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Dogs are the stars of the show in Fergus this weekend (VIDEO)

The Guelph and District Kennel Club dog show runs all weekend at the Centre Wellington Community Sportsplex

FERGUS – Instead of body checks and slap shots it’s wagging tails, perfectly groomed dogs and judging runs around a ring that is dominating the Centre Wellington Community Sportsplex this weekend. 

The Guelph and District Kennel Club All Breed International Championship Dog Shows have returned to Fergus beginning on Thursday and running each day through to Sunday.

On Friday, a de-iced arena floor was packed with terriers, shepherds, working dogs, spaniels and more getting ready to be judged based on breed and group. 

“It’s really wonderful and I wish people would come out and see how wonderful the purebred dog world is,” said Barbara Shirk, a groomer from the Drayton-area who was showing her English cocker spaniel. “Rescue is wonderful as well and it has its place absolutely but these dogs are bred with a purpose.”

Donna Gottdenker, a Portuguese water dog breeder originally based in the Arthur area, agreed with Shirk. 

“The breeder knows what or should know what their dogs are going to look like, the temperament you’re getting because you know the pedigrees,” Gottdenker said. “If you breed different dogs together you really don’t know what you’re going to get.”

It wasn’t Shirk’s dog’s day but another local who got a dog from Gottdenker was more successful. Allison Rice, from Arthur, had her Portuguese water dog was awarded best of breed on Thursday and then fourth in group. Rice has been showing dogs for the past five years, previously showing a rough collie who has since retired.

“The reason I keep doing this is because I just love spending time with my dog, it’s a really cool sport where you’re spending a lot of one-on-one time getting them ready for a show,” Rice said. “It’s a way you can check your dog against a standard to know how you’re doing … does this dog look like what she’s supposed to look like, does she move the way that she’s supposed to move?””

The dog show runs all weekend at the Centre Wellington Community Sportsplex and the public is welcome to attend. 

“People are afraid to come to dog shows because they think it’s going to be ‘don’t touch this and don’t touch that’ but of course there’s rules everywhere you go so you just have to ask,” Gottdenker said. 

“We love meeting new people and we love advocating and championing our breed,” said Lesley Seabrook, also showing a Portuguese water dog.

Shirk acknowledged those showing their dogs can be a bit intense at times but noted it is a high-pressure event. 

“It’s like we’re doing our math exam, our dog is about to go into the ring and we pay quite a bit of money for this,” Shirk said. “It’s not over the top so that the general public can’t afford it but it’s important, very important to the breeders.”

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Keegan Kozolanka

About the Author: Keegan Kozolanka

Keegan Kozolanka is a general assignment reporter for EloraFergusToday, covering Wellington County. Keegan has been working with Village Media for more than two years and helped launch EloraFergusToday in 2021.
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