AKC dog show hits Lincoln

  • boxer
    A group of boxers are judged.
  • crowd
    The Lancaster event center packed from wall to wall.
  • grooming 2
    Grooming is an essential part of preparation.
  • grooming
    Clipping nails is an important part of grooming.
  • kiss
    An appreciative owner congratulates her hound.
  • motion
    A dog and owner walk through their routine.
  • poodle
    A pair of poodles have been groomed and are waiting to compete.
  • sign
    The AKC dog show judging guidelines.
  • toys
    These small dogs compete in the toy group.

Story and photos by Ben Malotte, NewsNetNebraska

The Lancaster Event Center was filled from wall to wall with kennels, grooming stations and many different breeds of dogs.

Dogs and owners came from all over the Midwest to compete in the American Kennel Club Dog Show in Lincoln this weekend. The Cornhusker Kennel Club of Lincoln, Neb. Inc. hosted the event. Dog owners were busy clipping hair and nails and walking their dogs through the routine, while many dogs, once done being groomed and shown, were excited to play with their competition.

In an AKC dog show, dogs are categorized into seven groups:

  1. Sporting dogs, including retrievers, Labradors and spaniels.
  2. Hounds, including beagles, dachshunds and basset hounds.
  3. Working dogs, such as boxers, great Danes and rottweilers.
  4. Terriers, such as bull and rat terriers and schnauzers.
  5. Toys, including Chihuahuas, Maltese and poodles.
  6. Non-Sporting dogs, such as Boston terriers and bulldogs.
  7. Herding dogs, including border collies, Australian shepherds and sheep dogs.

Owners, with dogs leashed at their sides, walked dogs into a fenced-off showing area and through their routines. Most often four dogs of a single breed would be shown together. First, owners walked the dogs in a circle around the showing ring. Then, one at a time, the dogs were walked across the ring and back to the judges for examination.Owners called out commands throughout the routine, which lasted only a couple of minutes.

Dogs were judged on appearance and obedience, both proving to be a challenge for the owners. Dogs that were inexperienced with showing were easily spotted, as they could not contain their excitement by either not listening to their owners’ commands or by not keeping still and interacting with other dogs during their routines.

“It’s hard to train a dog to stay still, especially while someone new to them and other dogs are so close,” said Brian Price, an owner who showed his boxer Rocky on Saturday.

Price said he prepares Rocky by getting him comfortable with examinations and teaching him how to move around the ring at the right speed. He said a dog should move at a quick-paced walk during a routine and that the routine should be fluid with no sudden movements or abrupt stops.

Rocky competed in the working dogs group. Within his group, Rocky would first be judged on breed and sex. On Saturday, males of each breed were shown first, followed by the females. A winner was chosen from both male and female of each breed. Then the judges selected the specials, which were the dogs that had already been champions. Male and female dogs that won their individual breeds, along with the specials compete against each other for best in show.

“Going in and trying to win the breed is what everyone wants to do,” said Dale Hunsburger, from Kansas City, Mo. “Then they can compete in the group and possibly compete in best in show.”

Hunsburger said his week is busy preparing his five poodles for competition. In his 24 years of experience in showing dogs, he said grooming has always been the biggest challenge in preparing for the show.

The day was a long one for many dogs and owners like Hunsburger. Some traveled a long way to compete. It was easy to see by the smiles on the owners’ faces that in the end, the time and effort was worth it.

“Trying to make a better dog,” said Hunsburger on why he competes, “it fascinates me.”

Dale Hunsburger on what goes into preparing for a dog show

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