Janice McClary purchased her first Old English Sheepdog nearly 50 years ago, and credits her husband for starting a passion that continues to inspire her to compete across the globe.
“He was going to show, and then one day, he pushed me in the ring and now you can’t get me out,” she said.
After traveling to dog shows in Russia, Europe, South America, and Canada, McClary has more knowledge and fondness for the competition, and states that she has even became a judge herself in order to breed her own dogs to the direct standards of excellence expected of them in the ring.
McClary ‘s kennel, named Dandalion, currently plays host to three Old English Sheepdogs, respectively named Maggie, Savannah, and Chloe. Each held their own in the first day of competition Friday at the Golden Valley Kennel Club Dog Show held at the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds.
“It takes us about an hour or two to groom them,” she said of each dog. “Today, we are competing for the AKC champion points. Savannah competed for best of breed, and ended up going best opposite sex. We have nearly 75 championships.”
Campbell resident Gabe McMahon had a much shorter trip than other competitors, and continues to attract attention throughout the Bay Area. Though McMahon previously worked with English Bulldogs, his newest addition to the family is a Bull Mastiff named Murphy.
Murphy has previously been out of the competition for surgery after tearing a tendon in his heel. But on Friday, he took the stage, happy and content at 20 months of age.
“He’s had such a beautiful temperament. He has no meanness to him at all. He’s a sweet boy,” McMahon said.
Though the dog is certainly large in size, and has a gruff look, McMahon thinks that it is important not to judge dogs based on outer appearances. People who wish to get a dog that fits their lifestyle should attend dog shows in order to learn about the attributes of specific breeds.
“They will tell you a lot about the temperament, how the dog is, whether they are a couch potato, or you gotta go out and run with them every day. Those things are important to know, I think more people should do that if they are interested in getting a pure bred dog. It’s wonderful,” McMahon said.
Cute dogs also draw in a lot of attention, like Athena, a Norwegian terrier competing in the 12-18 month old class in the conformation competition; a competition based on the look of the dog, the coat, the size, and overall attitude. Andrew Chen, a resident of Sacramento, said he has already been practicing with her for half a year, on and off, and has been working with this breed for about five years.
Many of the owners form an exceptional bond with their dogs, and love to show their pride as onlookers remark with interest and joy.
“It’s nice to showcase your breeding,” Chen said. “I am proud that I am able to groom and breed good quality dogs that fit the standard. They are very loving, and I think they are slightly mischievous, so that makes them a little bit unique. They are what I consider a one person dog; they are very attached to just one person. It’s what makes them a fun loving dog.”