Man’s best friends compete in annual show

A variety of dogs were featured at the annual American Kennel Club’s All Breed Dog Show at the North Florida Fairgrounds this weekend.

Owners brought their dogs to compete with others in their breed in hopes of making it to the big finale on Saturday afternoon.

Azalea Alvarez, a veteran in dog show participation and retiree from Fort Lauderdale who had two of her dogs entered in the events, said she has been breeding and showing dogs since the ’70s.

“Every dog standard is different,” Alvarez said. “Judges look for different things in an affenpinscher than what they would look for in a Poodle.”

Alvarez, who bred three different types of dogs, had her affenpinscher and papillon win Best of Opposite Sex against a dog that has won 124 competitions.

The dog that one Best in Show, a miniature pinscher, has competed across the United States.

“Me and his owner are pretty good friends, and he’s won many competitions and also made it to Westminster (Kennel Club Dog Show),” Alvarez said.

Although some of the participants were more experienced, interested owners could start showing their dogs at age 6.

“I’ve been coming to shows since I could be in the junior edition,” said Talisa Sampson, a 20-year-old dog breeder from Valdosta, Ga. said.

Students from Florida A&M’s Veterinary Technology program attended the dog show to work with the animals.

Kayla McKethan, a senior veterinary student at FAMU from Panama City, Fla., enjoyed being at the show all weekend.

“My favorite part of the competition is watching the agility show,” McKethan said. “All the dogs showcase their obedience. After retiring, I would love to have my dogs compete in competitions such as these.”