Eight-year-old Danika Rambur was all smiles at the Coeur d’Alene fairgrounds Monday afternoon.
Her grandmother’s 6-month-old cocker spaniel, Butter, had just won his first ribbon: second place in the American Kennel Club show for his breed. Danika traveled with her grandmother, JoAnn Kleckner, from Missoula to compete.
“Butter works better for her. They’re buddies,” Kleckner said.
It’s not their first show: Danika has competed three other times, including once at an American Kennel Club for points. She blew bubbles outside and went over the day’s highlights.
“I met a Pomeranian named PacMan. He looked like Chewie!” she told Kleckner, referring to the Wookiee from “Star Wars.”
The annual dog show, put on by the Coeur d’Alene Dog Fanciers, judges dogs by breed against the American Kennel Club’s standards. The goal is to evaluate the breeding stock for particular breeds. Dogs are judged based on how well their appearance, temperament and more conform to the written standards for their breed.
A dog that does well in its individual breed and sex can move on to group judging, where similar breeds compete against each other. The winners from each of seven groups then compete in best of show.
Accompanied by two granddaughters, Linnea Johnston watched the judging and chatted with poodle owners to learn more about their dogs.
She said she’d always wanted to go to a show but had never had the time off work lined up to make it happen. Her family pets have included toy poodles and border collies.
“I love ’em all,” she said. “It’s going to be fun to see all the different dogs and all the different temperaments.”
Lindsay Gorder traveled from Seattle for the show with her poodle, Spender, who just turned 3. His name, she said, is short for Hey Big Spender, a reference to the amount she spends on grooming and caring for him.
Gorder has been showing dogs for 14 years and travels around the country to compete with Spender, she said.
Spender, a white poodle, sat patiently as Gorder brushed him, applying hairspray liberally on his tail, back and the poof of hair above his head. Gorder said she spent about six hours grooming him the day before the show, and another three earlier that morning.
“It takes a while, but it’s really relaxing. You can be artistic with it,” she said.
Before his show time, Spender rested with his head on a small chin pillow. He went into the ring as the best-ranked poodle in the nation based on his scores at other AKC shows and emerged with another blue ribbon.
The show also includes separate obedience and rally judging, where dogs follow orders to sit, retrieve and more. It continues on Tuesday, where the same breeds will be evaluated by different judges.
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