By Christine Keeling
Photo: Robert K. Yosay, Roxanne Sutton from Narvon, Pa., and her whippet, Ari, were keeping their cool at the dog show.
Thousands of four- legged friends are vying for best in show this weekend.
The Steel Valley Cluster is hosting four American Kennel Club All-Breed Dog Shows and Obedience Trials through Sunday at the Canfield Fairgrounds. Judging begins at 8 a.m. and Best in Show judging concludes between 5 and 6 p.m. each day.
The annual event draws dogs and people from across the country and offers family entertainment for $5 a vehicle.
“We come every year,” said Cathy Kelly on Thursday, as she trimmed the hair of her grand champion long-haired dachshund, Fionna. “It’s the highlight of our summer.”
Kelly made the trip from McLean, Va. with her 13-year-old daughter, Maggie, who was excited about riding in a golf cart and eating fries. Maggie Kelly said she tried being a junior handler for a show in Madison Square Garden but got nervous.
“I forgot what to do,” she said.
Junior Showmanship shows are open to children age 10 to 18 and are judged on the handler’s ability to control the dog.
Conformation events are used to evaluate breed stock, said the event’s publicity chairman, Frances “Tyne” Horvath.
Each type of dog has its own breed standard. It includes the appearance, movement and temperament of the dog.
“It’s not judging dog against dog,” said Horvath. “It’s how closely your dog is to the breed standard.”
Mark Kennedy of Pittsburgh examined the teeth and tail of Dalmatians presented before him and watched as they paraded around the ring.
The 36-year judge said he looks for “showmanship” along with the standards.
On Thursday, 2,195 dogs were registered to participate. Saturday will feature the most competitors, with 3,152 dogs and 165 breeds.
Food concessions and more than 100 vendors offering a wide array of dog items are available for show-goers.
The Steel Valley Cluster includes the Mahoning-Shenango Kennel Club, Columbiana County Kennel Club, Beaver County Kennel Club and Fort Steuben Kennel Association. Each club hosts one day during the four-day event.
A portion of the proceeds will go to local charities.
Read more and see photos: Vindy.com