Annual dog show draws thousands

Michelle Toczek grooms Chase, a two-year-old Shetland Sheepdog fresh off his first Best in Breed win.

Organizers say thousands of people and dogs turned out for this weekendâ??s Columbia Kennel Club Dog Show.

Club member Millicent Parker said almost 900 dogs were entered into competition on both Saturday and Sunday. She said about 3,000 people attended over the course of the weekend.

Owners proudly paraded dogs of every size and breed before judges at the Boone County Fairgrounds. Staff set up a series of rings within the main exhibition hall for different breeds to compete. One by one, owners lifted their dogs onto a table for close examination before quickly jogging up and down the front of the ring, their pets running alongside.

Just outside the rings, a two-year-old Shetland Sheepdog named Chase was relaxing after winning Best in Breed in his first competition. Chaseâ??s co-owner, Michelle Toczek, said judges look for size, balance and showmanship in that particular breed. She said she enjoys the camaraderie she finds among dog owners at shows.

â??I work full time, and this is just what I do to relieve stress and something to do on the weekends,â?? she said.

Toczek said anyone interested in taking part in a dog show should consult a breeder to determine each breedâ??s strengths. Parker recommended joining a local kennel club and attending several shows before entering a dog into competition.