July 5, 2008
Lakota walked out of the ring a winner Saturday.
The 6-month-old Great Pyrenees was at Missouri State Fairgrounds as part of the Jefferson City Kennel Club dog show, along with 1,019 other dogs.
The hip-high puppy, and his owners, Troy and Lissa Workman, of Wichita, Kan., competed in Sedalia for the first time. Lakota won first place in his class in the 6- to 9 -month open category.
It was a learning experience, said Troy.
“They’re still being playful in the ring, but they’re learning,” he said of Lakota and his two sisters, Gaia and Freya, who also competed at the show.
“We started working with them about a month and a half ago. It’s a process that takes years, or it least it seems that way now,” he said.
The two started to show their dog after owning another Great Pyrenees as a pet.
Lakota’s breeder “is sort of teaching us and mentoring us,” Lissa said.
The breed was developed as livestock and guard dogs.
“They’ll walk our property at home and they know that that’s their space, but otherwise they’re very gentle,” she said.
The Great Pyrenees was one of the bigger breeds of dogs at the show, which featured long-coated and short-coated dogs of every size and color.
A tiny Chihuahua, Mouse, perched atop the number one English mastiff in the country, Cricket, as she lay prone on the floor after her competition.
“She’s been behind the desk running the show all day, while Cricket’s been working,” said Oklahoma City resident Pam Gilley, who owns Mouse and handles Cricket.
Dogs were fluffed, spritzed and beautified before entry into the show ring.
Barbara Brem, of Belleville, Ill., acted as an assistant at the show.
“I brush, I exercise the dogs, I feed the dogs, I do everything,” she said as she held a miniature poodle in one arm and a standard poodle with the other. She washes and brushes the dogs before the professional handler comes to scissor and spray the dogs.
“We make them beautiful,” she said.
Border terrier Astra does not need too much primping, said owner Kathy Echols. She and Virginia Huxley were at the show to compete in conformation — how the dogs adhere to breed standard — as well as in agility and rally competitions.
“We’re into more the performance stuff,” said Huxley, who owns a dog training business in addition to her day job as a medical school professor.
Border terriers compete in earth work, which involves hunting a caged rat in an underground maze, Huxley said, which is part of their heritage as vermin hunters.
The two have come to the show for years.
“It’s not overly large,” said Huxley. “It’s more local people than the big handlers,” but both show at the event.
“Part of it is having the well-rounded dog that can do the thing they’re bred for,” said Huxley.
The canine festivities will continue from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. today at the fairgrounds with the Sedalia Kennel Club dog show.
Show superintendent John McDonald said the three-day event offers dogs and owners the opportunity to compete three times for championships.
“Same dogs, different judges will judge them, that’s what it amounts to,” he said.
This year has been the biggest turnout so far, he said.
Over 1,000 dogs — from Yorkshire terriers to Great Danes — are expected to compete today.