A great way to introduce the public to purebred dogs
As a writer and influencer for the Canadian Kennel Club I’m always thinking of ideas to introduce the public to purebred dogs or to remind them of the great, predictable qualities they have.
While dog shows are a fantastic place to learn about the CKC’s many incredible breeds, if you don’t know who to ask, a newcomer to the dog world might leave with only visual memories of beautiful dogs and questions left unanswered.
Unlike most people, February is one of my favourite months of the year. Is it because I have a snowmobile? The conditions for skiing? No and no. It’s because I head down to Manhattan for Westminster. While the two day conformation show is the main attraction of Westminster week, I always get pumped to attend their “Meet the Breeds” event. This is a casual affair that invites the public to experience 200 different breeds at booths hosted by national breed clubs. There’s food, a bar serving beer and wine and endless opportunities for the general public to interact with purebred dogs while learning from the people who live with and love them day in, day out. The event has sold out in recent years and capacity has been reached to the point that they close down that terrifying staircase connecting the Piers. Needless to say, I think the public is hungry to learn more about purebred dogs, we just need to find ways to bring the two together.
This spring I was thrilled to be asked to MC the Royal Canin Parade of Canine Breeds at the Canadian Pet Expo in Mississauga, Ontario. The show drew a huge crowd and all dogs, handlers and audience members had a fantastic time. Since this event went so well here in Ontario, I was excited when I heard from CKC member Sandi Malcom that the Nanaimo Kennel Club was going to throw their own Parade of Breeds at their 2019 show.
Nanaimo Kennel Club’s Parade of Breeds happened on Saturday, June 15. It was open to breeders, owners and handlers. Having almost 30 breeds represented along with the enormous support from breeders and owners involved made it a wonderful contribution to all dogs.
“It was very well received by the general public, and we had a lot of people come especially to watch the parade. It is well worth all the work and effort to get it done. I advertised it in all the newspaper calendar of events sections, all tourism sections, school boards, seniors homes, flyers out to other clubs, on our premium list, and through our tent sponsors and of course Facebook.” Says Malcom.
I’d like to point out how fantastic it is that Sandi does this type of Public Relations and Marketing for her club. I believe that all kennel clubs need to assign at least one member to be in charge of getting the word out about their events. This is a crucial role each club must have to ensure that dog events continue. I truly believe the public does want to attend CKC events, however, when I tell people I was at a nearby dog show over the weekend, their response is usually that they would have gone had they known one was happening in the region.
The Parade of Breeds went from 5:00 to 7:00 pm. Sandi believes that in the future a slightly earlier time would work better as it can be hard to get people to stay after Best in Show.
A great variety of breeds took part in the NKC Parade of breeds including: Norwich Terrier, Russell Terrier, Cairn Terrier, Miniature Schnauzer, Soft-coated Wheaten Terrier, American Cocker Spaniel, American Staffordshire Terrier, Australian Cattle Dog, Afghan Hound, Beagle, Cane Corso, Clumber Spaniel, Finnish Lapphund, Miniature American Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, Newfoundland, Norwegian Buhund, Old English Sheepdog, Rottweiler, Schipperke, Tibetan Terrier, Vizsla, Chihuahua, Chinese Crested, Silky Terrier, Miniature Pinscher, French Bulldog and Yorkshire Terrier.
Each breed was introduced one at a time, they entered the ring highlighted by a huge movie spotlight, did one trip around the ring and found their breed sign and waited there, while the rest of the breeds came in. A brief bio on each breed was then read out by MC Grant Townsend, who all agree was a great asset to the event. Information was read about the breed not the dog in the ring and showcased their personalities, habits and how well they may fit into a family.
All humans and dogs looked fantastic and Sandi would like to give “A huge thank you to all who took the time to do this for our purebred dogs and a special thanks to the U.S. competitors that came in for support.”
After the presentations in the ring many of the breeds had tables outside the ring and stayed and talked to people about their breed and how they might fit into their family. Everyone enjoyed the information, especially the children that attended.
Port-mortems were sent out to all participants on how to improve the Parade of Breed at next year’s show and the club took were several excellent suggestions that they will implement in 2020.
“All in all, great support from our dog families, a fun event. In my opinion, every kennel club in Canada should be doing this to support our wonderful purebred dogs. The opportunity for education is limitless and so very much needed.” Says Sandi and I couldn’t agree more.