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Last Updated: 1:56 pm | Thursday, November 30, 2006

Local dogs spotlighted at national competition

Handsome is as Handsome does; Beatrice does, too

Susan St. John-Brown (right) of Lebanon will show her Ibizan Hound, Handsome, and four others this weekend in the American Kennel Club/Eukanuba National Championship dog show in Long Beach, Calif.


Fourteen local dogs will be strutting their stuff this weekend in a competition that will decide some of the top dogs in the country.

The American Kennel Club/Eukanuba National Championship takes place Saturday and Sunday in Long Beach, Calif. It will be broadcast live at 8 p.m. both nights by Animal Planet and the Discovery Channel.

"It's a terrific honor," said Patricia Doty, 61, of Maineville, who will be showing Beatrice, a 3-year-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

This will be the second time she's shown the dog at this invitation-only show. The first was in the competition's agility championship in Tampa last year. Though Beatrice didn't win, Doty, who trains and teaches at the Queen City Dog Training Club in Sharonville, expects Beatrice to show well again this year.

"She's happy and really a crowd pleaser," Doty said of the tiny pooch.


Doty plans to fly out Friday with Beatrice stowed under her seat.

Another owner, Susan St. John-Brown, of Lebanon, is already on the road. She left at 5 a.m. today in a van packed with five Ibizan Hounds. She'll show one of them, Handsome, herself. Other handlers are flying in from across the country to show the others.

St. John-Brown has bred many championship dogs in her 39 years in the business. The owner of Shear Heaven Dog Grooming, she also judges dog shows almost every weekend.

Still, she doesn't know what to expect this weekend.

"We have a judge from out of the country this time. We don't know what he likes in our breed," she said.

St. John Brown and Doty will join eight other dog owners from Greater Cincinnati at the competition.

There, 2,500 dogs will compete for best in their breed. Those winners will then compete for best in their group - hounds, sporting, working, non-sporting, toy, herding and terrier. Then those winners will compete for the top title of "Best of Show."

Dogs shown by their breeders, such as Beatrice and Handsome, also can compete in the separate "Best Bred-by Exhibitor" competition. The AKC/Eukanuba show offers a total of $225,000 in cash prizes.

Dogs are judged on how well they conform to the standard of what that breed of dog should look like.

"It's not a beauty pageant," said Doty.

Doty and her husband, Roger, have been in the business for 15 years and own 12 Cavaliers, two Labradors, one rescue dog and "a stray dog that showed up a few years ago," Doty said.

It's crowded quarters - 16 dogs in a small Cape Cod house. But they love it.

"They're pets first," Doty said. "All of our dogs live in our house and are strictly our loves and our pets."


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