Rare breeds featured at Dogfest
A highlight of next Sunday’s Dogfest schedule will be a special “Look and Learn” show of more than 20 rare-breed dogs. Many of the dogs making an appearance have not been seen in the area before and many are relegated to the “show circuit,” rather than being visible in the community on a daily basis.
According to Dawn Miller, who is coordinating the event, these breeds were developed to fill specific needs. They have built in characteristics or traits that enable them to do specific tasks.
Several types of setters will be featured including the popular Irish Setter. Also to be shown are the Gordon and English setters. The differences between the types of similar dogs will be a feature of the “look and learn” portion of the show.
Spaniels are another breed that will be featured on the red carpet. Several different types including the Boykin, Clumber and Cocker will be compared. For example, the Boykin is a water-based hunting dog compared to the Clumber which is geared more toward brush. The subtle differences will be highlighted and explained.
Another group taking the stage will include the Bedlington Terrier, Kerry Blue Terrier and Skye Terrier. The Bedlington, according to White, is a 200 year old breed that looks like a lamb. They are known for endurance, she said. Having members of each of the different terrier types, as well as other breeds, will help those in attendance distinguish the differences between the dogs.
White shared that a Portuguese water dog will be on hand. Mad popular because there is one of these in residence at the White House, the breed was developed to help fishermen by retrieving nets, herding fish into the nets and other water chores. White explained that the breed is rugged and robust and must have vigorous exercise every day.
“It is very important for these dogs to receive early socialization,” White said.”Those skills don’t come in later life,” she continued.
Also on hand Sunday will be the Borzoi, the Giant Schnauzer, the Xoloitzcuintli (Mexican Hairless), the Puli, Basenji and Japanese Chin.
The Bouvier de Flandres will be shown as well. This dog, based in Flanders, is from an ancient cattle/sheep herding line and is the official Army dog in France. In World War I, these dogs were used to find wounded soldiers on the battlefield. Very eager to please, White said, the dogs over-exerted themselves with the war efforts in both World War I and World War II until they were nearly extinct.
Seven types of Mastiffs will be on hand s well as several types of hounds in the hunting dog group.
Each dog will be brought to the red carpet where a brief history will be shared. Specific facts about each breed will also be given.
Following the Look and Learn event, there will be a one hour meet and greet where spectators can see specific breeds up close and ask questions of their handlers.
White explained that a yellow ribbon system will be in place meaning if a dog has a yellow ribbon tied to its leash, that constitutes a “do not approach” mentality. Caution should be taken and the handler approached before the dog.