The Hot Springs National Park Kennel Club hosted their three-day authorized American Kennel Club Competition recently at the Hot Springs Convention Center.
Organized and set up by Onofrio of Oklahoma City, Sharon Turner, event producer said, “We're happy to have 137 breeds represented.”
Large halls at the center were set up for grooming, conformation and obedience. Twelve judges were on hand to evaluate dogs in eight separate competition rings. “Conformation” is the official name for dog shows. While it may seem glamorous, the true purpose of conformation showing is to evaluate breeding stock. The dog's conformation – his overall appearance and structure – is an indication of the dog's ability to produce quality purebred puppies, and that is what is being judged in the ring. That's why mixed breeds and spayed or neutered purebreds are not eligible to compete.
“The conformation part of the show is a beauty contest, but the obedience portion is much more difficult and challenging,” said Turner.
Obedience competition showcased dogs trained and conditioned to behave well at home, in public places, and in the presence of other dogs. AKC Rally is a companion sport to AKC Obedience. It requires teamwork between dog and handler, along with performance skills similar to obedience.
Agility competition is designed to demonstrate a dog's willingness to work with his handler in a variety of situations; agility is an athletic event that requires conditioning, concentration, training and teamwork. Dogs and handlers must negotiate an obstacle course while racing against the clock.
Visitors were free to walk around and visit with owners and trainers. There were plenty of noses to pet and seats available to watch conformation and obedience.
Vendors around the arenas offered pet products, including beds, toys and treats.
The Hot Springs club offered raffle tickets for valuable prizes, and several organizations were represented to further the love of dogs.
Pet Therapy was on hand to explain how they bring dogs to schools, daycares and senior living facilities, adding comfort and care to those individuals. For more information, go to www.hotspringspettherapy.com.
Arkansas Hospice Pet Peace of Mind is a volunteer organization, enabling hospice patients to keep their pets at home throughout their end of life journeys. For more information, call coordinator, Betty Alspaugh at 501-318-9992 or go to balspaugh@arkans ashospice.org.
Countryside Animal Hospital of Hot Springs is having an “adopt-a-thon” Nov. 4, offering free food, soft drinks and door prizes. All proceeds will go to the Garland County Humane Society. For more information, call 501-547-9272.