The Marquette Kennel Club held three shows this past weekend, Friday, August 31 through Sunday, September 2, 2012. It is the only set of Labor Day weekend shows that didn’t include a Monday event.

Held at the Marquette Lakeview Arena, these were among the smallest shows in the country. Only 85 of AKC’s 170-odd breeds were entered at the Friday show, comprising an entry of just 283. Saturday included 331 entries in 91 breeds and Sunday, 319 entries in 90 breeds.

Even the inclusion of obedience and rally drew only a couple of dozen additional entries, with just four in rally and 21 in obedience on Friday and four and 18, respectively, on Saturday.

Can clubs whose shows draw such small entries survive? Marquette offered many extras at its shows, including Best Puppy in Show on Friday and Best Veteran in Show on Saturday, with a B match on Friday evening. The club arranged for a get-together at a local restaurant one evening, where exhibitors could gather and have dinner, including drinks, desserts and door prizes for just $10. Canine Good Citizen testing was offered on Friday, and on Saturday club members contributed goodies to the “Almost World Famous Bake Sale,” the proceeds of which went toward show expenses. With all this plus a panel of appealing judges on hand each day, the club is certainly making every effort to appeal to exhibitors.

On Friday judge Pat Trotter awarded Best in Show to Japanese Chin GCh. Pem We-Syng LuckyMi, handled by Nancy Martin. With this 14th Best in Show win, ‘Mimi’ is now the top BIS-winning Japanese Chin of all time, breaking the record previously held by Ch. Chindales Outback Jack. ‘Jack’ was owned by Vince Adams, Maripi Wooldridge and Jennifer Stevens, and also handled by Nancy. He won nine BIS in 2007 and added four more in 2008 to set the BIS record for Chins. The proud new record holder, Mimi is owned by James Dalton, John Turjoman and Marsha Ballard, and bred by Patricia Mushrush.

Mimi won the Toy Group all three days.

Chow Chow GCh. Imagine Loves Second Chance was Saturday’s Best in Show winner under judge Dr. Bob Smith. He was also the Non-Sporting Group winner all three days and Reserve BIS on Sunday.

Kathy and George Beliew, who bred ‘Chance,’ were the AKC Non-Sporting Breeders of the Year in 2006 and have had great success with their Imagine Chows. When Kathy breeder/owner-handled Ch. Imagine The Best of Jazz to 10 Best in Shows in the mid-1990s, she set a record that still stands in the breed.

But the story of Chance gets bigger and better. Kathy and George sold him as a puppy to Debbie and Thomas Spence of Iowa. The Spences had had a couple of show dogs in the past, but had been out of the sport for quite some time, so they were thrilled when their new dog finished his championship from the puppy class with three 5-point majors and a Best of Breed over specials, owner-handled by Debbie. They decided to just show him here and there while he matured. Well, he’s now mature! Debbie’s first-ever special, he’s currently the Number 1 Chow and won his first BIS last weekend.

Kathy and Debbie are, naturally, thrilled with Chance’s success, and they’ve set more goals for him. The Chow Chow Club, the breed’s AKC parent club, offers the “Supreme Chow” title, the requirements for which are very stringent. Winners must win at least one all-breed and one specialty Best in Show, pass health clearances for hips, elbows, knees, eyes and thyroid, and must then achieve the ranking of Number 1 Chow Chow in both breed and all-breed points for one year. Kathy and George are the only breeders ever to have bred a sire and a son to earn the Supreme Chow title. Ch. Imagine The Best of Jazz and his son, Ch. Imagine I Love Jazz, are Chance’s grandsire and great-grandsire.

Chance has already fulfilled all of the requirements save one, and he is currently the Number 1 Chow all systems. Will there be another Supreme Chow at the end of 2012? We’ll certainly keep you posted.

Chow Chow Ch. Imagine I Love Jazz, like his sire, earned the parent club’s Supreme Chow title, breeder/owner-handled by Kathy Beliew of California.

One more footnote (so far) to the story. Chance’s daughter, Ch. Imagine Echoes of Love, also finished her championship with three 5-point majors from the Puppy class and just shortly thereafter earned her grand championship, becoming the youngest Chow in history to attain that title.

Sunday’s Best in Show winner came from the Terrier Group. Mini Bull Terrier GCh. VIP Dytona was bred in Switzerland by Elisabeth Feuz and Caludia Lauber. ‘Simon’ was a Swiss, Croatian and Russian champion before he came to the U.S., as well as the 2011 World Winner in Paris, among many other accomplishments in Europe. His sire, Enyo Warrior from Margins, was the top Mini Bull Terrier sire in the U.K. in 2006. The Margins kennel has had the top Mini Bull, as well as the breed’s top sires, in Britain on numerous occasions since 2001.

Simon, the Number 10 Terrier through the end of July, is handled by Jorge Olivera for owners Marilyn Jacobs, Andrey Klishas and Elisabeth Feuz.

Three different dogs won the Sporting Groups in Marquette. On Friday the victor was Black Cocker Spaniel Ch. Dreamweavers Always and Forever. Junior handler Savannah Livingston has had great success showing this bitch in Junior Showmanship and qualified for Junior Showmanship at the 2012 Westminster KC show.

Saturday, English Springer Spaniel Ch. Monarch’s Playboy, handled by Kala Brown, took home the blue ribbon from the Sporting Group. Sunday, English Cocker Spaniel GCh. Nonnies No Doubt won the Group, handled by Tony Vacha. The English Cocker’s sire, GCh. Nonnies Déjà Vu, was an all-breed and specialty BIS winner in 2010, handled by Robin Novack.

Nancy Martin handled Otterhound GCh. Riverspruce Yukon Jack to win all three Hound Groups. Nancy finished ‘Henley’ with a big Best of Winners victory at the 2008 Otterhound Club of America regional, and now that he’s matured he’s already won a half-dozen Groups. His sire, Ch. Kalevala Jack the Lad, was also a multiple Group winner in 2006 and has sired more than a dozen champions.

Winning the Working Group every day was Bullmastiff GCh. Newcastle’s Picturesque Picasso, handled by Sarah Karger. His maternal grandsire, Ch. Tondra’s Here’s the Beef, was a five-time all-breed Best in Show winner and won 30 Group Firsts, owner-handled by Kara Anderson-Gonzalez.

Bullmastiff Ch. Tondra’s Here’s The Beef was owner-handled to five Best in Show awards.

The Terrier Group winner on Friday and Saturday, GCh. Homebrewed Page Three Girl, started off 2011 owner-handled by Lorelei Craig, who believed she could really do some winning with a professional handler. In May 2011, Holley Eldred took over, and they won their first Group just a few months later. ‘Daphne’ is the first bitch ever to become Number 1 Staffordshire Bull Terrier. She’s a multiple BIS winner and won the National Specialty this year as well.

Winning the Herding Group on Friday and Saturday was Bouvier des Flandres GCh. Quiche’s Grand Finale, breeder/owner-handled by Elaine Paquette. ‘Al’ was also Reserve BIS at the first two shows.

The Paquettes are, of course, legendary in the Bouvier world. Sisters Louise and Elaine, along with their mother Christine, have bred Bouviers in Canada since 1975. Quiche Bouviers can claim at least seven American all-breed BIS winners, and have won Best of Breed at the American National Specialty eight times, as well as Winners Dog, Winners Bitch, Best in Sweeps and other awards on numerous occasions at the National. They’ve bred 11 Canadian National Specialty winners. The more than 100 Quiche champions have included dogs and bitches that amassed well over 200 Best in Shows in the U.S. and Canada.

Bouvier des Flandres Ch. Quiche’s Ivanhoe won 58 Best in Shows and became America’s Number 1 Herding Dog in 1988, handled by Ken Rensink for owner Terry Paup.

Sunday’s Herding Group winner was Shetland Sheepdog GCh. Can. Ch. Grandgables The Frat Boy. ‘Brother’ won a Group in Canada, where he was bred at Guy Jeavons and Mark McMillan’s legendary Sheltie and Miniature Dachshund kennel, from the 6-to-9 Puppy class. On the first weekend he was shown in the U.S., he won back-to-back 5-point majors and a Best of Breed from an entry of 67, also from the 6-to-9 Puppy class. His dam, Can. Am. Ch. Grandgables Homecoming Queen, was a BIS winner in Canada.

The rest of the Labor Day clusters and shows are finishing up today, including my home shows here in Raleigh. You can find out all the results on Billy Wheeler’s Dog Show Poop blog. I’ll be back next week with more details about the dogs winning around the U.S.