Best of Breed: The Gold Country Kennel Club Dog returns to western Nevada County |

Best of Breed: The Gold Country Kennel Club Dog returns to western Nevada County

The newfoundlands strutted forward one by one. Their black fur glistened in the morning sun as they stood closely next to their owners. All eyes were trained on the judge in the middle of the group. As she raised her hands, the first pair in line took off in a run around the show ring.

The dogs were among the contestants of the 16th annual Gold Country Kennel Club Dog Show, which brought 1126 dogs of 173 different breeds to Nevada County Fairgrounds this weekend.

“The purpose of the show is to find the best dog to be used to breed for your next generation,” said Mary Lou Just, show chairwoman and a member of the Kennel Club.

The competition runs under the rules of American Kennel Club, a purebred registry founded in 1884. Dogs first competed against their own breeds. Winners will then move on to a second round of contests in which they were separated into seven categories: terrier, hound, herding, non-sporting, working, sporting, and toy.

The canines that took first place in each category would enter into the final round and vied for the “Best in Show” championship title.

Just said several types of contests took place during the show. Dogs that participated in the best of breed competitions were judged by the build of their structure. The obedience tournament tested the relationship between dogs and their owners, and how well the dogs respond to orders. Other competitions included the best owner-handler competition and the junior showmanship competition, which showcased the skill of owner-handlers and allowed young exhibitors to learn the ropes, respectively.

“She(the judge) is trying to get a picture of, kind of the outline, is the proportion correct? Is their head correct?,” said Just as a judge knelt down to observe a group of dogs lined up in front of her. “… depending on the breed, the written standard (of judging) could be very specific.”

The criteria for judging the dogs could be found on the American Kennel Club website, Just said.

Charles Teasley, president of the Gold Country Kennel Club, said dog lovers could learn a lot about their canine friends by joining the show.

“One, they can see 173 different breeds of dogs,” Teasley said. “Two, they can talk to people at the rings of the different dogs to make sure that it is the right breed for them.”

Patty Nicholas, who lives in Sacramento, traveled to Nevada County with her dog Kit. The three-year-old border collie won second place in an obedience competition against dogs in her class.

“It’s your relationship with your dog; your bond with your dog,” said Nicholas, who has participated in hundreds of dog shows. “It’s really fun to get to do something with your dog. That is what it is for me.”

But for Marjie Cherry, who came to the show with her dog, Brew, the competition was also a team-building experience.

“It’s a real exercise in working with a creature of another species together and being able to have that perfect teamwork together,” Cherry said. “It’s really a balance, it’s very rewarding in itself. It doesn’t really matter whether you win or you lose, it’s how well you can work together in the ring, and improving from things that have gone up before, that improvement is very important.”

To contact Staff Writer Teresa Yinmeng Liu, please email, or call 530-477-4236.

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