Page 114 - ShowSight, March 2020
P. 114

                The Sport of DOGS
“I never know how far for the sake of wisdom to carry a metaphor.”–Diane Wakoski
Whenever I am asked about what teams or athletes I root for in sporting events, I answer that the only sport I follow is the sport of dogs. The sport I am involved in is conformation. There really are a lot of dog sports, and they seem to be increasing rapidly. There are competitions that are very athletic such as coursing, tracking, fly ball, and agility, as well as others that are more cerebral such as obedience, rally, scent work and barn hunt. Other dog competitions that have been around even longer include different types of hunt- ing and herding trials, and hunting for game or vermin of a variety of types in a variety of situations.
Some dog sports rely heavily on the genetic background of the breed of dog, coupled with a knowledgeable owner/handler/trainer. For these sports there is a heavy reliance on the preservation breeder who understands the need for the purpose-bred dog. While there are some breeds whose purpose has evolved from a more primitive time, there are many breeds who continue to serve their owners or work with their owners in their original capacity. Sighthounds happily chase a plastic bag in Fast CAT and Coursing competi- tions. Dachshunds and some Terriers participate in “go to ground” competitions, showing their facility in following prey into burrows. There are still packs of Beagles, English Foxhounds, American Fox- hounds, Harriers and Basset Hounds that hunt with their masters on horse or foot. Night hunts for the various Coonhounds continue to be very popular. Sporting dogs participate in Pointing, Retriev- ing, and Flushing competitions. Herding dogs compete in Herd- ing competitions. There are titles for Companion dogs and Canine Good Citizens.

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