If someone tells you that Hobbs and Lea County has gone to the dogs, this weekend, they may be right.
The Hobbs Kennel Club presents its annual group of dog shows Saturday and Sunday at the Lea County Events Center, with canines competing in eight different groups all having the ultimate goal of winning Best in Show.
While most people think of the weekend long event as a single dog show, they are actually each separate shows, one on Saturday and one on Sunday. Each day has different — or the same, if the dogs show well both days — breed, group, and Best in Show winners.
Dogs compete against other members of their breed, in hopes to advance to the group ring where the best of the breeds in that group competes. The groups are: herding, hound, toy, sporting (also called gun-dog), non-sporting, terrier, working, and miscellaneous class.
“We’ve got right at 450 (entries) both days, which is about like it was last year,” said HKC Secretary Karen Staggs.
The HKC show used to be in the same district as Texas shows, but several years ago, the American Kennel Club (AKC) moved the New Mexico shows to be in with other states like Montana and Idaho. Which does sometimes make it easier to make breed-specific majors — one of the points categories to determine when a dog becomes a champion — at NM dog shows.
“It’s kind of cheap majors in New Mexico,” Staggs said.
So a lot of people will come because of that.”
Each year there are always fan-favorite breeds as well as rare breeds people might not get a chance to normally see, so it is a great opportunity to find out about various dog breeds.
“It’s just a family fun event,” said HKC President and dog show chairman Allen Jackson. “We have a lot of different breeds represented. Everybody loves their pets, and it’s nice to come out and see all of the breeds.”
“We’ve got 18 Papillions. That looks like our biggest (breed) entry,” Staggs said while looking over the list of competing dogs. She noted two newly recognized AKC breeds will also be represented at the show. “The Dogo Argentino, we have seven of them, and they were just approved Jan. 1. And, we’ve got Biewer Terriers, which actually look like a party-colored Yorkie. Some people might like to see those.”
“Every year, I look forward to seeing the new breeds,” Jackson added.
And, a dog show isn’t something most people get to experience every weekend, or even every month.
“It’s something different,” Jackson said. “It’s not something you see every day as far as (entertainment) goes. You’ve got tractor pulls and rodeos and this is a different variety of something for the public to be able to come out and see and enjoy.”
One of the most famous dog shows in the U.S., the Westminster Dog Show, is the following weekend in New York, and many dogs traveling to the show, make a stop in Hobbs as a warmup for the big show. So, it is a good chance to actually get to see dogs that may compete for the most sought after title in the country.
“A lot of times, we have people come to these little shows on their way to Westminster,” Staggs said. “A lot of our dogs that are here, we end up seeing them the next week at Westminster.”
In addition to the main shows, the club will also host the National Owner Handler (NOH) show on Saturday only. It is what it sounds like, where the only people allowed to compete in the show are people who own and show their dogs. No professional handlers are allowed in it. About one-third of the total entries for the show on Saturday are also entered for the NOH show, with 141 entries.
Not only is there the chance to get to see the dogs up close and experience what a dog show is like, but there will also be vendors of various dog, and people, products, and a raffle with some great prizes. The proceeds from the raffle goes to the HKC to help with the cost of the show, and general club needs.
And, this year’s show is dedicated in the memory of a longtime and founding HKC member Kathy Flowers, who died on July 15, 2019.
“We dedicated this show (to her), because she was one of the backbones of the club,” Jackson said. “We all miss her.”
Judging starts Saturday morning at 9 a.m. and on Sunday, the judging starts at 8 a.m. Admission is free for both days.
For those interested in joining the HKC, or participating in events, meetings are held at 7 p.m. the first Thursday of each month at the kennel club, 2337 N. Jefferson. The club also offers obedience and handling classes that start in the spring.