National competitors travel to Earl Warren Showgrounds
The final day of the Santa Barbara Kennel Club Dog Show 2021 Sunday amassed over 1,500 entries as dogs from all over the United States competed for best in show.
The competition began Thursday at Earl Warren Showgrounds with the Simi Valley Kennel Club show. SBKC took control of the rings Saturday to begin its 101st show.
Bruce Schwartz, the show’s chair and owner of two Welsh terriers, had to cancel last year’s competition but felt confident in precautions this year and is happy to be back.
“The show attracts exhibitors from all over the world, so you get to see people that you don’t get to see every weekend when you’re showing dogs,” he told the News-Press. “And I also love to see the beautiful dogs, which represent all parts of the world.”
A variety of breeds were represented this weekend, from golden retrievers to a Skye terrier.
Beyond the superficial things one might think of when they see a dog-show pooch, Mr. Schwartz says that dog shows motivate breeders to make healthier companions.
“People competing on the quality of their dogs also have deep consideration for the health of the dogs. There are breed-specific genetic tests and physical tests to make sure the dogs are healthy,” he said. “So it helps the general public by producing healthier, longer-living pets.”
A misconception some have is that participants are in the shows for the money, he said.
“They really do it because it’s their passion, it’s their hobby, and they want to breed better quality, healthier dogs,” he said.
Lily Esquivel, one of the weekend’s junior handlers, thought showing dogs might be a fun hobby. She started taking classes and eventually had to get a dog.
She knew she wanted a smaller breed, and her instructor suggested a Japanese chin.
Lily and her mom Lisa Esquivel hadn’t encountered the breed much, but it would soon become paramount.
A breeder gifted Lily a male Japanese chin, now named Gnarly. They’ve traveled to two dozen competitions in the past two years, racking up trophies and ribbons.
Her mom has gotten into dog shows within the past year and competed Sunday with a six-month-old female Japanese Chin named Boujee.
“I see it as a hobby and a lot of people that professional handlers see it as more challenging and you have to prove yourself,” Lily said. “Honestly, I just look at it as like, ‘Oh hey, I’m having fun with my dog and with my other dog, and I get to escape from my other dogs barking all the time.’ It’s nice because you get to meet a lot of new people here.”
She used to be shy, even a bit afraid to order food, she said. She felt herself opening up at conformation, and now she has confidence in the ring — and outside.
“I feel like I wouldn’t be where I am now if it weren’t for my dogs,” she said.
She doesn’t look like a teenager among the other handlers. She blends in, commanding Gnarly’s attention.
“The adults in the breed have been wonderful to where they’ve been such wonderful mentors too. You know, they could be jerks if they wanted because she’s competition, but they’re not,” her mom Ms. Esquivel said. “They’re just very generous with their time and their knowledge.”
There were 13 entries in the Japanese chin breed, and Boujee won “best of winners.” Other handlers walked up to the pair to say their congratulations.
The best in show of the weekend and winner of the hound group is a azawakh named Azamour Anbar, owned by P. Guilfoyle and bred by Francesca Zampini.
The reserve best in show and winner of the sporting group is a labrador retriever named Atlantics Thunder Road At Ghoststone, owned by J. Chambers and D. Weinman.
A Portuguese water dog named GCHG Far Away Black Star CGC won the working group. The dog is handled by Kimberly Calvacca and owned and bred by Laura Taft.
The colored bull terrier named GCHB Grabo Testarossa Formula For Drama topped the terrier group, owned by G. Graham and R. Thomas and bred by Krista Prater-Piles and Franne Berez.
GCHB Tamarin Tattoo, an affenpinscher, is the toy group’s winner. The dog is handled by Alfonso Escobedo, owned by D. Girouard and L. McIngvale Brown and bred by Tamarin Knl.
A French bulldog named Fox Canyons I Won The War At Goldshield, handled by Perry Payson, won the non-sporting group. The dog is owned by S. Fox, M. Fox, P. Payson and A. Vorbeck.
First in the herding group is a Pembroke Welsh corgi named Coventry All Rise To Penliath, handled by Bill McFadden. The Pembroke Welsh corgi, Saturday’s big winner, is owned by S. Leyerly, D. Salow, B. Williams and B. Shelton and was bred by William Shelton, S. Leyerly, C. Blance and N. Blance.