It could be described as a beauty contest for dogs and owners from across Ireland, Britain, and a few from France and Germany, went to pains to ensure their pets caught the eye.
Flaunting well-shampooed coats and wagging their tails, top dogs were yesterday put through their paces at the Killarney and District Canine Club all-breed championship annual show. Almost 1,600 pedigree dogs of every shape, size and breed were paraded in the rings before the judges, some of whom came from Australia, Serbia, Spain, and Belgium. A garden party atmosphere prevailed, with owners sitting around in tents and campers, some sipping wine and champagne, while others brushed and groomed their dogs.
According to show secretary Patricia Lawlor, cavaliers and King Charles were still among the favourite toy dogs, as they were also suitable for children.
The popularity of poodles also endures, as testified by mother and daughter Ethna and Christina O’Brien, from Gort, Co Galway.
Christina’s 11-month-old bitch Dakota, already the winner of four green stars, had many admirers as she received a final brush down.
“The main thing I like about Poodles is that they’re so intelligent. They also have beautiful coats, have a great sense of pride and style and are fantastic to show. The coat is the main thing,” said Christina.
Another attraction with poodles is that they don’t shed hair and are, therefore, suitable for people with allergies, Ethna chimed in.
The O’Briens were chatting with Orlaith Keenan, from Newry, Co Down, who brought her poodle, Sari, an Irish champion, to the show.
“Poodles may not be quite as popular as they used to be, but they’re lovely dogs, very friendly, easy to train and good with children,” said Orlaith.
Poodles were dwarfed by some of the bigger dogs, including two great Danes owned by Seamus Byrne and Joanne Doyle from Carlow.
“These are working dogs and they can be skittish at times. You have to be careful with them because they’re so big,” said Seamus.
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