A dog handler from Leduc and her Brussels Griffen, Newton, was named Best Select Male at the esteemed 2016 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.
Jo Ann Noffsinger says actually attending the show and walking the ring is just the final piece of everything that goes into showing dogs. “It’s prepping the dog and getting him in his prime coat and condition.”
During the show, which was held Feb. 15 and 16, judges look over each dog and take note of conformation, good coat and condition.
Noffsinger has travelled all over Canada and the United States showing dogs. This year was not her first time to the Westminster Dog Show but it was her first time showing a personal dog. In the past she has handled dogs for other owners.
Both Noffsinger’s parents showed dogs as well. “I was born into the business, I’ve been showing dogs all my life.”
While she has not shown at them, Noffsinger has also attended international dog shows in Germany, Mexico City and Slovakia. “The World Dog Shows average 4,000 dogs.”
According to Noffsinger, the Westminster Dog Show, due to physical space constraints, caps at 2,700. “Even though it’s considered the most prestigious show in the United States it’s not always the largest entry.”
Newton is one and a half years old and Noffsinger says he loves the show world. “He loves the dog shows, he loves the individual time you take with him.”
Good show dogs require a certain personality and mentality, and Noffsinger says most begin training at eight weeks old. However, they cannot be shown until they are six months.
Since starting his career, Newton has attended 50 shows. “It’s his first year of being shown as a champion. We have a lot of hope and promise for him in the future.”
Newton is being shown and campaigned across the United States with a different handler this year and will come back up to Canada next year.
Show dogs show for two years then retire into breeding programs.
Along with being a dog handler, Noffsinger has bred Brussels Griffons for the past 20 years. She loves the breed because of its personality and temperament. “They’re little clowns.”