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Best of the best compete at dog show

Dog Show

Handler Catrina Minnick shows "Conner", an Irish Setter during the Chief Solano Kennel Club Dog Show at the Solano County Fairgrounds, Sunday. (Adam Smith/Daily Republic)

By
From page A3 | April 21, 2014 |

VALLEJO — Primped to perfection, a mix of purebreds took to the ring Sunday during the second dog show in as many days hosted by the Chief Solano Kennel Club.

Nearly 1,000 dogs representing 136 breeds spent the Easter holiday at the Solano County Fairgrounds for the 56th annual All-Breed Dog Show, Obedience Trial and Rally Trial. Competing for an American Kennel Club championship or the coveted best in show trophy, dogs large and small pranced and posed during the conformation event, which pits a dog against its breed standard.

“Every dog gets judged with the same breed, then they find the best of breed,” said Susan Sakala of the Chief Solano Kennel Club.

Conner, a Vacaville therapy dog, emerged as the top Irish setter and advanced to the group round to compete alongside other sporting dogs such as a Weimaraner and English setter. More importantly, the animal that spends time at NorthBay Medical Center and VacaValley Hospital earned enough points for its grand championship title, which is a rare accolade for a 2-year-old, said Ki Welch, who co-owns the dog with her husband Mark and Gina Hemphill of Tracy.

“It feels pretty amazing because he’s such a young dog to have gotten it,” she said after Conner’s photo shoot.

Conner will be at NorthBay’s VacaValley Hospital on Monday for the Paws in Healing program offered by a Napa-based nonprofit. Welch said the Irish setter is one of the most easygoing breeds.

“He makes a perfect therapy dog and loves kids,” she said. “His hobbies are chasing rabbits and chasing deer . . . and he loves entertaining his dog friends.”

Welch, who lives in the English Hills area, said Conner is also working toward its junior hunter title, which the AKC awards after a series of outdoor tests.

“So he can do what he was bred to do, which is hunt pheasant and quail,” Welch said.

Another top dog was a puffy Pekingese that bested the toy group, which included a white Maltese, a smooth-coat Chihuahua and a cavalier King Charles spaniel.

Owner Cody Koch of Reno, Nev., said the Pekingese, which comes from royalty, is very “cat-like.”

“Sometimes they want to be around you for a few minutes, the next few minutes they don’t want anything to do with you,” Koch said.

Cooper would compete with six other dogs for the best in show trophy. A dalmatian had already dominated the nonsporting group, a miniature schnauzer showed up the terriers, a long-hair dachshund defeated the hounds, a puli placed first in the herding group and a Siberian husky won among the working group.

But it was a field spaniel from the sporting group that would earn the cup: Champion Promenade’s Pay it Forward – from Port Costa.

Reach Adrienne Harris at 427-6956 or aharris@dailyrepublic.net. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/aharrisdr.

Adrienne Harris

Adrienne Harris

Adrienne joined the Daily Republic in September 2009. She earned her journalism degree at the University of Florida in 2005 and has worked at newspapers in Fort Pierce, Fla.; Las Cruces, N.M.; and El Paso, Texas.
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