Enzo, a three-year-old silky terrier, has won three of four dog competitions already this year. Photo by Christina Zambrano.
By CHRISTINA ZAMBRANO
The path to dog show immortality could begin anywhere, including, quite recently, the Hays County Civic Center.
The six-year-old Guadalupe Valley Dog Fanciers Club held its sixth annual dog show last weekend (Feb. 14-15) at the Hays County Civic Center, where trainers, breeders and their dogs competed for titled awards such as Best in Breed, Best in Group and Best in Show.
Dogs show such as the Guadalupe Valley effort are among the hundreds in which dogs, breeders and trainers compete in hope of racking up enough wins to qualify for the major shows, such as the Westminster Kennel Club show
One dog at last weekend’s show that appears well on his way to a championship career is Enzo, a three-year-old silky terrier who won Best in Group for Group 3. Enzo has already won titles in three out of the four competitions he has participated in this year. His co-owner and breeder, Norma Baugh has been involved with dogs for 30 years and exclusively with silky terriers for 20 years,
“I started with horses – barrel racing and rodeos -and then I moved on to a smaller animal for competition,” Baugh said.
The lengthy competition process begins by separating dogs according to breed and gender. Then, each breed is broken down into classes based on age. Finally, the competing dogs are judged based on a written breed standard.
“Judges have to interpret what the standard says about the breed and try to find a dog that best fits the picture of the breed standard, the written word,” said Carole Beettie, who has been involved with dog show competitions for 30 years and has been a dog show judge for 17 years.
The winners of this stage move on to compete for the title of Best of Breed, along with dogs who are already established champions. All breed winners then compete in one ring divided into groups for the title Best in Group. Seven group winners then compete for the coveted Best in Show.
According to Gina Proctor, this year’s show chairperson, more 100 breeds were represented last weekend. On the first day of the show, 935 dogs competed, followed by 973 dogs on the second day.
The dogs that were showcased this weekend came from all over the United States and other countries such as Canada, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, among others. The 12 judges for the dog show also came from all over the country. All dogs that participated in the show must have been registered with the American Kennel Club.
Below, we include some other sights from the show. Photos by Christina Zambrano.