Hobby turns into competition
Pottstown native and his dog will vie for awards at National Dog Show
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.
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.
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.