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Pomp And Circumstance At The 2010 IKC Dog Shows

By Veronica Murtagh in Arts & Entertainment on Mar 1, 2010 6:00PM

Between Thursday and Sunday, 10,000 dogs of every size, shape and color descended on McCormick Place for the International Kennel Club of Chicago's annual dual show weekend. An '"benched" format made for the perfect chance to get personal with the pooches as they were meticulously groomed for their big moment. The purebred dogs competed in breed-specific bouts, with special categories for junior handlers and agility. Vendors, rescue and recreation leagues and therapy dog training groups were all in attendance, rounding out the weekend with information in addition to the accolades.

We made a special trip down to McCormick Place yesterday, armed with a camera, and hoping to catch both the poise of the ring and the leisure of dog show downtime firsthand. We found a unique subculture of dog lovers with a strong competitive spirit but surprisingly little pretension. Breeders were quick to not only provide information, but personal stories about their specific dogs. Attendees old and young alike were encouraged to interact with the animals who were always ready with a paw shake or a tail wag. The air in the venue was electric and we returned with hundreds of images documenting our day.

For the first of our two-part series, the competitors primp, prepare and strut their stuff in the ring.