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Marcy Skirvin’s Havanese puppies Tux and Cinder don’t know it, but they have a big weekend ahead of them.
The two show dogs, whose formal names are Champion Bristolwood’s Dressed to Impress and Bristolwood’s Girl on Fire, will be competing in the Toledo Kennel Club dog show today and Sunday in Maumee. Tux is competing to earn points toward his grand champion title while Cinder is still working on points for her champion title.
“I’m looking forward to this show since I actually get to sleep in my own bed,” said Mrs. Skirvin of Bowling Green, who usually spends three out of four weekends a month traveling to dog shows. She is an owner/handler, which means she owns the dogs and also shows them herself, rather than paying someone to show them for her.
She might be sleeping at home, but she’ll also be entertaining a house full of out-of-town friends who also breed and show dogs.
“I think we’re going to have three guests and 10 to 15 dogs in the house this weekend,” she said. “I don’t mind, it’s like a party.”
The all-breed dog show — from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day at the Lucas County Recreation Center, 2901 Key St. — has attracted entries of 831 dogs, representing 123 different American Kennel Club-recognized breeds, said Mike Roehrs, Toledo Kennel Club publicity chairman.
Judging starts at 8:30 a.m. both days, and dogs are judged against their individual breed’s standards. A single dog is deemed Best in Show each day.
Additionally, many breeds will compete in the obedience contests, where they are judged on their training: their ability to heel on and off lead, stand for examination, come when called, sit or lie down on command and, at the higher test levels, jumping, retrieving, and obeying non-verbal commands.
Admission is $6 for adults, and $5 for children under 12 and seniors. There are concessions featuring many dog and pet-related items, such as toys, grooming items, and general pet care, as well as food.
New this year is that mixed-breed dogs can compete in the obedience competitions. In the Junior Showmanship competition, children ages 10 to 18 will exhibit their own dogs as they compete for prizes by displaying their dog-handling skills.
Mrs. Skirvin, who has been a breeder for 16 years, switched from golden retrievers to Havanese as her breed of choice about four years ago. The decision was driven in part by hair and weight.
“They don’t shed, which is really nice, and since they are smaller, it’s a lot easier to carry two of them into the ring together,” Mrs. Skirvin said.
However, it does take 1½ to 2 hours to bathe and comb out each dog to get them ready for showing.
“They get a bath about every other day,” she said.
Unlike Mrs. Skirvin, most of the entrants are from out of the local area.
Both of last year’s Best in Show winners were from out-of-state. Saturday’s winner, who defeated 641 other dogs, was a French bulldog named Champion Bandog Bayou’s the Warrior who was owned by Nancy J. Shaw of Fredericksburg, Texas. Sunday’s winner, who defeated 649 other dogs, was Grand Champion Kenro’s Witching Hour, a Giant Schnauzer owned by Robin J. Greenslade, Luke Norton, and Doug Hill of Mims, Fla.
Mrs. Skirvin is an American Kennel Club Breeder of Merit. In order to obtain that status, breeders must have a history of at least five years involvement with AKC events; earn conformation, performance, or companion event titles on a minimum of four dogs they bred/co-bred; be a member of a local AKC club; certify that applicable health screens are performed on their breeding stock as recommended by the parent club; and demonstrate a commitment to ensuring 100 percent of the puppies produced are AKC registered.
She breeds dogs and shows them as a hobby more than anything else, she said.
“They are my babies first and show dogs second,” Mrs. Skirvin said. “Winning is nice, but I want them to have fun in the ring. That’s the most important thing.”
Contact Tanya Irwin at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6066, or on Twitter at @TanyaIrwin.