Santa Maria Sun / Art
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 14, Issue 19
Lompoc Valley Kennel Club presents its annual All Breed Dog Show in Lompoc
BY JOE PAYNE
Scores of breeders, trainers, handlers, and canines will be making foot and paw prints on their way to Lompoc July 25 through 28 to enjoy a yearly competition, the annual Lompoc Valley Kennel Club Dog Show.
Known as one of the better national dog shows, the Lompoc event will be highlighting animals from across the globe.
“The exhibitors will be coming from all over the [world], it’s not a local show,” show chairman Pete DeSoto said. “You’ll get dogs from Mexico, Panama, Canada, the East Coast, and occasionally you will find a handler who handles a dog that is owned by someone who lives in Australia or Germany.”
The show runs for four days, with the first two days, July 25 and 26, reserved for sight hound breeds only. Sight hounds, DeSoto explained, are dogs that rely on their sight during hunting rather than their noses.
“A lot of these sight hound people prefer foreign judges,” DeSoto said. “This year we have four judges; one from Denmark, one from Australia, one from Mexico City, and one from Austria.”
“They are all judged by a standard that has been approved by the American Kennel Club,” DeSoto said. “It relates to things like body construction, eye color, pigment on the noses, and ear set.”
The behavior of the dogs comes into play as well; the animals have to be just as focused as the handler, or it could mean the competition.
“They are expected to behave,” DeSoto said. “Say, for example, if a dog tried to bite the judge, the judge would probably disqualify the dog and get him out of the ring, and just other misbehavior in general.”
But for most of these dogs, DeSoto said, a show like this is a regular occurrence.
“They do a lot of showing, they handle the dog a lot, and they usually start them with puppy shows,” he said. “A lot of the dogs that come here are 3 or 4 years old and have been showing that long, so they know what is going on and they behave themselves.”
All day long each breed is judged in turn, and at the end of the day one dog is crowned best in show. The American Kennel Club recognizes more than 170 different dog breeds, and many will be represented at the Lompoc show. Many breeders show and handle their own animals in hopes of cathching the eye of someone who wants to spawn another generation of show
“That’s how they make their living,” DeSoto said. “They have dogs, they get the best males and females, and they breed them and sell the puppies. That’s how they pay for their show expenses.”
The show isn’t just a great opportunity for breeders and handlers, but also purveyors of puppy-related products. From selling high-end dog dishes and pet accessories to dog inspired jewelry, the show is an attraction for dog lovers of all kinds.
“It opens up a whole new world to people who don’t even know this thing happens,” DeSoto said. “The Lompoc dog show is one of the best kept secrets for many years, but I think the last five years we have had more and more [of a] spectator turnout.”
There sure is plenty to see as a spectator. But, according to DeSoto, for every dog that comes in from out of town, there are usually about three people coming with it, which helps boost the local economy.
“The show brings a lot of money into the community,” he said. “Every motel in town is sold out. The Chamber of Commerce did a study once and they said the dog show brings in a million and a half dollars, and that’s the biggest draw in town.”
The friendly and celebratory nature between the exhibitors, organizers, and audience helps elevate the event to a favorite yearly competition, DeSoto explained.
“The camaraderie is great, a lot of people know each other and they meet once a year,” he said. “It’s a good family show. There is no entry fee or charge to come so people can just bring their family, look at dogs, and have fun!”
Arts Editor Joe Payne wishes he could enter his mutts in the show. Contact him at email@example.com.