So I had a great time yesterday at the Dog Pavilion. There wasn’t a lot of work in the afternoon shift, so I got to walk around admiring the dogs and chatting to the humans. The breeds competing that day were mostly sight-hounds and a few small terriers. There were Afghan Hounds with magnificent tresses, elegant Salukis and a few Azawakhs. There was even a pair of Pharaoh Hounds, which I have never seen before, and look like cinnamon-coloured jackals. There were dozens of whippets, in every possible coat colour. One affectionate two-year-old bitch kissed my hands and face and snuggled up to be patted. There were also some very docile Beagles and Dachshunds, both miniature and standard. Although I think Dachshunds are gorgeous, I do have an ethical issue with the miniature variety, because their legs are often so short that they drag their chests. I watched the Best of Breeds being paraded in the show ring, and one man had to sprint beside his Afghan, while the woman with the Miniature Dachshund only walked.
There were several Lakeland Terriers, which look like a half-sized version of the Airedale. They have the same coat and, according to one breeder, the same temperament, but their traditional cut is slightly different. Then there were some very handsome Scottish Terriers, who were quite happy to be admired, on a backdrop of obligatory tartan bedding. It’s cliché but they do look very smart. There was a row of American Staffordshire Terriers, including one large and very smiley puppy who licked everyone’s hands. And, at the back of the pavilion, there were Rhodesian Ridgebacks. They were all very impressive, with long legs and muscular chests and some of the biggest paws I’ve ever seen. I knew that the breed had been developed for hunting lions; one owner told me that they are now being used for conservation work, deterring big-game poachers!
It occurred to me as I went around, how unfazed all the animals were by the crowded pavilion. Most of them were quite content to fall asleep, sprawled out or curled up or lying on top of one another. There were four whippets who had all curled up so that each one was resting against its neighbour. I saw an Afghan Hound wearing what I can only describe as a colourful snood, so that its ears didn’t get in its face while it was sleeping. Even the few puppy contestants, which included a five-week-old Lakeland, seemed perfectly happy and relaxed. I found it very calming to watch long-legged Salukis and dignified Ridgebacks dozing, all stretched out with their nostrils quivering gently, paws twitching occasionally in dreams.
Unfortunately I wasn’t able to take photos while working, but here are some Google pics of my favourite breeds.