Dogs and cats in every shape, size and color will be featured this weekend in dog obedience trials and an all-breed cat show at the State Fairgrounds in Timonium. Also, Cocker spaniels will compete in specialty shows at the Charles H. Hickey Jr. School.
Some 345 obedience-trained dogs and their owners or handlers are entered in classes for obedience points and awards in the 55th Obedience Trials of the Dog Owners Training Club of Maryland (DOTC), which will run from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday in the fairground 4-H building.
Entries are in novice, open or utility classes in either A or B in each class -- the A or B denotes advancement within the class. The highest degree obtainable will be in Utility B. The top winner will be the dog who scores the most out of a possible 200 points.
Other classes include eight braces, in which two dogs work with one handler; three teams in which four dogs and four handlers work in unison; and 13 obedience veterans, ages 8 and over.
Paul Blackman has been president of the DOTC for two years. The club was formed in the late 1930s. He and his wife Mary have been members since 1979. She is the coordinator of the club's annual picnic. They own a 10-year-old German shepherd named Niky.
"We've been involved with dogs all our married life and before," says Mrs. Blackman.
According to DOTC training director Tom Knott, this annual trial is one of the top 10 in the country. "Those who visit for the first time are most often astounded" at what an owner can teach his dog to do, he says, adding that "an obedience-trained dog is a happier dog."
Mr. Knott was the Baltimore City K-9 Police trainer for 16 years. He and his wife Mary Jean are delegates to the American Kennel Club and have been active in DOTC since the 1950s.
Admission Sunday is $2. Children under 12, with an adult, are free. Food will be available. For trial details call Patricia Conway, 945-8689 after 6 p.m., or call Hope and Katharine Buswell, 467-8315. Do not bring dogs who are not entered in the trials.
* If the purebred cat is your interest, then the Chesapeake Cat Club promises a two-day treat. The club's 29th all-breed cat show, certified by the Cat Fanciers Association, will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday in the Exhibition Hall at the fairgrounds. Cats will be judged in six rings.
Ron Swanson, club president, and his wife Pam, show manager, have been club members for 20 years. The couple raises Persian cats in their Baltimore County cattery.
Mrs. Swanson says the Chesapeake Cat Club was formed in the early 1960s and is the oldest in the area. Its annual show is also one of the largest in the country, she says.
"With nearly 400 entries this weekend, which represents most of the 31 breeds recognized by the CFA, our show is as big if not bigger than the one held in Madison Square Garden in New York last week," she adds.
"We are a breeders-only club," Mrs. Swanson explains, "but we do have a class in our show for household pets. We limit the entry to 36 cats and only one per household, which gives more owners a chance to enter and a better chance to win."
Food will be available and vendors from all over the country will offer a variety of cat-related items. And manufacturers will be giving out free cat food samples.
Admission is $4 general and $2 for senior citizens and children under 12. For details call the Swansons at (410) 683-1901.
* Soft and beautiful cocker spaniels will fill the gymnasium of the Charles H. Hickey Jr. School, 2400 Cub Hill Road, for two separate specialties on Saturday and Sunday. The 54th specialty of the Maryland Cocker Spaniel Club is on Saturday and the 50th anniversary show of the Capital City Cocker Club of Washington, D.C., will take place on Sunday. Time for each show is 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Admission is $2 for adults and $1 for children under 12. For Saturday show details call (410) 821-9064. For Sunday show details call (703) 777-3535.