Hobby turns into com­pe­ti­tion

Pottstown na­tive and his dog will vie for awards at Na­tional Dog Show

The Mercury (Pottstown, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Mar­ian Den­nis mden­nis@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @Mar­i­anDen­nis1 on Twit­ter

OAKS » Lo­cal fans of the Na­tional Dog Show shouldn’t be sur­prised if they see a fa­mil­iar face dur­ing the com­pe­ti­tion.

Don Davis, a dog han­dler and owner from the Pottstown area, will be com­pet­ing with his dog, Swag­ger, dur­ing the Na­tional Dog Show go­ing on Nov. 18 and 19 at the Greater Philadel­phia Expo Cen­ter in Oaks.

Swag­ger is a pure­bred Mas­tiff that will be about 6 months old by the time of the com­pe­ti­tion.

“I got into show­ing when I got my first Mas­tiff back in 2009. I picked it up as a hobby, thought it looked like some­thing fun to do and I was hooked,” said Davis.

Al­though rel­a­tively new to the han­dling scene, Davis and Swag­ger have plenty to boast about. In the time Davis has been han­dling Swag­ger, the dog has earned sev­eral awards that Davis is hop­ing will con­tinue into the na­tional com­pe­ti­tion.

“We showed a few times last year and let him take a break so he could grow

up and ma­ture and got him back in Septem­ber. He’s won “Best of Breed” twice and “Win­ners Dog” at ev­ery show since Septem­ber,” said Davis.

“Points are based on how many dogs are en­tered. If he was the only male dog en­tered he wouldn’t earn any points. The points go to­ward cham­pi­onships. He needs 14 points to be­come a cham­pion, so each “Win­ners Dog” win he earns points. He has 12 points and needs only three more to be­come a cham­pion. I’m hop­ing to get those points at the Philadel­phia show,” he ex­plained.

Those wins didn’t come with­out some dif­fi­culty, how­ever.

“There’s a han­dling class and I take one in Lim­er­ick and get pup­pies started as early as pos­si­ble so they get to learn the rou­tine and have a judge go over them, the move­ments that are ex­pected. We have that twice a week. The most chal­leng­ing part of it is, even though I’m a han­dler now, I’m still rel­a­tively new. That’s quickly chang­ing though.”

Davis said he has been for­tu­nate to work with Swag­ger, who he says is pretty in tune with how the com­pe­ti­tion works.

“With Swag­ger, other than when he was a puppy, I re­ally didn’t have any prob­lems. He seems to know what to do when I put his show col­lar on. He knows it’s time to work,” said Davis.

Some of the best parts for Davis, aside from ac­cu­mu­lat­ing points to­ward a cham­pi­onship win, have been the peo­ple he has met along the way.

“While win­ning is the ul­ti­mate goal, what I re­ally like most is all of the friend­ships that I’ve made. I’ve be­come friends with many han­dlers and own­ers, from all over the coun­try. There are peo­ple that I look for­ward to see­ing at most lo­cal shows. There are also many peo­ple from other parts of the coun­try that I only get to see a cou­ple of times, a year,” said Davis.

The Na­tional Dog Show is sched­uled for Satur­day, Nov. 18, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sun­day, Nov. 19, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the Greater Philadel­phia Expo Cen­ter in Oaks.

The Na­tional Dog Show is hosted by the Ken­nel Club of Philadel­phia and is an an­nual cel­e­bra­tion of dogs dat­ing back to 1879. More than 180 Amer­i­can Ken­nel Club sanc­tioned breeds will be among 2,000 of the na­tion’s top dogs to com­pete for the ti­tle of “Best in Show,” “Best of Breed” and “First in Group.”

Tick­ets are avail­able online at na­tion­al­dogshow.com.

PHOTO COURTESY OF LAURA WE­BER, 15 MIN­UTES INC.

Don Davis, a Pottstown area dog owner and han­dler poses with his dog Swag­ger. The pair will be com­pet­ing in the Na­tional Dog Show that will take place Nov. 18 and 19.

PHOTO COURTESY OF LAURA WE­BER, 15 MIN­UTES INC.

Don Davis shows off his pure­bred Mas­tiff, Swag­ger, who will be com­pet­ing in the Na­tional Dog Show in Oaks on Nov. 18 and 19. The pair al­ready have a few awards un­der the belt and are hop­ing to earn some more at the com­pe­ti­tion.

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