The annual Grahamstown and Queenstown Kennel Clubs’ combined Annual Championship Shows is once again upon us, taking place at the Hoërskool P J Olivier sports fields from Saturday 2 to Sunday 3 September.
Some 160 dogs have been entered in the various events covering Breed, Obedience and Carting with participants coming from as far afield as Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban.
On the top field at PJO, visitors can watch some of the best pedigree dogs in the country being judged on their conformation in the four rings. Around 50 different breeds, ranging from Great Danes to Yorkshire Terriers, will be on show, grouped under broader classifications such as Gundogs, Herding, Terriers, etc. Professional dog breeders will be there, interested in getting their dogs recognized as champions, while other participants are owners wanting to find out how their canine companions compare to the best specimens of that breed. Anyone considering getting a pedigree dog has a golden opportunity to discuss with the owners and breeders the pros and cons of a particular breed and find out whether such a dog would fit into their lifestyle.
On the lower field, breeding is not important and pedigree and crossbreeds compete on equal terms. Unfortunately Agility could not be included this this year but Obedience is a discipline where the training of the dog is tested. Among other tasks, dogs have to display the ability to stay at heel as the owner walks and jogs through a set pattern, to fetch an object on command, to stay sitting or lying down even when the handler goes out of sight for several minutes and to come quickly when recalled.
Also on the lower field, Carting will be tested. This discipline caters mainly for the older dog retired from more active sports such as agility, though several youngsters are also getting involved. The dog has to pull a small cart along a series of ‘paths’ under the guidance of the handler who has to load certain items into the cart at one point and deliver them to another place.
Events start at 9am tomorrow and 8am on Sunday and are usually completed by about 2pm on Saturday and around lunchtime on Sunday. Entry to the grounds is free for the general public and refreshments will be on sale. “But please leave your own dog at home,” said event organisers.