Saturday, March 2, 2024

MSU Pavilion hosts Winterland Classic Dog Show

December 3, 2023
<p>A dog owner and her droopy friend wait for their turn to compete in the Winterland Classic Dog Show Cluster at the MSU Pavillion on Sunday, Dec. 3, 2023. The all-day event featured a number of shows culiminating in a best-in-show competition at the end of the night.</p>

A dog owner and her droopy friend wait for their turn to compete in the Winterland Classic Dog Show Cluster at the MSU Pavillion on Sunday, Dec. 3, 2023. The all-day event featured a number of shows culiminating in a best-in-show competition at the end of the night.

Photo by Jack Armstrong | The State News

Over 1,300 dogs and their owners gathered at the Michigan State University Pavilion this weekend for the annual Winterland Classic Dog Show Cluster. 

The sounds of barks and blow dryers filled the center as owners pampered their dogs for their big debut, both handlers and K-9’s anxiously awaiting to compete in the ring.

The show, hosted by the Ingham County Kennel Club, has been going on over 75 years and held in the MSU Pavilion since the building opened in 1996. 

With ring after ring of dogs trotting around and rows of grooming tables for mid-show touch-ups, there was also a variety of pop-up shops selling dog treats, beds, leashes and even an Italian-made line of dog hairsprays and shampoos. 

The shops didn’t discriminate against its two-legged attendees, though, and included one shop selling human “showwear."

Vice President of the Ingham County Kennel Club Nick Little said that when it comes to the criteria for best in show, judges look for a dog that best meets standard of what it was bred to do.

There are multiple rounds that go into finding the "best in show." First, dogs of the same breed and gender must compete against each other to find the “best in breed” for each sex, then those dogs move on to the group competition, where a winner is determined among seven different groups: sporting, hound, working, terrier, toy, non-sporting and herding

Little said this all ties in to the original purpose of dog shows: to improve breeding stock for specific breeds

“When you got a dog that wins, you’d think, ‘I’d like to use that in my breeding program because it’s got the qualities that I want,'" Little said. "So it’s easy for people to come and talk to other breeders and to improve their quality of the breed, as well."

Around 200 different breeds compete in the show, all purebred and all registered with the American Kennel Club.

Dog Show-9.jpg

An owner runs with her Rhodesian Ridgeback at the Winterland Classic Dog Show Cluster at the MSU Pavilion on Sunday, Dec. 3, 2023. This event was made up entirely of Rhodesian Ridgebacks – the best of this breed advance to the next round.

Dogs that were victorious got to step up to the podium and pose with their handlers beaming beside them, holding up a shiny ribbon

Kim Booth, the show’s photographer, has been photographing dog shows for 45 years. Booth said his favorite part is being able to work with dog owners. 

“The people I take pictures of are usually the winners, so they are always happy and that is a nice thing,” Booth said. 

He compared photographing show dogs to a body building contest, saying it is important that you are making the dog look the best they can in a photo. 

To achieve this, Booth said he will occasionally throw a toy in a certain direction or have an assistant make noises at the dog or hold treats to pique their attention. 

Booth said that the most important part of his job is understanding that different breeds require different poses in order to emphasize certain characteristics of the breed such as high set ears or a poised demeanor. 

“Sometimes you have to grab their attention to get them to perk their ears up the way you want,” he said.

American Kennel Club Board Member Rita Biddle was a judge at this weekend’s competition. Biddle said when judging, she was looking at everything from physical traits such as teeth, jaw structure and shoulders to how the dogs move around the ring.

Support student media! Please consider donating to The State News and help fund the future of journalism.

“You’re judging each dog against the standards, not against the other dogs,” she said

Biddle has been judging dog shows for over 27 years. Having initially been a dog breeder, she got into judging because of her curiosity of different dog breeds. 

“I love learning about all the breeds, and applying that to a live creature that is doing things, it’s a real challenge and I love it,” Biddle said

Biddle said it is important for judges to have three qualities: to know the standards of the breeds, to be nice to the dogs and to be nice to the people

“You want the dog to have fun, you want the exhibitor to have fun, I always say that,” she said. 

Little also emphasized the competition’s focus on fun. 

“It makes people happy to be able to come to something like this, and I like to see happy people having fun," he said. "That’s what it should all be about."

Dog Show-4.jpg

Ameera Hoffman and her Borzoi named Rocky photographed at the Winterland Classic Dog Show Cluster at the MSU Pavilion on Sunday, Dec. 3, 2023. Rocky was excited and had a hard time focusing on anything for longer than a few seconds.

Discussion

Share and discuss “MSU Pavilion hosts Winterland Classic Dog Show ” on social media.