Hundreds of dogs from across the United States are wagging their tails in Colfax this weekend as the Central Iowa Kennel Club celebrates 75 years of dog shows.
Club president Kelley Frary of Des Moines said at least 150 breeds will be represented by some 1,300 canine competitors from across Iowa and as far away as Florida. Admission to the show is free and Frary says it’s a great event for viewers of all ages.
“Even if you don’t know anything about what’s going on, the dogs are there and you can definitely pet them and meet some breeds that you don’t see on a regular basis, so that’s a really great aspect,” Frary says. “For those with a slightly more trained eye, it’s also fun to watch ringside and see how the dogs move and learn a bit about each breed, because every breed is different.”
If you can’t tell a poodle from a Pekingese, she says it’s a great place to learn.
“A lot of people, you can approach them and say, ‘Hey, what do you like about your race’ or ‘Tell me a bit about your race’, and most people are very open and you educate because they love their dogs and want to talk about them,” Frary says. “It’s a really great event for spectators, especially if you like dogs, or even if you don’t like dogs, it’s always fun to watch.”
The event is a confirmation-type contest, so judges will select the best hunting dogs, sporting dogs, toys and other categories.
“Each breed has a standard set by the AKC, so the judge looks at a dog and compares it to the breed standard,” Frary explains. “So ultimately, ‘best of breed’ means that this dog is the best representation of that dog’s standard.”
Some of the competition is for owner-handlers and their pets, while even puppies will get into the sport, along with young handlers. Frary says the dogs will walk around the grounds, much like you see them do at the famous Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.
“Each of these dogs are basically back and forth, so the judge is watching the movement of the dog. They will move the dog and watch the sideways gait,” Frary explains. “The judge will get hold of the dogs and review them. Many dogs have a lot of coat, so they will get under that coat and look at the actual structure of the dog.
The event takes place Saturday and Sunday at the Jasper County Fairgrounds in Colfax.