Dog show

Dog lovers flock to weekend dog show | Local News

If there’s anything you want to know about dogs, ask Anthony Cavallo.

Cavallo, 58, a resident of North Hill in New Castle, has collected more than 100 dog books since he was young, and for many years has attended the annual Memorial Weekend Classic dog show at the exhibition grounds of Lawrence County. He landed a job at the salon five years ago and is in his glory.

Former breeder of Cocker Spaniels, he participates in various tasks including cleaning the show rings. A secretary who signs people to the show referred to it as “an encyclopedia” of dog information.

“I’ve always loved dogs,” Cavallo said. He explained that the various races of judges are the ones that are new to the show. “That’s where they put their foot in the door.”

Cavallo plans to be out and about all weekend as the dog show, sponsored by three dog clubs, resumes its annual event, through Monday.

Cavallo can look at the many dogs gathered together on a leash and tell exactly what breed each one is, and whether they are newcomer entry varieties or long-established breeds. This year’s five-day show, which runs through Monday, is sponsored by New Castle Kennel Club Inc., Altoona Area Kennel Association Inc. and Trumbull County Kennel Club Inc., will involve approximately 1,500 dogs and 209 American Kennel Club- recognized breeds and varieties, according to Mark Kennedy of Murraysville, president.

The show is open to the public.

Kennedy estimated that the show had been in New Castle at the fairgrounds for at least 30 years. The event was canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he said, and there are new rules this year. People are required to wear masks and practice social distancing.

According to the show manual, the largest classes this year are Golden Retrievers with 39 entries, Boxers with 34 entries, followed by Australian and Pyrenean Shepherds, each with 31, and French Bulldogs at 29. Many classes only have one entry, if the dog is of an unusual breed. Other classes vary in size. Each breed of dog spends approximately two minutes in the judge’s ring per class.

Owners and exhibitors hail from many eastern states and have set up RVs and RVs on the grounds, as well as large enclosures for their beloved companions.

Hundreds of dog owners and breeders were on the fairground Thursday morning, cutting, drying, combing and brushing their precious pooches for the day’s upcoming events.

One of them was Debbie DeAngelis of Brackenridge, Allegheny County, who is at the dog show with her sleek 10-month-old Weimaraner that she calls “Libby.”

This is the first year of presenting DeAngelis. Libby’s real name is Silver Smith Sweet Land of Liberty, and this is her second show, DeAngelis said.

Candy Carswell came from Vermont to show off her 6-year-old Basset Hound named Pepe – the number one Basset Hound in the country two years ago. Pepe also won Best of Breed last year at the Westminster Dog Show. As she stood, cutting off her coat and getting it ready for the midday show ring, she explained, “That’s what I do for a living.”

Carswell is a professional handler and shows Top Field Basset Hounds. She has been showing for over 40 years and is the third generation in her family to show dogs, following in the footsteps of her father and grandfather.

Pepe was bred by Top Field, and he is also co-owned by Sue Frischmann and Claudia Orlandi, she said.

It’s the first show she’s been attending since COVID-19 canceled them all last year. She is looking forward this year to seeing many of the friends she has made over the years, she said. She has eight dogs with her at the salon, including eight Bassets, an English setter “and a retired Cocker Spaniel who came to show around.”

dwachter@ncnewsonline.com