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Chain O’ Lakes Kennel Club hosts 29th annual winter show

Maureen McCreery St. Louis polishes toe nails her whippet named Bob ChaO’ Lakes Kennel Club dog show last weekend Lake

Maureen McCreery of St. Louis polishes the toe nails of her whippet named Bob at the Chain O’ Lakes Kennel Club dog show last weekend at the Lake County Fairgrounds in Grayslake. | CHRIS CASHMAN/FOR SUN-TIMES MEDIA

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Chain O’ Lakes Kennel Club

The Chain O’ Lakes Kennel Club hosts two all-breed shows every January at the Lake County Fairgrounds in Grayslake. The club welcomes new members who are interested in American Kennel Club dog events. For more information, visit www.colkc.com.

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Updated: March 28, 2014 3:29AM



The dog days of winter descended on the Lake County Fairgrounds last weekend.

“This is what we do for fun,” said Ken Murray, president of the Chain O’ Lakes Kennel Club, which hosted its 29th annual winter dog show Friday and Sunday. Sandwiched in between was the Park Shore Kennel Club Dog Show on Saturday.

More than 1,000 dogs were shown each day.

Dog shows are “one big elimination contest,” said Murray, who owns Dominoe Pet Resort in Island Lake. “We have 120 breeds here and seven groups of dogs. There will be seven finalists for best-of-show each day.”

Until a few years ago, Murray made a living showing dogs. “I was a professional dog handler,” Murray said. “I’ve been showing dogs since I was 12 years old. This is what we used to do for a living, our whole lives — show dogs.

Murray did his share of judging over the weekend, including best of show on Friday. He has been a judge and dog handler at the Westminster Dog Show at Madison Square Garden in New York. His wife, Virginia, will be a judge at Westminster in February.

He said good judges attracted a large amount of entries to last weekend’s shows in Grayslake.

“I’m really proud of this judging panel that we’ve got, because they are some of the best judges in the country. That’s what makes it a successful show, that’s why we have so many big-winning dogs from all over the country — and even British Columbia, Canada — that came here,” Murray said.

“The biggest secret to a successful dog show is to hire judges that are judging dogs, not people.”

He said there’s a camaraderie among dog-show people. “A lot of the people that go to the shows every week, they all get to be friends.”

But Murray admitted dog shows aren’t for everyone. “If you’re not really into it, watching a dog show is kind of like watching paint dry.”

Kris and Al Breyer of Wauconda were showing their 13-month-old Basenji named Cairo at the Grayslake show.

Cairo received a blue ribbon for best in breed, not just because he was the only one in his class.

“They don’t have to give a first place. They cannot pin him if he doesn’t meet the standard,” Kris Breyer said.

“He’s our fourth Basenji,” she said. “Cairo was supposed to be a pet, but when he was evaluated, the breeder said, ‘Good news, bad news — he’s a show dog.’”

Cairo has won a few ribbons in his short career. But seeing him compete in shows still takes some getting used to.

“He really looks fit,” said Al Breyer as he watched Cairo in the show ring. “I see him every day. I don’t see him under these circumstances. I just see him running around the house.”



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