On the national dog show circuit, fashion isn’t an afterthought. Liana Maloney, coordinator for this weekend’s Prince Albert Kennel and Obedience Club show, said serious handlers tailor their wardrobe to match their animal – and to convey the highest professionalism.
“You always have to dress to show respect for the judge,” she said.
Maloney judges on the junior circuit, where kids aged four to 18 compete in seven different categories. And she’s noticed one young lady who dresses to impress: 12-year-old Haylie Bro.
It’s Friday, the first day of competition in the Prince Albert Exhibition Centre. Haylie enters the ring in a purple skirt suit. She wears a silver dog-shaped broach, and carries a purple, bejewelled clutch at her side. Inside, she keeps little morsels of cheese – treats for her Boston Terrier, Friday.
“She’s fantastic,” Maloney said. “She’s very, very good with the dogs and, most importantly, you can see the real love she has for the animals. She’s going to be a real professional when she grows up.”
She might not need to wait. Haylie competed at the adult level this weekend, looking to clutch the coveted Best in Show title. She took Friday against some of the top show dogs in Western Canada, racking up points and earning the highest finish of her career.
Haylie started competing in dog shows when she was five years old. She calls it “fun and unique,” but admits that it sets her apart from her schoolmates in Regina.
“I’m the only kid that I really know that does it,” she said. “They think you jump through hoops of fire, but you don’t.”
Haylie said she plans to take over her mother’s breeding business one day. She’s already getting a head start. Friday is, in a very real sense, her creation. Haylie has worked with three generations of the same bloodline.
She showed Friday’s grandmother, Isabella. Then came Friday’s parents, Quench and Spice. Haylie thought they’d make a lovely couple. So she mated them, in the hopes they’d bear a litter of champions.
For more on this story (and there is much more), please see the March 7 print or e-edition of the Daily Herald.