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The Search for a New Dog

Well that was fun. We went to a dog show for the first time since Wily and I retired about eight years ago.

It was a small UKC show sponsored by the regional American Eskimo breed club. Other breeds were sporadically represented, but the eskies were out in force. The breeder I have been communicating with was judging. Perfect.

Dog Show

The United Kennel Club is just about as old as the AKC, but it is a little lower profile and more informal. The shows are smaller, and to me the competition always seems a little less intense. They are more receptive to new and rare breeds, were first to lower jump heights in obedience, and allow mixed-breed dogs to compete in obedience. Wily had a U-CD.

We arrived early and soon spotted the corner where the eskies were being crated and groomed, and figured out which ring we were going to be watching.

Dog ShowDog people tend to friendly, especially if you want to talk about their dogs. We didn't interrupt the people who were brushing out dogs on tables. We picked a middle-aged couple who were taking a break. They had one of their dogs out, and we asked if we could pat her. Pretty little thing.

They asked if we had eskies, and we explained that we were in the market for pup. Minutes later, we were shaking hands all around and being introduced to a man who, we were told, had a litter on the ground. Five weeks old.

By now the judging had begun. The UKC groups are different from the AKC groups. Northern Dogs are the UKC group we were watching, and it started with a rare breed of Alaskan dog that I had never heard of. They were small dogs with masked faces and charcoal-colored foxy tails. At first I mistook them for Siberian husky puppies.

During a break, I introduced myself to the judge and got the bad news: the litter I was hoping for didn't happen. It would be months before we would have another chance at one of Anna's puppies.

As the first eskie classes filed in we had a chance to talk to the man with the pups. He was an older man, from Oklahoma, and he told us that he had been breeding and showing American Eskimo Dogs (and hogs!) for 30-40 years.

He is German; his grandfather came over from Germany with white German spitzes. Not that his current dogs were descended from those dogs (I don't think), but that's how he came into the breed.

Better yet, he not only knew that the white spitzes worked in circuses; he was old enough to remember it. The Barnum and Bailey Circus was based in Oklahoma during that era. I have seen pictures of white spitzes riding on the backs of plumed and spangled circus horses.

This man told us he had four females in the current litter. One he was planning to keep and another might have to go to an interested friend. But there were two others.

It was time for his dog to show. We agreed to talk again afterwards. [Continue.]

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