This weekend in Starkville, the Mississippi Horse Park is literally going to the dogs. Beginning Saturday and continuing through Sunday from 8:30 a.m.-until, the Golden Triangle Kennel Club will host a dog show, competition and microchip clinic.
The entire arena floor will be divided into judging zones, grooming areas and vendor booths.
This event is free to the general public and concessions will be open throughout the show.
Golden Triangle Kennel Club Vice President Sonya Baird said people might be surprised to know how much goes into dog show judging.
“People see conformation dog shows on television and think of them as being beauty contests for dogs,” Baird said. “In fact, it is much more than that. The dogs are judged by how nearly they meet the written standard for their breed. That standard describes the perfect dog not just in appearance, but in movement, muscle, bone structure, ... temperament and behavior.”
Baird said the dogs are also judged in obedience competitions.
“Obedience competitions are judged on how perfectly the dog and owner execute the assigned exercises,” Baird said. “Whether the dog is shown in conformation or obedience, there is extensive training involved, and that provides a wonderful way to really connect with your dog. That is, by far, the main reason that people show dogs.”
GTKC officials said they encourages the public to come and not only watch the competition, but also take advantage of the microchip clinic.
“This is a great way to locate your pet if lost,” Baird said.
This clinic is for well-behaved dogs on leashes only. It will be held on Saturday and Sunday beginning at 9 a.m. both days and is hosted by the Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine Class of 2014.
The cost is $40 per dog. A multi-dog registration discount is available.
On Saturday only, from 2-5 p.m., William W. Miller, a doctor of veterinary medicine and diplomat for the American College of Veterinary Ophthamology, will hold a Canine Eye Research Foundation eye clinic.
“The reason we offer it is because this is a way to be as sure as possible the dog doesn’t have any inherited eye diseases before they are bred,” Baird said. “Of course, everyone loves to breed pretty dogs, but we want to make sure they’re healthy, too.”
On Saturday, a K-9 Good Citizen Test and a match will follow the competition. Both will be offered for a small fee.
For more information about the clinics offered, go to http://www.onofrio.com .
Mary Morgan, the show chairman for Sunday’s activities, said she estimates there are more than 140 breeds registered and at least 450 dogs competing each day.
For a complete list of breeds and showing times, visit the website and download the full schedule.
“I encourage people to do this ahead of time so they don’t miss out if they are coming to see a particular breed judged,” Morgan said. “This way they can know the judging time and ring they will be located in and won’t miss the dogs they wish to see.”
GTKC members said this show has something for everyone.
“Ever since we published our spring calendar of events in Starkville Daily News, people have been calling to inquire about the dog show details,” Jennifer Brignac, Mississippi Horse Park marketing and communications coordinator, said. “One thing they are very interested in is the vendors and what will be available this year. Mary Morgan has confirmed that we will see many things that we just don’t have locally such as specialty treats, crates, leashes and other general supplies. Morgan says there is also a particular vendor that will be selling breed related clothing for pet lovers. Something that is going over big at all the shows.”
Anna Chromiak and her son Joseph said they visit the show each year.
“It’s a wonderful event for the whole family to come out and see many different breeds of dogs as they interact with their owners,” Chromiak said. “Everyone is very friendly and pleasant. It’s a fun day.”
GTKC members request attendees follow the rules and regulations pertaining to dogs at the Miss. Horse Park: Dogs must be kept on a leash while on the show grounds; dogs will not be permitted in the indoor arena building unless the event is a sanctioned dog show; and canine violators may be impounded at the discretion of the Miss. Horse Park manager.
For more information, contact the MS Horse Park at 662-325-9350.