Primped and manicured, around 1,200 Canadian Kennel Club pure bred canines graced the stage of the Nickel District Kennel Club annual dog show this weekend — held, as usual, at Toe Blake Arena in Coniston — for the chance to become a Canadian champion.
This year's event included six different shows, hosted Friday, Saturday and Sunday. For the first round of competition, participants were organized according to the 80 different breeds represented. Those best of breeds then had the opportunity to compete within their group, be that sporting dogs, hounds, working dogs or otherwise.
"Most of them want their dog to become a Canadian champion, so they need to win enough shows to earn 10 points to qualify for the championship," said Phyllis Pancel, president of the Nickel District Kennel Club. "Once (they) become a champion (they) can still enter, but then its champion against champion."
Among the champions this weekend was Lena, a standard poodle, who already one of the top three dogs in the country, earned two best in shows and one reserve best in show. Lena was led by professional handler Sarah Drake, who has been working within the industry for the past 30 years.
Her mother had always wanted to breed dogs, so when the family moved to the country, they were able to do that, and able to attend our first dog show, said Drake. It was there that Drake and her mom picked out there first show dog, a Labrador, sparking a passion that would drive her for years to come.
The high calibre of dogs that attend the Nickel District Kennel Club annual dog show year-after-year is just one thing Pancel looks forward to in hosting the annual event. Having previously bred and shown Afghans and Bichons herself, Pancel recognizes the dog show as an opportunity to connect with and learn from other members of the industry.
The Nickel District Kennel Club is open to pure-bred Canada Kennel Club registered dog for the registration fee of $30. Find a full list of Canadian Kennel Club registered dog show here.