National Dog Show comes barking back with the return of spectators
After a year without spectators due to the coronavirus pandemic, the National Dog Show made a triumphant return to the Philadelphia region.
An exquisite Dalmatian — named Kodak Moment ― exited the show ring and was immediately greeted by a small scrum of spectators. The crouching cameraman held the lens inches from the ground to get the perfect shot.
Curiously, a boom mic hovered overhead, as if the spotted canine might bark the secrets of the universe.
Alas, Kodak declined to comment after taking first place in his breed. He was whisked away to prepare for the next round of competition and his fans were left to choose among 1,500 other dogs to adore.
Yes, the National Dog Show is back — and so were the hoomans!
Vaccinated spectators returned Saturday and Sunday to the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks for the 20th anniversary of the Kennel Club of Philadelphia’s dog show. Last year, the prestigious show was held without a live audience due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“I love the people here watching. That’s what got us interested,” said Mark Goldfarb, of Summit, N.J., speaking for himself and his wife, Laurie. “You’re a fan first, and that’s what makes you want to participate.”
Their dog, Isabella Margarita, is a Dogue de Bordeaux, perhaps better known as “a Turner & Hooch dog,” Mark Goldfarb said, referring to the 1989 Tom Hanks movie. At only 20 months old, Izzie won best in breed on Saturday, going up against more mature and experienced show dogs.
“It’s exciting,” he said. “She has to be outstanding to get that kind of recognition.”
More than 180 breeds were on hand for the show. The Best in Show winner will not be publicly announced until the competition airs on NBC10 on Thanksgiving Day.
There were sleek dogs. Fluffy dogs. Shaggy dogs. Therapy dogs with their own business cards.
Large and domineering, some dogs silently parted crowds. Toy dogs yapped away at other creatures, four-legged and two-.
Tall dogs. Squat dogs. Long necks and no necks. Imperious to submissive. Hundreds of tails wagging simultaneously, each a metronome set to a different tempo.
“It’s organized chaos,” said Nancy Becker, the show’s media maven.
A rail-thin Ibizan hound brings to mind a No. 2 pencil. Clearly thrilled to be here.
Less so for the bushy Tibetan mastiff across the hall getting spritzed with Aussie volume spray gel. Seemed kinda over it.
One perfectly groomed Afghan hound named Mojo was so composed and relaxed you might think the dog show was his natural habitat.
A black Russian terrier sat motionless with his owner. Hair appeared to completely cover the dog’s eyes. No idea what he’s thinking.
Janet Cupolo, of Hellertown, Pa., fielded a constant stream of questions from spectators who wanted photos of Addie, her komondor, a large Hungarian sheepdog. Her long white locks — which, frankly, are a bit out of control — would allow her to blend in with sheep and guard the flock, if she were out in the real world.
“They’re fluffy until they’re about 9 months old,” Cupolo said of the breed. “Then, all of a sudden, they mat up and it’s horrifying.”
J.D. Carpenter and his friend Hillary Sayre ducked out the side door of the expo center a little early with their two basset hounds, Denver and Logan, ears so long and floppy they threatened to sweep the floor.
“We lost,” Carpenter said with a chuckle and lit up a smoke.
But their spirits were still high, with the show back in full force.
“We’ve met some of the nicest people along the way,” said Carpenter, of Bethany, W.Va. “We’ve made some tremendous friends.”
Denver, who is 8 years old, has even had some success at dog shows, becoming a bronze grand champion.
As for Logan, who is half Denver’s age, Sayre looked down at the droopy-eyed hound and put her best spin on his performance to date.
“Workin’ on it,” she said.