“Historically, Santa Barbara must be credited, not only with one of the most magnificent settings available for the dog fancy, but certainly as one of the oldest and most prestigious of shows. Santa Barbara Kennel Club is the place to be with cooling ocean breezes and wonderful dogs – what better way to spend a weekend?” – Santa Barbara Kennel Club

The third in a series of paintings by artist Terry d. Chacon that will appear on the cover of this year’s show catalog.

I am so pleased to say that I will be able to attend this year, along with hundreds of fellow dog fanciers! I haven’t been able to go to this show for the last two years, but in the past, I must to say, it was a standout show for me. It’s beautiful, with great dogs, and a special atmosphere that’s honestly indescribable. It just makes me smile.

Santa Barbara Kennel Club, Simi Valley Kennel Club and Conejo Kennel Club are the three clubs that put on one of the most outstanding four-day show weekends of the year. This weekend’s events include over 150 breeds, $15,000 in prize money, a special exhibitors dinner and – what most attendees have been anxiously waiting for – the fourth annual Breeder’s Showcase.

Prior to the Breeder’s Showcase, there will be an exciting new competition just for the “bully” breeds. Bullygangza! is open to the Best of Breed, Best of Opposite Sex and Best of Winners in several breeds ranging from the Bullmastiff to the Boston Terrier. The new event will take place one hour before Group judging on Saturday, so make sure to check it out. Also, don’t forget about the Foreign Bred Competition on Sunday just before Best in Show. If this is the first time you’re hearing about this event, don’t worry! Entries may be made during show hours on Saturday. This is sure to be a weekend not to miss.

The magnificent Santa Barbara Kennel Club trophy table. Photo by Ethan Wheeler.

One of my personal favorite parts, too, will be the Breeder’s Showcase. Although I am not a breeder per se, I am increasingly interested in that side of the dog world. I wouldn’t say I’m ready in any way to become an independent breeder anytime soon, partly because I have some BIG shoes to fill, those of my mother. She has taught me the importance of breeders through her love and passion for breeding. I know I will see that same dedication and love for breeding in every single person in that Breeder’s Showcase ring this weekend. These breeders won’t be there just to show their dogs. They will be showcasing their breeding programs, as well as their love for what they do. How special is that?

The Working Group in the ring at the inaugural Breeder’s Showcase. Photo by Ethan Wheeler.

Something else that’s special at Santa Barbara this year is the lineup of judges. Mrs. Michele Billings from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., will judge Best in Show for SBKC day one on Saturday, along with 28 individual breeds that day alone. The following day, Carlos Fernandez-Renua of Madrid will also judge 28 breeds, with the majority of them in the Terrier Group, with Best in Show to follow. Not to forget, judging Best in Show for the Breeder’s Showcase this year is Mr. Michael Gadsby of Great Britain and Mr. Edd E. Bivin of Texas. Now these are just a few highlights of the judging lineup, but you can see the entire list of judges for the Breeder’s Showcase along with an impressive list of 2012 Honored Breeders on the SBKC website. Just click here.

The tables are set for al fresco dining during the judging of the Breeder’s Showcase. Photo by Ethan Wheeler.

This is a weekend that you don’t want to miss! So, if you’re like me right now, en route to this beautiful show, or planning to attend, make sure to find me and say hello! I will have my camera handy, snapping shots, and hoping to see many familiar and new faces! I cannot wait to find out what this weekend brings and to watch all of the great dogs. I will also be blogging about my adventure, so keep an eye out for that. The fun starts tomorrow!

Don’t forget, Dogs Freakin’ Rule!

To see more of Terry d. Chacon’s work, visit the artist’s website, AFGHANBUDDIES blog, or join her Facebook page.