Howard County Fairgrounds puts on the dog

November 22, 1992|By Lan Nguyen | Lan Nguyen,Staff Writer

Big dogs, fluffy dogs, small dogs all stood tall and trotted proud at yesterday's Chesapeake Kennel Club All-Breed Dog Show, where more than 1,700 animals competed for trophies and championship points.

About 130 breeds turned out for the show, at the Howard County Fairgrounds in West Friendship. Dog breeders, handlers and owners came from as far as Delaware, New York and New Jersey. Some camped out in mobile homes overnight at the fairgrounds.

The show drew slender greyhounds with shiny coats, small Shih Tzus with big eyes and standard poodles all done up with bows on their heads.

Rottweilers played and frolicked, heavy English sheep dogs slept in cages and little Maltese dogs stood patiently as their owners brushed their long, silky hair.

Some dogs, new to the show circuit, shook in their owners' arms, while others, trained in obedience school, stood still.

The competition featured seven categories: working dogs, herding dogs, sporting dogs, terriers, toy dogs, non-sporting dogs and hound dogs.

Dogs competed within their breed, with the winning dog and the winning bitch facing winners in other breeds.

Some owners vied not for trophies, but points to qualify their dogs for the prestigious Westminster Kennel Club dog show in Madison Square Garden in February.

Others competed for fun.

"It's a hobby," said Cindy Lentz of Westminster, brushing the coat of her Great Pyrenees guard dog.

"It's a rush when people have children and they go to school plays or baseball games. I don't have children, and this is what I like to do with 'my child,' to go in the ring."

Watching owners groom their dogs for the show is a bit like watching women getting coiffured and manicured at a beauty parlor.

Some owners spritzed their dogs with hair spray, while others painstakingly cut toenails and shook on cornstarch to keep their dogs dry.

Diane Betelak of Syracuse, N.Y., trimmed her 2-year-old poodle's hair in one corner, snipping away curly black twists of hair to make perfect round rings around her dog's ankles.

"Sometimes, the hair frizzes, especially on a [wet] day like this," she said, scissor and comb in hand. "I cut the hair at the show so it looks better."

Lon and Eileen Bingaman hauled a grooming kit -- complete with makeup brush, hair curler and talcum powder -- with them from Lewisberry, Pa., to fluff and buff their male Shih Tzu, called Bing's Kaleko Grand Statement.

Mr. Bingaman combed him with a steel comb as Mrs. Bingaman stood with a hair dryer in hand, drying tears around his eyes.

"Sometimes, it takes as long as two hours the night before -- three hours to give a bath," Mrs. Bingaman said.

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