PAM GRAHAM
pam.graham@age.co.nz

The Best in Show at the Black Hawk Wairarapa Kennel Association show on Armistice Day will receive a special poppy-coloured rosette as a tribute to those who served in World War I.

“The club wanted to recognise and remember 100 years since WWI ended, and we are also very aware of the role that dogs played in WWI,” said spokeswoman Solitaire Robertson.

“This is our tribute to those who sacrificed their lives for our freedom today, both human and canine.”

The club, which is more than 75 years old, has two shows on Saturday at the Clareville A&P Showgrounds, and a benefit show on Sunday, with more than 400 dogs entered in each.

“By presenting the poppy rosette to the Best in Show winner on Armistice Day, we can also ensure that competitors at the show get to remember and reflect on what the day means as they are not in the position to attend an official service due to the show.

“I’m sure that the owner of the dog who wins Best in Show will treasure the rosette and what it entails.”

Members of the public are welcome to attend the shows and there is no entry charge.

These are what is known as all breed championship shows. That means all kinds of dogs will be there. They’re all purebred dogs and are not allowed to be neutered.

They are called championship shows because those entered compete for challenge certificates, which are awarded to the top dog and the top bitch. When a dog or bitch has eight certificates it becomes a champion.

The top dog and bitch from each breed then go up against each other to be best of breed.

The best of each breed in a group then go into the ring. So, in the utility group, 15 Samoyeds entered are whittled down to one that goes up against the top Boxer, Bullmastiff, Mastiff, Dobermann, Newfoundland, Leonberger, Portuguese Water Dog, Rottweiler, Burnese Mountain Dog, Siberian Husky, St Bernard, Tibetan Mastiff and Schnauzer [miniature]. The winner is best of group.

Then all the seven group winners compete in the ring for Best in Show.

There isn’t a commentary so it can be hard for members of the public to work out what is going on in the ring, but people nearby will be happy to explain.

The Wairarapa shows are among the more popular championship shows on the calendar, in part because of the beautiful grounds used and the quality of judges, some of whom have come from overseas.

Trust House provided support this year, funding the judges’ accommodation.

There are events being held around the country on Sunday to mark 100 years since the end of World War I. After four years the fighting ceased at 11am – the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.

About 100,000 New Zealanders – or 10 per cent of the population at the time – served overseas during the war, and more than 18,000 lost their lives.

The rosette for Best in Show was made by a Feilding woman.