International Kennel Club of Chicago Dog Show: Photo gallery
Photos: Marina Makropoulos
If you notice people with a faded "DOG" stamp on their hand today, you will know what they spent at least part of their weekend doing. That stamp was their ticket in and out for a day at this weekend's International Kennel Club of Chicago Dog Show.
This is what I learned on my visit to the dog show. First, people in the dog-show world must all shop at the same shoe store—I couldn't find a pair of shoes that wasn't sensible. And there must be only two clothing stores: one that specializes in polyester skirt suits and the other for bedazzled, breed-specific clothing. Second, Best in Show is scarily accurate. I even saw an overly primped man, complete with bleached hair and a pinstriped suit, carrying two overly primped shih tzus. And a side note about grooming, if you get too close to a dog that is ready to be shown, be prepared to hear some yelling from the groomer. Third, the agility contests are not to be missed. If you want to make a game of it, bet your friends who will win and always bet on the miniature poodles or Jack Russell terriers. And finally, outside of the rings and vendors (selling shampoo more expensive than my own, dog treats that mimic human food and jewelry for every breed) is where the breeders and groomers set up. Here you will see breeders pushing their products—puppies. If you want them to be nice to you, remember a few things: Don't get the breed or sex of the dog wrong, don't let them know you are just there to look at the dogs, and always ask how the breeds are as pets. You will be on the breeders' good side and they will let you maul their cute dogs.
Considering the fate of other conferences, I am not sure the dog show will be back at McCormick Place again, but wherever it is, it is an entertaining world worth exploring.