Putting On the Dog at Annual Show : Pets: More than 1,500 canines--representing 133 breeds--are entered in Antelope Valley Kennel Club’s competition.


As the pageant’s big moment approached, nails were being trimmed, hair was being cut, brushed and sprayed into perfection and feet were being powdered. No, make that paws--paws were being powdered.

And then it was show time for more than 1,500 of man’s best friends, primped and primed by doting owners who hoped to walk away with laurels Sunday from the Antelope Valley Kennel Club’s annual dog show.

“It’s a show for people that have recognized purebreds and want to show and exhibit what they think is a good representation of the breed,” event chairwoman Nedra Adams said.


Breeders use the shows to “prove the worth of their breeding stock,” said Antelope Valley Kennel Club President Judythe Coffman.

All but four of the 137 breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club made appearances at the show at the Antelope Valley Fairgrounds. The place literally was littered with dogs.

There were dogs in crates. And dogs in cages. Others sat patiently atop grooming tables as their owners prepared them for the judging. There were dogs not much bigger than rats and others heavier than a grown man. Some were little more than skin and bones while others had too much skin for their bones.

And if the sight of so many canines failed to satisfy the most ardent of dog lovers, a pack of vendors offered wares that ranged from rawhide dog bones to collectible plates adorned with paintings of pooches. There were bronze dog statues, dog wall hangings, dog Christmas ornaments, chocolates molded to look like paw prints and even holiday gift baskets brimming with doggy delights.

Proof that people at the show were true dog lovers could be found in the parking lot, where custom license plates and bumper stickers testified to owners’ allegiances.

One plate read “YORKY” while another read “PUDEL.” Still another read “GR8TDNE.” Perhaps the most telling was the plate that read simply, “DOG CRZY.”


Coffman, a Lancaster resident, said the Antelope Valley Kennel Club has sponsored a dog show every year since 1957. It is one of the nation’s 20 largest dog shows in the number of entries.

This year’s show coincided with a Time magazine article detailing the genetic problems that occur in some purebreds because the focus of breeding has changed to creating dogs that look good and win competitions.

Janet Wolfley, a Long Beach resident and beagle breeder who showed some of her dogs at Sunday’s event, agreed that competition has created problems.

Breeders, she said, should control their desire to create dogs that just win shows. “You have to take an overall view of the betterment of the breed,” she said. “Dogs that have genetic faults should not be bred.”

Jody Ostrowski, a collie breeder from Santa Ana, said the breeders should police themselves. “Some of them do abuse it,” she said.

But Coffman noted that even mutts have genetic problems. “The breeds were developed for specific purposes,” she said. “If you didn’t have people perpetuating those specific attributes for those specific breeds you would have everything revert back to a feral dog.”


Most of the people involved in dog breeding, she said, “do it as a labor of love. We certainly don’t make any money out of it; it’s not a money-making proposition.”

Karen Lester, a member of the local kennel club, said reputable breeders do genetic screening “not to produce the perfect puppy but a healthy puppy.”