Three days of competition at the Purina Events Center in Gray Summit, Mo., brought together more than 600 dogs for United Kennel Club conformation, agility, obedience, rally obedience, lure coursing, Terrier races and dock diving.

A Longhair Dachshund finds a safe place to wait among the 600-plus dogs competing at the 2012 UKC Gateway Nationals. Photo © United Kennel Club.

The UKC Gateway Nationals, in their third year, were designed to support the registry’s “Total Dog” philosophy, according to Tony Vacha, executive director of performance events. “It is our firm belief that, in conjunction with our conformation show, dogs should compete in performance events, as this is the best health test possible,” he says. “As a departure from registries that place emphasis on a dog’s looks, UKC events are designed for dogs that look and perform equally well.”

At the 2012 UKC Gateway Nationals, German Shorthaired Pointer UNJ GCh.Vomhart’s Odyssey Code of Honor, owned by Audrey Reed and Jennie Dunaway, was Total Dog Best in Show, and Patterdale Terrier USR URO1 UWPV UFCH CA UWPCHX GCh. 5Star Vntg History in the Makin, owned by Valerie Ann Piltz and Nickie Gunther, was Total Dog Reserve Best in Show. To qualify for the Total Dog rings, a dog had to win in conformation on Friday and do a qualifying run in a performance event the same day.Photo © United Kennel Club.

To that end, 8 percent of the dogs entered over the October 26-28, 2012, weekend, competed in more than one event either indoors or out, where the weather was cold, but sunny. “Typical for this time of year,” Vacha says. Competitors traveled from as far as Washington, Oregon, Virginia and Texas.

Total Dogs Do It All

One competition you won’t find anywhere other than at UKC shows is the Total Dog. To qualify during the Gateway Nationals, the dog had to win Best Male/Female of Variety, Best Male/Female, Best of Winners, Champion, Grand Champion, Best of Breed, Best in Multi-Breed Show, or Reserve Best in Multi-Breed Show, or Champion Award of Merit points or Grand Champion Award of Merit points on the first day of the nationals, and, on the same day, earn a qualifying score in a performance event. On Saturday, a parade of “Total Dog” qualifiers kicked off the Total Dog competition within each UKC Group.

At the end of the judging, German Shorthaired Pointer UNJ GCh. Vomhart’s Odyssey Code of Honor, owned by Audrey Reed and Jennie Dunaway, was Total Dog Best in Show and Patterdale Terrier USR URO1 UWPV UFCH CA UWPCHX GCh. 5Star Vntg History in the Makin, owned by Valerie Ann Piltz and Nickie Gunther, was Total Dog Reserve Best in Show. (For a complete listing of UKC titles, click here.) Winning the Groups were the Patterdale in Terrier, of course; the German Shorthaired Pointer in Gun Dogs; Doberman Pinscher URO2 Ch. Stonefox Ring of Fire, owned by Karen A. Shivers, Guardian Dogs; Papillon URO1 Ch. Ezee’s White Diamonds, owned by Kathryn S. McHugh and Elaine S. Zech, Companion Dogs; Australian Shepherd UAGI URX UCD UROC GCh. Skycove’s Silent Countermeasure, owned by Harry R. Owens Jr., Herding Dogs; ShibaWilhaven’s Enjoy the Ride, owned by Elizabeth Williams, Northern Breeds; and Whippet UMJCH CT URO1 Shojin’s How Hard Can This Be, owned by Charlotte Pond, Sighthounds and Pariah Dogs.

Taking the top spots in the third of a six-show series were Best in Show Chinese Shar-Pei Ch. Nustar Dolly Pardon Me Boys, owned by John E. Kerstein and Gary Richards, and RBIS German Shorthaired Pointer Europa Aus Der Abendstern, owned by Jennie Dunaway, under judge Skip Stanwick. Photo © United Kennel Club.

Six Shows in Three Days

The Gateway Nationals include six conformation shows over three days, two each day.

Robert Collins was the Best in Show judge for the first show on Friday. He selected the Pomeranian, Ch. Jan Le’s Deck the Walls, owned by Judith Mehciz and Jana Klein, as Best in Multi-Breed Show, and the Siberian Husky, Ch. Shiver Esper of Enchantment, owned by Lisa Monge and Daniel Monge, as Reserve Best in Multi-Breed Show. For Altered Best in Multi-Breed Show, Collins chose GCh. Vomhart’s Keeping Up Appearances, the German Shorthaired Pointer owned by Jennie Dunaway, and for Altered Reserve Best in Multi-Breed Show, AlCh. EZ Goins Buzz Around Town, the Dachshund owned by Claudia Cochrane and David Cochrane.

Friday’s second show saw judge Danny Bussard give the nod to Newfoundland GCh. Kilyka’s Three Sheets at Aegir, owned by Nicki Dobson and Michael Vanek, as Best in Show, and Reserve to the Pom that won Best in Show 1. For Altered Best and Altered Reserve, Bussard picked the same two dogs as in Show 1, but in reversed placements.

Come Saturday, L.E. Stanbridge was on deck for Show 1 Best in Show judging, selecting Chinese Shar-Pei Ch. Nustar Dolly Pardon Me Boys, owned by John E. Kerstein and Gary Richards, as Best in Multi-Breed Show and German Shorthaired Pointer Europa Aus Der Abendstern, owned by Jennie Dunaway, as Reserve Best. Berger Picard AlCh. CA Dhyana of Double D Ranch, owned by Jennifer Cannon and Kristie A. Pope, was Altered Best in Multi-Breed Show, while Altered Reserve went to American Eskimo AlGCh. ‘PR’ Island’s Mystic Tundra, owned by Beth Piltz and Valerie Piltz.

Judge Katherine Short entered the Best in Show ring for Show 2. She chose Berger Picard UWP GCh. Alpha Natura Bacchus, owned by Deanna M. Donohue and Richard F. Donohue, as Best In Multi-Breed Show, and Kerry Blue Terrier Kerrisel’s Here’s Looking at You, owned by Reita Nicholson and Craig Nicholson, as Reserve Best. For Altered Best, Short pointed to Pembroke Welsh Corgi ROI UAGI GCh. CI Cymru Crystal Troch, owned by Kathy and Carl Graves. Papillon AlCh. URO1 Willow’s Pond Tastefully Simple, owned by Laura Inman, was Altered Reserve Best.

For the first Sunday show, judge William Sahloff selected the Kerry Blue Terrier that was Reserve Best at Saturday’s second show as Best in Show and the Shar-Pei that was Best in Saturday’s first show as Reserve Best. Standard Poodle CNC’s Lady Sasha, owned by Steve Thurston and Carole Thurston, was Altered Best, while the Dachshund repeated its Friday win.

Teresa Kocher was the final Best in Show judge of the weekend, choosing English Springer Spaniel GCh. Foxboro Judgement, owned by Mike Winkler and Jane Winkler, as Best in Show, and the Pomeranian Deck the Walls as Reserve Best. The Dachshund took Altered Best and the Standard Poodle, Altered Reserve Best.

Grace A. Freeman was a busy junior handler at the 2012 UKC Gateway Nationals. She was named Best Junior Handler by three different judges. Photo © United Kennel Club.

Junior handler Grace A. Freeman won Best Junior Handler in three of the shows, with Sketchbook Smarty Jones, a Standard Schnauzer owned by Liz Hansen and Grace Freeman. Cassie Rice, Joshua Freeman and Madeline Buehler took the top spot at the other three shows.

Three obedience trials saw Tina M. Widdows take her Papillon, URO3 Ch. Kyteral’s Coup de Grand Finale, as High in Trial on Friday. Photo © United Kennel Club.

Obedience Times Two

Also indoors at the Purina Events Center, dogs showed off their skills in both types of obedience – traditional and rally.

Friday’s High in Trial for obedience was URO3 Ch. Kyteral’s Coup de Grand Finale, a Papillon owned by Tina M. Widdows. The junior winner was Danielle Stuber with Pug URX2 UROC UCD UAGII Danielle’s Ornery Angel. In the rally ring, URX2 UCD UROC PA Imminent I’ll Be Watching You, Karen A. Shivers’ Belgian Sheepdog, was High in Trial.

On Saturday, both obedience High in Trial and junior High in Trial went to the Pug that won Junior High in Trial on Friday. The Belgian Shepherd repeated its rally win of Friday.

A Papillon goes through its paces in the rally obedience ring, but Belgian Shepherd URX2 UCD UROC PA Imminent I’ll Be Watching You, owned by Karen A. Shivers, was High in Trial all three days. Photo © United Kennel Club.

Sunday’s obedience trial brought new winners with Lynn K. Bauer and her Golden Retriever, Becksgold Jumping for Joy, taking High in Trial, and Ryan Klamm with Border Collie UAGI Bandit as Junior High in Trial. Rally obedience trialers couldn’t, however, get past the Belgian Shepherd who gave Shivers a three-peat.

Six agility trials gave juniors plenty of competition opportunities, including Ethan Dick and Bug, who were High in Trial in the first trial of the weekend.

Next, to the Agility Rings

While some dogs were busy showing off their obedience skills, others demonstrated their speed at taking jumps, flying through tires and skittering down tunnels in six agility trials. And some did both – well.

Friday’s High in Trials were both Border Collies –UGRACH11 Amy, owned by Tamera Prestin, and UGRACH Molly, owned by Gary D. Boggs. Junior High in Trials were URO2 UACH BUG, an AMBOR-registered, mixed-breed dog, handled by Ethan Dick, and Bandit, who would be Sunday’s obedience Junior High in Trial.

It likely comes as no surprise that another Border Collie, this time UGRACH10 Lilly of Leroy, owned by Donald E. Leonard, was Saturday’s first High in Trial. Junior High in Trial was Allstars Never Say Never (breed and handler name not available). The second trial of the day brought another High in Trial to Amy and the Prestins, as well as a Junior High in Trial to Bandit, this time handled by Ryan Klamm.

In Sunday’s final two agility trials, UWPO UAGII UGWPCH UROC UCDX Tanglewood A’Puma du Volant, a Belgian Shepherd owned by Heather L. Smith, took the first High in Trial,and Molly was again High in Trial for the second trial of the day. Ryan Klamm swept the Junior High in Trials on Sunday with Australian Shepherd UAGI Julie.

Five Terrier races during the UKC Gateway Nationals saw the feisty, energetic breeds using their speed for ribbons and fun. Photo © United Kennel Club.

Off to the Races, Terrier, That Is

Next we head outside, into that bracing, but bright, Missouri fall weather for five separate Terrier races. One hundred and thirty-one dogs of the go-to-ground variety, including Dachshunds, entered a variety of classes and height divisions for two basic types of races. Dogs could run full-speed on flat ground or take several jumps along the way in the steeplechase. Or, both, of course.

Dogs wear muzzles for this event, despite the fact that they are, according to the UKC rulebook, “excused from the race” for even threatening to “act aggressively toward another dog during the race,” let alone actually acting aggressively. It’s easy to see how, though, with these wiry types, it’d be tempting to nip at a fellow Terrier after the same lure.

Some of the key winners were URO1 Ch. Tuffy’s Terrible Tinkerbell, a Yorkshire Terrier owned by Susan L. Brasel; CA Ch. Lnoi’s Zach’s My Hero, a Border Terrier owned by Betty McNeil Scott and Bryon Scott;USR URO1 UWPV UFCH CA UWPCHX GCh. 5Star Vntg History in the Makin, the Patterdale Terrier owned by Valerie Ann Piltz and Nickie Gunther; and CA GCh. Sundial Walk Like an Egyptian, the American Hairless Terrier owned by Deborah L. Siira and Jeffrey P. Siira.

Results for lure-coursing and dock-diving events were unavailable as of Monday, Nov. 5.

However, Vacha did share a story about American Pit Bull Terrier Powerball, who earned his grand
champion title in dock jumping during the nationals. With a grand championship in conformation and in weight pull already secured, his third title prompted owner Valerie Piltz to jump off the dock after him. While it is traditional for dock-diving handlers to do this after a dog earns a personal best, it’s not typically done in 40-degree weather, Vacha says. This was “just yet another example of what makes UKC unique,” he says, pointing out that the pool, however, was heated well above the air temperature.