Nearly every size, shape, color and breed of dog can be seen at the Douglas County Fairgrounds this weekend at the Umpqua Kennel Club’s Dog Shows.
This is the 60th year of the popular show, which began in Douglas County in 1958 and draws dog trainers from all over the country. Twenty states are represented, plus Canada and three other countries. About 800 dogs are entered in the events this year, including 175 dogs from California.
Dozens of breeds of dogs, their humans, and their motorhomes and trailers fill the fairgrounds for four days with competition in conformation, obedience and rally.
Show Chair Elaine Zech, said the dogs bring a lot of people with them to the community and many travel in large motorhomes. Zech said the show has a significant impact on the local economy.
“We have a hundred motorhomes parked on the grounds here,” Zech said. “We also have a lot of folks in the motels and the motels eliminated the pets fees for our dog show exhibitors. So we thank them for that.”
The Roseburg show is one of many around the country where competitors can build points toward national ranking.
Dan Nechemias, from Yamhill, Oregon, brought his two Tibetan Mastiff’s, a large dog that was bred by Tibetan monks to protect their monasteries. He showed the dogs in the conformation class.
“They are very, very loyal to their family and their friends, but cautious of strangers,” Nechemias said. “They are just great all around family dogs but they require a lot of socialization.”
There are also rare Burger Picard dogs at the show this year. The breed originated in France and nearly became extinct after World War II.
There are also some uncommon pumi dogs, a medium-small breed of sheepdog from Hungary.
One of the popular breeds is the Papillion, which gets its name from its butterfly-looking ears. Donna Elizares of Damascus, Oregon, brought her 7-year-old male Papillion to the obedience competition.
The dog’s name is Hey You. At 89 years old, Elizares still takes the dog to several shows each year.
“I want to keep going as long as I can,” Elizares said. “What else am I going to do, I’ve done this since I was 20.”
The key, she said, is just working with the dogs a lot and taking them places.
“You’ve got to work a lot to get them ready to go, even the first time in the ring.”
Hillary Hunter came from La Canada, California with her dog Poppy, a 4-year-old female, who is also a Papillion. Hunter flies to competitions with Poppy and her other two Papillion dogs about four times a year. She agrees, it takes a lot of work to get the dogs ready.
“You train constantly, you can’t not train a competitive dog, you have to work it,” she said. “It’s a real commitment.”
Saturday, Dr. Gary Woods, who came from Portland, is doing cardiac exams on the dogs that might be prone to heart disease from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. but it was so popular, all the appointments were filled before the show started.
The show, which opened on Thursday, runs from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. through Sunday and is open to the public.
There is no admission charged but parking is $5 at the fairgrounds.