The Lesser Known Triumphs of Students: Dog Showing

Alyeace Geary poses with one of her winning dogs

Alyeace Geary poses with one of her winning dogs

  Last month, two students from Scott County High School were chosen to attend The AKC National Championship, a dog showing competition held in Florida. Alyeace Geary and Skyelar Williams both came home with recognitions. The American Kennel Club (AKC) is a registry of purebred dog pedigrees in the United States. They promote and hold events for purebred dogs, including the National Championship. Geary showed a Brittany which was chosen as Winner’s Bitch for every day of the competition, totaling 5 days. A Winners Bitch is the best female dog in the entirety of the competition, based on the dog, as well as the presentation shown by the handler. In addition, another Brittany was selected as 2nd Select Dog. The Select Dog is chosen from the best of breed/variety and best of the opposite sex. 

 

  Both of these students have a past of growing up with dogs. For Alyeace Geary, it was in fourth grade, when she attended a speech given by a 4-H Sponsored Speaker, that sparked a lifelong interest. Not long after, she joined a dog club and has been living and breathing dogs ever since. Now in 10th grade, Geary has continued her passion for working with dogs, attending competitions and providing care for her dogs. Among her canine-caretaking duties are grooming, diet planning, bathing, becoming accustomed to learning the specifics of different breeds, and finally, exercising. Typical exercises for her dogs include running on a treadmill, running outside, and running uphill. Geary typically will run or even bike alongside the dogs as they exercise. 

 

  Geary says that passion doesn’t come without its difficulties. She said it was difficult to learn how to correctly groom her dogs as there are specific requirements depending on the breed. She also must pay close attention to their food, making sure that they stay in peak condition for competitions. 

 

  Geary’s dogs include 3 Lab Retrievers, 2 Boston Terriers, and 3 Brittanys, making a total of 8 dogs. Not all of her dogs are still being shown, however. When Geary began showing, she started with the Labs and German Shepherds that her father bred. After around a year or so, she began showing Boston Terriers. The cycle continued; Geary now shows Brittanys. 

 

  During a competition, show times are randomized. Because of this, competitors are sometimes forced to choose between dogs, and or competitions. They usually make this decision based on how many points each of their pets have. Points are accumulated from competitions and show the prestige of your dog. Points are what sometimes qualify you for certain competitions, such as the Westminster Dog Show. These points reset every year. 

 

  Geary’s father also showed dogs and bred Basset Hounds, some of which Geary has shown herself in past competitions. Some of the competitions that she has attended include Royal Canin and other competitions in Michigan, Arkansas, and Ohio. 

 

  Skylear Williams’ Berger Picard is currently ranked #1 in America. She has been invited to the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, a high ranking competition. Similar to Geary, Williams also has a past in showing dogs. Presently, she owns or co-owns 10-15 dogs including Labradors and other breeds. Williams’ parents also bred labradors. Most of the dogs she co-owns live in other states including Michigan, Tennessee, and North Carolina. 

 

  In addition, she co-owns one that lives closer, in Kentucky. At shows, she works for pro-handlers with Labs and Australian Shepherds. Her duties include mostly grooming and caring for the dogs but also showing them at the owner’s request. In addition, she shows her own dogs. 

 

  Williams includes her two cents for others by saying that “it’s a learning experience” but encourages people to “ definitely jump into it” if there is interest. She makes note of the fact that there are “so many scholarships and opportunities” available to people who show dogs. 

 

  Williams encourages students to reach out to her or to find a 4-H dog club to find more information. Geary, too, says that dog showing is “really confusing for outsiders” but that, if you are interested, there are “places in Lexington and Louisville to spectate and learn.” To learn more, you can also visit the following website: https://images.akc.org/pdf/events/conformation/GESHW1.pdf