Thursday, February 11, 2010

Jump, Dog, Jump

Everyone loves dogs, or so it seems. During the State Fair, we draw incredible crowds for the dog shows and other dog-related events, and the same will be true this weekend during the Indy Winter Classic Dog Show.

The Indy Winter Classic has more than 2,000 dogs from around the country competing in dozens of categories. Ultimately, there will be 7 different group champions crowned and one of those will be selected as Best of Show. So that got me – a non-dog owner – wondering what makes one dog that much better than another.

Some people like big, hairy dogs; other folks like small, short-haired dogs, and that’s understandable. But if you are standing there looking at 20 different Golden Retrievers, how do you decide that one is so much “better” than the others?

Roger Hartinger can tell you. He has been all over the world judging dogs of all different breeds for the past 35 years. He seems to like the Indianapolis show, which is run by the Hoosier Kennel Club, and especially likes the renovations done to the West Pavilion over the years.

He said that many things figure into a dog's final score other than appearance. He knows each breed's history and what they were originally bred to do. For instance, an Alaskan Malamute has to look like it can pull a sled, so it needs to have a certain look and movement... interesting.

So the next time you think your Beagle is a champion -remember, he may look great, but that's not all that matters. When it comes to show dogs, there’s more than meets the eye.

Submitted by Andy Klotz

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