club holds its eleventh annual All Breed Conformation Show and Obedience Trials. Close to 700 canines will jump through hoops, run through tunnels, pose, and obey commands, vying to be the best of their breed and the best behaved. Club president/cat and dog owner/breeder Betty Chidley, whose Lhasa Apsos named Buttons and Ogli are competition veterans, spoke to New Times about the show.
New Times: What's the purpose of a dog show?
Betty Chidley: It's for breeders to evaluate their breeding stock. It's not just the beauty. It's the health, the way they're constructed. Each breed has a standard. When dogs are shown, the judges try to pick the dog that most nearly matches the standard.
What makes the difference between a winner and a loser?
When it gets down to it, personality can single one dog out above the others. It's the one who sits up there and says: "Look at me, I own this ring!"
Do dogs really like to compete?
Some do and some don't. You can teach a dog to show, but there's some that are born with it.
Are there canine stage mothers that push their pets into it?
Did you ever see Best in Show? It was so exaggerated, but you can see a little bit of what goes on in dog shows. It was absolutely hilarious! But some breeders didn't like it very much.
Are there doggie sore losers? Do some dogs get out of hand when they lose?
The people maybe! But not the dogs. It's very rare to have a dog fight.
How about doggie accidents? Where do they go when they have to?
There's pens sometimes. In our shows, people will be in the ring in case there's an accident. And people police outside at the end of the day. Most owners are pretty good about that.
Would a dog immediately be eliminated if he has an accident while running around the ring?
No, no. This is not desirable because it breaks the continuity if nothing else. If a dog in obedience goes to the bathroom, he's ejected. He has to come back another day. In conformation this isn't true.