Ponoka had literally gone to the dogs on the last weekend of summer.
The Labrador Retriever Club of Alberta (LRCA) hosted its annual Triple Specialty Weekend show at the Ponoka Moose Hall on Aug. 24 to 26 attracting entrants from around North America.
Around 55 dogs were entered with breeders in Alberta, British Columbia and Manitoba being joined by ones from New York, Minnesota and Washington. All of the judges for the event also came from the United States.
Christine Enns, LRCA president, explained the single breed dog show is not only about putting the dogs on display and competing for prizes.
“The event is for breeders to showcase their breeding lines and the dogs are entered into age-appropriate classes to compete against their own gender. The winners compete against the winner of each class and then there are specialty classes,” she stated.
“The show has really become quite international too, with some people at ringside coming from places such as Italy and Pakistan. Breeders, and those sitting ringside, also come to make new networks and set up breeding with dogs they like. It’s really a celebration of the labrador retriever.”
Being a breeder is a lot more than just breeding a dog at home, added Enns.
“Each of the Canadian entries (at the show) are registered with the Canadian Kennel Club and represent their local labrador retriever club, which means they abide by a code of ethics for breeders,” she said.
“That means following proper established breeding practices, testing done to ensure healthy breeding lines and pedigrees, and to try to eliminate any potential health issues. And it can get really in depth, with sending away of DNA samples, blood work and x-rays to make certain the dogs don’t have any issues that can be found through testing.
When asked what makes people want to be involved with this particular breed, Enns was matter of fact.
“Labrador retrievers are a fun loving, gentle breed, are quite intelligent and gentle souls. They are very good with families, good at retrieving and work good as service dogs,” she stated.
The Ponoka show wasn’t the only one held recently, with the LRCA running obedience trials and a hunt test earlier this year.