2015-05-22 / Front Page

Dog show fun for both young and old

More than 3,000 dogs were shown over the four-day events
By Michael Kelley Staff Writer


Joan Luna Liebes (left) judges Siberian huskies during during the sixth annual Southern Maine Coastal Classic Cluster Saturday, May 16 at Wassamki Springs in Scarborough. The annual event is put on by the York County Kennel Club and Vacationland Dog Club to educate the public and crown the top dog. Liz Klein (right) prepares her 2-year-old rough collie, Kaydy, for competition Saturday. (Michael Kelley photo) Joan Luna Liebes (left) judges Siberian huskies during during the sixth annual Southern Maine Coastal Classic Cluster Saturday, May 16 at Wassamki Springs in Scarborough. The annual event is put on by the York County Kennel Club and Vacationland Dog Club to educate the public and crown the top dog. Liz Klein (right) prepares her 2-year-old rough collie, Kaydy, for competition Saturday. (Michael Kelley photo) The dog days of summer came a few months early for Wassamki Springs Campground. Last weekend the campground, located at 56 Saco St., hosted the 6th Annual Southern Maine Coastal Classic Cluster dog show.

The four-day show, jointly put on by the Vacationland Dog Club and the York County Kennel Club, features daily conformations. A conformation is the official term for a dog show in which dogs are evaluated and judged based on breed standards.

“Each breed has its own standard,” said Tracey Lavasseur, who handles publicity for both clubs. “That’s why the dogs look a certain way, move a certain way and have a certain color coat.”

“The dog that wins is the one that most closely matches its breed standard,” said Pauline Goodwin, chairman of the Saturday, May 16 show and president of the Vacationland Dog Club. The club, now in its 70th year, is the oldest dog club in the state.

Carroll Goodwin, assistant chairman of the May 16 show, said the dog that best meets those standards is deemed “best in breed” and competes against other dogs in his or her group.

Groups include sporting, hound, working, terrier, toy, non-sporting and herding. One dog from each group is chosen to represent the group in the best in show competition.

The Southern Maine Coastal Classic, Carroll Goodwin said, is the largest dog show in Maine, with 864 dogs competing Saturday and 816 on Sunday, the two busiest days at the show.


The junior showmanship competition, which included dogs of all shapes, sizes and breeds, is open to boys and girls 9 to 18 years old. Carroll Goodwin, Saturday’s assistant show chairman, said the competition is aimed at introducing the sport to children with the hopes they continue as adults. (Michael Kelley photo) The junior showmanship competition, which included dogs of all shapes, sizes and breeds, is open to boys and girls 9 to 18 years old. Carroll Goodwin, Saturday’s assistant show chairman, said the competition is aimed at introducing the sport to children with the hopes they continue as adults. (Michael Kelley photo) “We have some of the top dogs in the country here, which is pretty prestigious and something we are very proud of,” Lavasseur said.

The Southern Maine Coastal Classic Cluster was started six years ago when York County Kennel Club and Vacationland Dog Club joined forces to put on a joint event. Previously the two clubs held independent two-day dog shows two weeks apart.

Carroll Goodwin said the idea to collaborate was an effort to “get better attendance and put on a better show.”

“Six years ago we combined our dog shows and it has continued to grow every year,” he said.

The show attracts dozens of both novice and professional dog handlers and dog owners from all over the country.

The junior showmanship competition, which is held each day, is open to boys and girls 9 to 18, who are judged on how well they show and groom their dogs.

“It is a chance to have youngsters enter the sport and work their way in,” Carroll Goodwin said.

The Southern Maine Coastal Classic Cluster also includes competition in obedience and rally trials in which dogs have to do things such as fetch, stop, go or jump on command.

Rally is similar to obedience, but unlike in obedience, dogs and handlers are prompted through a routine by a series of signs. In both, dogs and dog handlers are judged on how well they communicate and work together.

“There are no breed standards. It’s all about how well your dog meets your commands,” Carroll Goodwin said of obedience and rally.

Joanne Tuttle traveled from Troy, North Carolina to show two of her miniature schnauzers, Ghai and Cole Por- ter, both 18 months old. She last showed in Maine 10 years ago when Vacationland Dog Club and York County Kennel Club held independent shows.

Tuttle has showed dogs all over the world, including the Westminster Dog Show at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Tuttle’s miniature schnauzer, Lyle — Ghai and Cole Porter’s grandfather — won the best of breed in the 2006 and 2008 shows.

“To win Westminster was beyond belief. That is what has kept me going,” Tuttle said.

Tuttle has owned miniature schnauzers for 62 years.

“They are the smartest dog in the world,” Tuttle said of the miniature schnauzer, a terrier breed first recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1926. “They don’t shed. They have no dander and they are very loyal and smart.”

Showing dogs, Tuttle said, is not easy work. It takes 90 minutes to get her miniature schnauzer ready for competition.

Dog shows are also a passion for Liz Klein, who traveled 2½ hours from Hancock, New Hampshire to show her rough collies.

“It’s a lot of work, but it is definitely a work of love,” Klein said as she prepared Kaydy, her 2-year-old rough collie for competition May 16.

Klein has been breeding and showing her dogs since 1993 and has been coming to the Southern Maine Coastal Classic Cluster for several years.

“It has become a tradition. These are lovely shows. The clubs work very hard on making it a great experience for all the exhibitors,” Klein said.

The event is not just an opportunity for dog handlers, breeders and owners such as Tuttle and Klein to show their dogs. Event organizers said it is a great opportunity to learn more about dogs.

“We encourage people to come in and see the breeds because when you buy a dog, it is a 12 to 15 year commitment. If you are looking to buy a dog, come to a dog show because you can look at a particular breed and see its temperament, see its activity level and talk to people who have been dealing with the breed for awhile,” Lavasseur said.

“We want you to make an educated decision about what the right dog is for your family,” she added.

Carroll Goodwin said members of Vacationland Dog Club and York County Kennel Club are now working on another educational event called Meet the Breeds, which is set to take place at Tractor Supply Company on Route 1 in Scarborough in September. Want to comment on this story? Login to our website at leader.mainelymediallc.com and let us know your thoughts.

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