Pride and groom
Harley, a 19-month-old French bulldog, clearly doesn't like competition, huffing and puffing as two cocker spaniels stroll by with their owners. "Stop that, Harley," says his owner, Southern Oregon Kennel Club Treasurer Vickie Paxton.
Saturday morning, Harley and Vickie were two of hundreds of dogs and their owners that filled the grounds of the Expo in Central Point for the club's annual all-breed dog show.
"We have 532 dogs in conformation," said show Superintendent Michael Schmitt, "44 of them in obedience."
Throughout the building, owners were busy preening their pooches on purpose-built grooming tables, while others practiced commands, a bag of treats in hand.
Schmitt explained that conformation is essentially a time for owners to ask judges, "Does my dog fit the standard for the breed?"
Obedience and rally events, on the other hand, look to simply how well those dogs follow commands.
Breeds ranging from sporting dogs to terriers were represented, some in greater numbers than in years past. "Golden retrievers, Labs, Chihuahuas," said chairwoman Aris Frick. "All the little bait dogs," another woman interjected, sparking laughs.
"One breed, the Salukis, we didn't have any last year," Frick said, referring to a long-legged sighthound with roots in western Asia. "We have nine this year."
Kennel Club President Janice O'Neil said 2014 is the third year in a row the show has been held in the Rogue Valley, after several years in other parts of the region.
"The club has been in the valley since 1949," she said. "We're wanting to build the event and this is a perfect location."
The highlight of Saturday's event was the presentation of a $10,000 check to the Jackson County Sheriff's Office for a new patrol dog. Paxton said the group had decided that they wanted to help fund a law enforcement K-9 program locally, but the Medford Police Department didn't have any immediate need for assistance. The Sheriff's Office, on the other hand, was looking to fill a vacancy about to be created by the retirement of patrol K-9 Darco, who's spent more than a decade in service.
"It's really what we're most excited about," Frick said.
The show continues through Sunday afternoon, with a number of vendors selling dog accessories and apparel.