With 175 recognized breeds from seven different groups, there is a lot to know about each breed’s unique natural instincts and characteristics. Whether you are looking to add a purebred dog to your family, or you’re just curious, attending a “Meet the Breeds” event is a great way to learn about the different temperaments and needs of each breed.
The Manitoba Working and Herding Association hosts a Meet the Breeds event annually at the Red River EX!. This event provides a great opportunity for CKC members that are experts in their breeds to share information about their wonderful, purposefully bred dogs as well as provides the public a unique opportunity to meet and play with purebred dogs from every breed group. The Red River EX! at Exhibition Park in Winnipeg, Manitoba is a festival held in June, attracting thousands of visitors annually, and features live music, rides, food and more.
CKC had the opportunity to talk to Sheena Rafferty from the Manitoba Working and Herding Association to get some details about the club and this special event.
Why “Meet the Breeds”?
Variations of “Meet the Breeds” events are hosted by purebred dog enthusiasts throughout North America. In 2016, the Manitoba Working and Herding Association was approached to take over organizing the annual Meet the Breeds event at the Red River EX! in Winnipeg. This relatively new club saw this as a wonderful opportunity for owners and breeders to share their passion and introduce the public to purebred dogs.
“As our club develops and grows, we continue to search for new ways to support the purebred dog community” Sheena explained. “When the opportunity was presented to organize this event, our passion for dogs and Meet the Breeds encouraged our club members to vote ‘yes’ to accepting this responsibility.”
Although breed representation varies slightly each year, the Club always ensures there are breeds from all 7 groups represented. In 2019, there were 34 different dog breeds present.
“The event has been consistently well received from the public” Sheena said. “The visitors are interested in the various breeds, some of which they’ve never heard of! Volunteers also enjoy sharing their experiences competing in Conformation, Obedience, Rally, Herding and Agility.”
Sheena shared some of the moments at the Red River EX! over the years that were particularly memorable, including one story of performers, dressed up as pirates, coming into the event building to escape the rain. The volunteers took the opportunity to snap some really funny photos of the pirates holding and playing with their dogs.
“Often, the most memorable moments happen when young children meet dogs up-close for the first time” Sheena shared. “Sometimes they are a little unsure about how to approach the dogs, particularly the larger breeds. They quickly realize how warm and inviting these dogs are. Wet noses and slobbery kisses make the kids laugh every time.”
Eager to attend next year? The Club intends to host another Meet the Breeds event when the Red River EX! takes place in June 2020.
Sheena expressed the gratitude the Manitoba Working and Herding Association has “to have strong support from the local dog community. The Club looks forward to many more years of hosting the event. We also appreciated the continued support of the Red River EX! who provide us with a dedicated building and signage as well as equipment, cooling fans and tables.”
About the Manitoba Working and Herding Association
The Manitoba Working and Herding Association is a CKC-recognized club that focuses on conformation events as well as community outreach and support. They encourage education on training and general care of dogs, as well as promote improved health and working ability in breeding programs. The Club also promotes good sportsmanship among owners, breeders and fanciers. To accomplish these mandates, they hold specialty shows and matches, support trials and performance events, and host health clinics.
On November 10, 2019, the Manitoba Working and Herding Association is hosting a working and herding speciality in conjunction with the Wheat City Kennel Club Dog Show in Brandon, Manitoba. This is the Club’s second year hosting a Fall specialty that caters to coated breeds and those without local breed club representation.