HARRISON COUNTY, Miss. (WLOX) - Dog lovers and their furry friends are taking over the Harrison County Fairgrounds.
Over 500 dogs are competing in the Mississippi Gulf Coast Winter Classic Dog Show. The dog show was originally scheduled to be in Hattiesburg but was moved to Gulfport to better accommodate participants.
To compete, all dogs must be certified purebreds by the American Kennel Club’s (AKC) standards.
The dogs presented in one of five rings in the Harrison County Fairgrounds. Judges closely examined each dog’s physique and behavior.
The show give dogs and their trainers a chance to prepare for larger competitions. “We decided to stop here, we’re trying to finish this girl and it was a good opportunity," said Marlene Weiss, a professional dog transportation specialist.
“I’m leaving here and going to Orlando for the Nationals to present them there," said dog owner Walter Cunningham.
Some more experienced owners like Henry Byrd say they prefer to wind down after the show. He said, “I’m going back home after here, gotta go watch the Saints.”
The Mississippi Gulf Coast Kennel Club hosts the event and encourages good sportsmanlike conduct from all dogs and their owners throughout the competition.
Byrd has a word of advice to all dog handlers: be a good person. He says.. the dog is only as good as the trainer raises them to be.
“I think it adds to the caliber of person you are. If you love animals, you can love anyone," Byrd said.
Many of the competitors will participate in the AKC National Championship in Orlando, Florida on December 14 and 15, 2019.