As much as members of the Columbus Kennel Club love their purebred dogs, they also love their mixed-breed ones.
Realizing that most households have dogs, just dogs, rather than purebreds, the CKC decided to open its annual show to mixed breeds.
So it won’t be just the foo-foo purebreds strutting around on Nov. 20 on the grounds of North Highland Assembly of God Church. An ordinary dog may be competing in the same ring for some titles.
Conformation judging will be for the purebreds. This is a way to see if the purebred dog conforms to the written standard for the breed. Since there are no written standards for mixed breeds, they won’t be in this ring.
However, the obedience for pre-novice and novice will be open to mixed breeds as well as the purebreeds. Ditto for the rally ring.
Obedience is a formal test for certain commands the trainer gives a dog. Said only once, the dog must do what he is told. Some off-leash work is also done in obedience.
The rally is a more informal test for commands like sit, stay, down, come and heel, all done on a leash. The trainers are allowed to talk to the dog and coach them. They are not allowed to use toys or treats.
Mixed breeds may not be judged in conformation, but they have their own testing in the Petco Ultimate Pet Pal ring. There, they are judged on how well they behave in a crowd and behave around other dogs, said Marilu Novy, a CKC officer. They will be small, medium and large categories.
“The American Kennel Club opened obedience and rally for mixed breeds,” she said. “And we want to bring more people in to be part of the shows.”
Novy raises and breeds Portuguese water dogs, and has had success with Jackson, who did well at the Westminster Dog Show in New York City in February. He has since retired, but she’s still training him in obedience. His daughter, Tybee, is being trained to see if she can do even better than her father in the national arena.
As big as he is, Shem, an English mastiff, is a gentle giant.
“I’ve taken him all over the place,” owner Bill Fields said. “He’s very friendly.”
Some people have a fear of big dogs, but after meeting Shem, their fears are allayed, Fields said.
Daisy May, a Tibetan terrier, is also a service dog, but a fraction of Shem’s size.
“Not only is she a good pet, she is a therapy dog,” said owner Francine Hendricks. She often goes to nursing homes. “She brings life into places without much life.”
And then there’s Odette, who was DNA-tested four times. Each time, the report came back to owner Dorothy McDaniel, saying they could not tell what breeds she’s mixed with. Actually, the fourth report came back saying she could be a combination of eight different breeds, said a laughing McDaniel.
McDaniel found her cowering under a car and took her home. She guesses that Odette was used as a bait dog in a fighting ring.
Lori Leonhardt is guessing Katie is a Catahoula hound and beagle mix. After adopting Katie, she fell in love with the hound part of her. She now owns three purebred Catahoula hounds.
“She is the sweetest dog in the world,” Leonhardt said.