Breeders from across the Southwest are preparing for the biggest beauty pageant of the year as more than 500 pedigreed pooches will compete for points, ribbons and titles in the 69th annual Panhandle Kennel Club of Texas dog show.
The show is Thursday through Sunday in the North and South exhibit halls of the Amarillo Civic Center Complex. The South Exhibit Hall will host the conformation events, rally and obedience events will take place in the North Exhibit Hall.
Breeders travel from New Mexico, Colorado, Oklahoma, Arkansas and throughout Texas. Activities are scheduled from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day, though Stokes said the show is more active in the morning.
Thirteen judges will score between 70 and 100 dogs a day. There is one judge per breed per day.
“Each day is an individual show, so it’s four shows for four consecutive days, and each day has a Best in Show,” PKC President Charlie Stokes said.
Dogs will be eliminated throughout the day as they initially vie for the title of Best in Breed. Those Best in Breed winners will go on to compete in seven groups: sporting, non-sporting, working, hound, toy, terriers and herding.
“Each show competes not against the dogs in that group but against their own standard,” Stokes said. “What (the judges) are looking is the best dog compared to the (American Kennel Club) standard that day.”
The breed standard of conformity is set by each national breed club and sent to the American Kennel Club for approval.
Seven dogs will be chosen from each group and then compete for titles of Best in Show and Reserve Best in Show.
Dogs also are competing for nationwide rankings and the opportunity to be invited to the esteemed Westminster or AKC/Eukanuba dog shows.
The purpose of the show is to prove breeding stock and, Stokes said, “obviously, to win Best in Show.
“These are dogs that are proven to have a decent temperament … they’re healthy … they’re conformationally correct and form follows function. We’re taking the best of the best and breeding those two dogs to create family (friendly) pets and obviously, our next show dogs.”
People — but not pets — are welcome to attend and there is no admission fee. Stokes said the events provide attendees with a lot of good learning opportunities about particular breeds.
“We’d love to have the public come out and learn more about showing dogs,” she said. “To place a dog with children, it helps if you know about what size that dog is going to be (and) what the temperament of dog should be … so by paying attention to genetics, we’re breeding to a standard.”
Stokes, who has been a member of PKC since 2001, isn’t just at the helm of the club — she also travels with her Cirneco dell’Etnas and Vizslas showing in hound and sporting groups at American Kennel Club shows. Most recently, they competed in Idaho during the summer.
Stokes calls herself a “hobby breeder” and said the process is not lucrative.
“It costs a lot of money (to show),” she said. “I’ve never made money in dogs, it’s not a money-making thing.
“A lot of it is just getting together with like-minded people and enjoying the fellowship (and) you’re doing something with your dog, it’s not just something that lives in the backyard. And you do have the satisfaction of a ribbon taken home at the end of the day sometimes.”