by Bernadette Burke
It’s time again for thousands of spectacular dog breeds to arrive in droves – it’s the Sydney Royal Dog Show. The animals may not spend long on the judging lawn, but for owners, entering their beloved pets in the Show is a time-consuming labour of love.
Rachel Davies entered seven of her 13 dogs in the Shih Tzu Specialty category this year, and had been up since 3.30 am yesterday to make sure they all looked their best. One that made her particularly proud was five and a half year old Blade.
Rachel shows her dogs at the Sydney Royal Easter Show every year, given that it is second biggest in the Southern Hemisphere.
Rachel’s grandmother started showing Pekingese at the Show in the 1930s, and her mother showed Shih Tzus in 1969 so Rachel is continuing a family tradition. She creates individual hair knots for each of her dogs, and after brushing, uses potato flour to absorb moisture and tidy their faces.
Meanwhile Elise Edwards was chuffed that her four and a half year old Bullmastiff Toffee won first in her class. This was Toffee’s second Show, but the first time she received a prize.
A little brushing and oiling is all Toffee needed before being showed – much less work than a Shih Tzu. Elise had been at the Show since 8am, although she didn’t leave until after 5pm – all dogs and their owners are required to stay for the day so that the public can get a chance to look at them.
It’s not just dog owners who love the glamour. Carol Baiton, a volunteer, loves the dog show, in particular watching the King Charles Cavaliers in the obedience trials. She has been volunteering at the Show for 11 years and is proud of it.
“It’s not just an event, it’s a great event,” she said.