Local retriever wins "Best of Breed" at prestiguous dog show

MANCHESTER - Catherine Fisher, owner of the store Petcetera in Manchester and Frakari Kennels located in Middle Granville, N.Y., won Best of Breed for Labrador Retriever with her dog CH Frakari's Kool as Kiefer, more commonly known as "Kiefer," at the 2013 Westminster Dog Show at New York City in February.

Fisher had two dogs in this year's Westminster Dog show. Along with Kiefer, CH Frakari's Katydid or commonly named Kitsy, another Labrador Retriever, won second place female. According to the American Kennel Club, Kiefer is currently ranked tied for third among all Labrador Retrievers in Grand Championship Points with 34 championship points. Kitsy is ranked tied for 66 with five championship points.

Fisher has been showing dogs at a high level since 1967 at the age of five and started breeding dogs in 1974. In 1978 she moved to Vermont to work at Seaward Kennel and in 1984 a dog from that kennel won Best in Show at Westminster. She has now raised 10 litters in 30 years and said a lot goes into having success at such a high level.

"This discipline, it is really like a beauty contest. These dogs are judged by a standard," Fisher said. "The creation of the dog is a lot more in depth than the training because all they need to do is stand and let someone do a brief examination on them to look at the teeth and that sort of thing. Then they have to walk in a straight line in back, then in a circle. They are bred to be made well, with good posture and no or less medical problems."

Best of Breed is the dog selected for the award made by a judge to that dog chosen as the best representative of the breed. Once Kiefer won Best of Breed, he had a chance to win Best of Show, given to the top dog among all breeds, at Madison Square Garden.

"We didn't win [Best Sporting], but that's okay, she said. "We were very excited to even get that far, and this dog is just beginning his career." They lost to a German Wirehaired Pointer who was number one in all of the sporting breed last year."

The Labrador is a retrieving gun dog of medium size, with a dense, weather-resistant coat, an "otter" tail, and a clean-cut head with a "kind" expression. The first Labradors arrived in England from Newfoundland aboard fishing boats early in the nineteenth century, and imports to the United States began in the early 1900s. Labrador temperament is outgoing, indulgent with peers, human oriented and tractable. Labradors can be found in guide and assistance dog programs, and substance detection and search and rescue work. Since 1992, the Labrador Retriever has headed the list as the most popular breed in the United States, according to Westminster Kennel Club website.

The Labrador Retriever is part of the Sporting Dog Breed. According to the Westminster Dog Show website, the Sporting Breed are gun dogs that were developed to assist the hunter, and generally have high energy and stable temperaments. Pointers and Setters point and mark the game, Spaniels flush the bird, Retrievers recover the game from land or water.

The Westminster Kennel Club was established in 1877, making it America's oldest organization dedicated to the sport of purebred dogs and is America's second-longest continuously held sporting event, behind only the Kentucky Derby, which was inaugurated in 1975.


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