As a child I used to daydream about what it would be like to visit a dog show. Years of looking at The New York Times’ coverage of the Westminster Dog Show trained me for the day that I would finally see a dog show in the flesh. I would say it was akin to the armchair traveller finally leaping into a real life voyage — and perhaps also like young fashion students attending their first fashion show in Paris. Well, this was not Paris, nor was it in New York City where the Westminster Dog Show holds their annual event. But I was excited to drop in for day two of the three day Annual Montréal Dog Show held by the United Kennel Club. This year’s event was conveniently at Place Bonaventure in downtown Montréal from Friday November 7th to Sunday the 9th.
We chose to attend the Saturday event as my friends, who were in the market for a dog, wanted to catch the terriers’ judged event at Ring 2 in the afternoon. I was game as I never say no to an opportunity to hang out with dogs, but I reminded myself that the show was serious business for the participants. This was a competition after all, and though the public was able to attend at a bargain price of $11 CDN I made sure to act like a spectator only. It would had been too easy for me to fawn over all the four-legged creatures and squeal over their adorableness. But I acted with restraint (OK I tried) though it was difficult not to get excited about the pow wow of dogs and their handlers waiting for their scheduled event together. Each half-hour or so, a new group of a particular breed would begin to lobby ring side which was quite a sight — it would be the great dane club for a few minutes, then the shar peis, then the beagles. And as a former owner of a beagle mix (RIP), I was very excited about the hound breed session that took place in the ring adjacent to the one with the terriers.
One of my favourite part about attending the dog show was watching the creatures get primped “backstage.” Some of the tool kits brought along by the handlers and groomers meant serious business — cans of hairspray, various sizes of brushes, even hair paste — were spotted. Dogs that participate in dog shows have something different that runs through them because I never encountered a dog that seemed irritated, distracted, or anything other than calm and patient. Even when they stomped into the rings with frizz-free and flowing locks, or a perfectly round afro for the poodles, they all seemed like mature adults that we humans all hope to be, and with better hair than you and I.
I guess that’s what it means to be a “top dog” that gets to strut in dog shows. Without further adieu, here are some photos from last month’s event.