Columbiana welcomes AKC dog show

Published 1:32 pm Thursday, April 11, 2013

This Neopolitan Mastiff won its category. Photo by Linda Long.

This Neopolitan Mastiff won its category. Photo by Linda Long.

By LINDA LONG/For the Reporter

They came more than a thousand strong on all four legs, from all 50 states. Hairy dogs, short-haired dogs, tiny dogs, huge dogs, well known breeds like the Boxer, Basset and Beagle and not so well known like the Neapolitan Mastiff, which actually looks a lot like a canine manatee.

Calling the Shelby County Exhibition Hall a dog lover’s paradise would have been an understatement April 4-8 thanks to the combined efforts of the Birmingham and Tucaloosa Kennel Clubs’ sponsorship of an annual AKC all breed dog show.

A cacophony of noise filtered through the hall’s doors as loud wolfs and tiny yelps combined with the sound of hundreds of noisy hair dryers reserved for those dogs that needed the most grooming. The Bichons, Poodles, and other similar breeds got brushed, blow dried, styled and coifed in this hub of canine activity.

Out on the floor, five show rings were filled as the dogs went through their paces. On the sidelines, anxious owners waited for judges to announce results of the competition. Jenny Baum, a mastiff owner from Atlanta was one of those owners, but her dog Myrna Loy came out strong.

“She won best of breed and best owner handler for a mastiff. She’s not even two yet and has already finished her championship,” she said.

Asked why she loads up Myrna Loy and all her show dog paraphernalia to travel all over the country to dog shows, Baum said, “This is my passion my hobby my mission. I’m not a professional in terms of making money. I just simply love it.”

Dan Bacon, first vice-president of the Birmingham Kennel Club and organizer of this event, echoed that sentiment.

“Why do people play golf,” he said. “Because they love it. It’s the same for us dog lovers. It is a complicated system to get your dog to championship status, but it is a wonderful journey. We meet a lot of nice people from all over the world.”