Gulf Coast Classic dog show returns to Biloxi

By WLOX Staff

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Pooches of all varieties put on their best show faces this week in hopes of winning over the judges and going home top dog.  But the dogs don't wake up looking like showstoppers, it takes lots of grooming.

Nell LaCroix of Mandeville, Louisiana, spends countless hours getting her pups Petee and Camilla ready.

"I spend at least an hour per day, per dog to get ready for the ring," LaCroix said. "It takes many, many hours to get this coat.  You have to work this coat. It's very labor intensive."

Looks mean a lot, but they aren't everything, especially if you want to come out on top.

"It's a total package, you have to do a lot," dog handler Blair Aguillard said. "Just training and spending a lot of time with them, and just overall training and loving and companionship."

Blair Aguillard is just 17. She's one of the youngest handlers in the show, but she's got what it takes. She and her dog Patch have already walked away with a Best in Show award over the course of the week.

"I wanted a Best in Show award before I was 18, and I was counting down the months before I was 18, so I am super excited," Aguillard said.

Though the dogs do their best to put their best paw forward, once they step into the ring, it's all up to the judges.

"You just go and you pray.  It's kind of like gambling.  You put your money in the slot and hope it comes up 777.  On any day, anyone can win," LaCroix said.

The classic lasted for five days at the Mississippi Coast Convention Center in Biloxi.  The Best in Show award Sunday night went to the rough-coated collie.

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