Fulton County Fair Grounds Goes To The Dogs

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The Fulton County Ohio Kennel Club (FCOKC) held their 22nd All-Breed Dog Show this past weekend at the Fulton County Fair Grounds and welcomed 735 dogs representing 138 breeds or varieties from all around the United States and Canada. The show, according to FCOKC President Bill Sahloff of Swanton, is a step down from the Westminster Dog Show, the oldest dog show in the country, having been held every year since 1877.

Both shows use the same format of judging by breed first and having the winners move on to the group competition. Winners of the seven group categories, Sporting, Hound, Working, Terrier, Toy, Non-sporting and Herding enter the final competition of the event and vie for the highly coveted Best of Show title.

There were several notable and surprising characteristics that are common to all dog shows but that stood out to first-time attendees. First, ribbons and modestly-sized trophies are awarded but there is no prize money. “People are not in this for the money,” said registration attendant Vickie Bovee of Lansing, Michigan. “They are here to develop their breed, to develop their bloodlines and their championship breeding.”

Second, all the dogs were friendly, to strangers and other dogs and relatively calm. There was very little barking and no growling. “They are bred and trained for this,” said Brenda Mills, a government worker from Bloomington, Indiana who was showing her English Springer Spaniel. They are born into this world and it’s the only world they know,” she continued, explaining their composed and sociable demeanor.

It was also surprising to find out how far many people had traveled to attend the show and just how often they do it. “It wasn’t far at all,” remarked Jack Schultz speaking of his ten-hour drive from his home in Richmond, Virginia. “I do this almost every weekend, twelve months a year. Next week I’ll be in Chicago.” There were also entries from Texas, New York, Pennsylvania and Oregon to name just a few of the other states dog lovers and breeders had left to come to Wauseon, Ohio.

And the judges travel from remote locations as well. “This year the judges are local (within three or four hours),” said Mr. Sahloff. “Next year they will be from the west coast and the year after that, from the east coast. We alternate so we’re not getting the same judges all the time.”

The show also had a wide variety of breeds, everything from five-pound toy poodles to 150-pound bull mastiffs and short-haired Chihuahuas to long-haired sheep dogs. Basically, there was something there for every fan of the purebred dog. And, if you are a dog lover in general, the Fulton County Fair Grounds was the place to be this weekend.

Bill O’Connell may be reached at publisher@thevillagereporter.com

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