I entered the Reliant Center, which is adjacent to Houston’s most recognizable landmark, the Astrodome, now know as the Reliant Astrodome, a bit groggy after my midnight arrival, thanks to modern American air travel (but that’s another story). Nonetheless, the moment I stepped inside the show hall, I immediately felt the electricity of one the US’ marquee events, the Reliant Series of Dog Shows. I arrive mid-way into the competition as there have already been two days of specialties and limited-breed shows.
The limited-breed shows offered a preview of this weekend’s all-breed competition, showcasing the country’s current Top Two Dogs All Breeds, the Wire Fox Terrier, GCH CH AfterAll Painting the Sky, and the Portuguese Water Dog, GCH CH Claircreek Impression de Matisse. The Wire, Sky, took both Wednesday’s and Thursday’s Houston All Terrier Club shows, and Matisse topped Thursday’s Texas Working Dog Association Of Greater Houston. Should both opt to stay out the weekend, it could make for a major shift in this year’s race. However, this weekend is about far more than our Top Two. I look for there to be some breakout performances. Join me throughout the weekend as I wander the rings.
I happily positioned myself between rings 8 & 9, where judges Robin Stanzell and Dr. Robert D. Smith were judging 29 Great Danes and 28 Italian Greyhounds. I came here, as did many in the gallery, to get a glimpse of the muti-BIS winning Great Dane GCH CH Longo Miller N Lore Diamond Lil. The beautiful black bitch has been captivating audiences everywhere she shows up. She did not disappoint, taking the breed against stiff competition. I had heard that Scout was within one BIS of breaking the breed record of 26 BIS, but handler Laura Lynn Coomes tells me that the record is actually 29. I have no doubt the 3-year-old will make 30.
My next stop is at Cindy Stanzell’s ring to see her 32 French Bulldogs. I am fascinated by the two interpretations of the Frenchie standard. One prefers the more Bully style, low on leg and more robust, the other, a more refined, leggier style. Judge Stanzell went with GCH CH Bandog Major League Homerun at TX Star.
My next stop was at Pat Trotter’s ring to see her go over 25 Borzoi. Her Best of Breed competition featured 10 of the stately breed. Ms. Trotter is one of the sport’s most respected hound judges. Her breed winner was CH La Verite Texas Hold Em SC.
I’ve just left Charles Trotter’s ring where the US’ Number Two Dog All Breeds, the Portuguese Water Dog, GCH CH CLaircreek’s Impression de Matisse, was his Best of five Porties present. And now I am watching Robert Schreve’s seven Bedlington specials. His BOB was CH Carillon’s New Kid in Town.