Showground dogs lap up the limelight

THE fleecy, Old English Sheepdog from the Dulux ad caught the eye early but the spotlight soon moved away from her.

With more than 2000 dogs strutting around at the international show in Killarney, Co Kerry yesterday, the TV star, owned by Jackie Boohan, of Fedamore, Co Limerick, didn’t have all the spotlight to herself.

Four-legged friends, some with very short legs indeed, of every shape, size and hue, lapped up the attention, while being constantly groomed, patted and spoken to by their adoring owners.

There was a rare appearance by an Hungarian Kuvasz, a herding dog, which stood out from the usual mix of hounds, terriers, St Bernards, collies, Pekingese chihuahuas and even rottweilers which were among 150 breeds present.

All were of impeccable pedigree with papers, silverware and rosettes to prove it. Curious local mongrels wondering what all the fuss was about hadn’t a hope of getting inside the St Brendan’s College sportsfield, which was converted into showgrounds for the day.

Judge Dick McCoy, from Stoneyford, Co Antrim, reported that canine standards were generally on the up, adding that one always had to look for faults so as to improve things.

“The Staffordshire bull terrier I thought was a cracking dog,” he commented enthusiastically.

More than half of the dog-owners were from Northern Ireland and Britain and they attend four Munster shows this time every year in Clonmel, Limerick, Killarney and Tralee.

Killarney and District Canine Club hosted yesterday’s show in what was described by secretary Pat Lawlor as an ideal venue in the shadows of St Mary’s Cathedral.

A garden fete atmosphere prevailed, with exhibitors setting up their tents around the judging rings, sipping beer and comparing notes with knowledgeable friends.

The Guinness tent did a roaring trade on what was the thirstiest day of the year to date, with patrons queuing up for creamy pints.

Neither were the shiny-coated dogs neglected in regard to food and drink throughout the day.

Indeed, going by all the canine goodies, including a huge range of foods and tonics on display, a dog’s life is not a bad one at all.

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