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     Volume 4 Issue 38 | March 18, 2005 |

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The K-9 Show

Imran H. Khan

Dogs have special branded food preference (low in fat and high in vitamins), flavoured shampoos and conditioners, massages and appointments for special grooming - scenes from a Dog Heaven? No, just a day in the life of a lucky dog -- lucky enough to be born in a developed nation. For dog lovers in the US or UK their celebration of this species borders on worship and constant pampering. This is a far cry from a day in the life of a Bangladeshi dog, at best ignored; at worst -- just picture the worst scenario you can think of and you would not be off the mark.

A few lucky dogs got a taste of 'high living' thanks to the Bangladesh Kennel Club (BKC) which organised their 'Annual Show' in Bashundhara Residential Town on Friday, March 11. According to Dr Motaher Hossain, Technical Advisor to BKC, this was the third show that BKC has organised since the formation of this club in 1980. Mustahin Billah, General Secretary of Bangladesh Kennel Club, was also present at this annual meet.

The club was formed mainly to have a database for the different breeds of dogs in Bangladesh as well as to provide a forum for owners to get together and talk about dogs in general and their pets in particular.

The sport of showing dogs includes many activities beyond 'showing' per se. The annual show offered events in conformation and obedience as well as agility trial. In other countries, the original basis for showing dogs, like other livestock, is to judge which dogs have the structure that suits that particular breed. This is done by comparing the dog to the breed standard. This standard enables the judge to tell which dogs come the closest, and are therefore best suited for the tasks ahead of them. The number of points earned is dependent on how many were entered in all of the classes. The points are added and the dog with the most number comes out on top.

The event pawed off at 8 a.m. and as the microphone announced the number of participants and the breed of the dog, one dog after another darted, dashed or dogtrot into the arena. The attendant walked the dog around the course followed closely by their owners. Dr Hossain gave a little prep talk about the name, the origin and habits of each exhibit as the majestic animals paraded proudly under the excited eyes of the spectators. The dogs marched one by one in most cases, and in one case, all seven at once, as seven German shepherds commonly known as Alsatians showed up at the gathering. Other pedigrees in the show included Doberman, Spaniel, Bulldog, Dalmatian, Collie and Great Dane.

A tall, black-coated poodle with the exotic and feminine name Chica (girl in Spanish) and a toy poodle by the name of Bahamee were two pedigrees of their kind. Bahamee was a rare poodle, the size of a bunny rabbit. Active, intelligent and elegant-appearing dogs, the poodles are usually very proud animals. Moreover, their woolly coats are cuddly and fluffy and a favourite pet in many households.

Two Rottweilers, with ferocity and anger in their eyes, made their way to the centre of the gathering to have the audience look at them in awe. They had muscular and athletic bodies with a broad head and rounded forehead. The triangular shaped ears complimented the wide and black nose. A significant feature of this breed is their short clipped tail.Because of their powerful and massive size they usually require owners who can handle them. Rottweiler are natural guard dogs and they usually prove their worth with the police and military.

Three Golden Retrievers had also turned up for the show and their golden-brown coats glinted in the morning sunlight. Though the name comes from the dog's fascinating ability to retrieve items from a great distance and to bring it to its master, some of the 'retrievers' here were more like 'locators' finding the object the master wanted (which he had thrown out a few seconds back), sniffing it and then happily trotting back. It was unclear what was being tested but both the dog and the owner seemed satisfied.

One of the largest participants in the event was a Great Dane. The largest of dogs, the Dane is a combination of nobility and robustness, powerful yet elegant. It walked the tallest among all the other dogs and then performed some obedience training such as 'hand-shake' and 'stay' to its master's command.

Another attraction to the show was a Dachshund with the very feminine name Lucy. Her alert facial expression and sparkling red eyes were a proof of her intelligence and alertness. She exuded excitement and energy, flitting from dog to human, eager to make friends irrespective of species. One nickname for the Dachshund is "sausage dog" because of its shape and Lucy fitted the bill with her long muscular body and short legs.

Subscription and donations for the show came from all the participants, who also happened to be members of the kennel club. The funds gathered in this show will be given to the Prothom Alo fund for Acid Victims. In the later part of the show, Pedigree Certificates were awarded to dogs that were of pure breed.

For the spectators who availed the chance to attend the dog show this was a whole new world that they didn't know existed.

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