Pet Tales: Bushy Run Kennel Club dog shows have their own cachet

The Bushy Run Kennel Club dog shows next weekend are among the smaller American Kennel Club shows, but they are a big draw for competitors and spectators.

The outdoor shows in Northmoreland County Park in Westmoreland County are free and feature obedience and Rally competition both days. Nearly 100 breeds will be judged.

“They are nice shows. There is a relaxed atmosphere, a picnic atmosphere,” said Nancy Glabicki of Plum.

She’ll be there with a Belgian Tervuren, whose official name is Champion Nicha Cut to the Chase. At home, she calls him Cutter.

He has at least 13 titles after his name, including Canine Good Citizen and UDX — which is the AKC Utility Dog Excellent title, which requires a high degree of training and skill, including scent work.

Ms. Glabicki has been training and showing dogs for more than 40 years, and she also judges conformation at AKC shows. But at Bushy Run, she’ll be competing in obedience with Cutter rather than judging.

A total of 492 dogs are entered next Saturday and 490 on July 2. Entries both days include 33 dogs in obedience and 24 in Rally, which is arguably easier than obedience competition because the dogs are on leash the entire time in the ring and the handlers can talk to their dogs — commanding and cajoling — as much as they want.

Dogs competing in obedience and Rally are run to watch, especially in the more advanced classes. Dogs heel off-leash, jump over hurdles, and retrieve wooden or metal objects.

Ms. Glabicki teaches dog training classes at the Westmoreland County Obedience Training Club in Delmont. The club’s 200 members train and teach there regularly, but classes are also available to the public, including dog owners who aren’t interested in competing. The club also has a large therapy dog training program. Their dogs make visits to hospitals, nursing homes and schools

A number of the club’s members will compete at the Bushy Run shows. Karen Schroeder of Murrysville will be there, but she will be without her golden retriever Skye, 4, whose titles include UDX. Ms. Schroeder is one of the judges for the obedience competition. 

The Bushy Run Kennel Club has 40 members. “It’s a great club for people who are starting out” in canine competition,  said Cindy Mason, its recording secretary. 

The club’s youngest member is Natalia Backos, 10, of Greensburg.  She will compete in conformation with her 2-year-old Parson Russell terrier, Champion Windy Rise New Kid in Town. In conformation, a dog’s physical appearance and gait are judged for how closely it conforms to the standard of their breed. 

The breed standard for Parson Russell terriers says they should have a “harsh weatherproof coat with a compact construction and clean silhouette.”

The park where the dog shows will be held is in Vandergrift. But for GPS purposes, its address is 280 Markle Road, Apollo 15613.

Hours for obedience competition are 8-11 a.m. next Saturday, resuming at 12:30 p.m., and 8 a.m.-noon July 2. Rally is 9-10:45 a.m. the first day and 9-10:25 a.m. the second. Conformation starts at 9 a.m. both days. Group judging starts at 3:30 p.m. Saturday and at 2:30 p.m. July 2.

Linda Wilson Fuoco: or 413-263-3064.