If you’ve never been to a dog show before, here’s a tip: Don’t kiss a white dog if you’re wearing red lipstick.
Rapid City Kennel Club show chairman Judi Bendt recalled a previous show when a spectator did just that, leaning down to kiss a white bulldog on the head — just before the dog was headed for the ring to compete.
“I thought that handler was going to die,” Bendt said, chuckling at the memory.
More than 1,000 purebred dogs are expected to compete at the Rapid City Kennel Club’s annual dog show, which runs Friday, Oct. 22, through Monday, Oct. 25, at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center.
Each day is a separate show, with obedience, rally and conformation competitions.
Dogs and their handlers will travel from all over the U.S. and Canada for the show. They will have spent time and money getting here, and all hope to take home a trophy for their dog’s conformation, obedience skills or rally performance.
The public is welcome to attend the free event. But show organizers do ask spectators to remember that this is serious business for dogs and handlers.
“My golden rule is do not touch any dog without asking first,” Bendt said. And while most handlers are very willing to talk about their dogs and explain show rules, “later” might be better than “now.”
“The last thing we want to do is start up a conversation and miss our ring time,” she said. “Ask them when a good time to ask them about their breed would be.”
Bendt said spectators can expect to see lots of familiar breeds, such as golden retrievers, Labrador retrievers, terriers, boxers, bulldogs, shelties, collies and poodles. But show-goers also will have a chance to see more unusual breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club, such as Neapolitan mastiffs, Anatolian shepherd dogs, Kuvaszoks and Leonbergers.
“We’ve got quite a few new breeds, especially in the working class,” Bendt said. “There’s so many new breeds that AKC has accepted now that it’s just unreal.”
Breeds that are not yet officially recognized by the AKC can compete in the “Miscellaneous” class, which might include rat terriers and Jack Russell terriers competing against treeing Walker coonhounds and Xoloitzcuintli or “Mexican hairless” dogs.
“Usually the best time to get (to the show) is in the mornings, unless you’re wanting to see poodles,” Bendt said. “They usually show a little bit later because they take more grooming. If you want to see the smooth-haired dogs, they usually show in the morning.”
Bendt has one more suggestion for dog show spectators: “If you think somebody’s dog is ugly, keep it to yourself.”
Contact Heidi Bell Gease at 394-8419 or Heidi.firstname.lastname@example.org