Discover dogs – a day out for dog lovers
You may have guessed it by now, but in case you haven’t, I love dogs. My absolute favourite breed is the Golden Retriever, because of my golden guiding girl, who was my faithful companion for 10 years.
I don’t have a dog at the moment, but I never pass up on hug time with the Labrador, Greyhound, Saluki, German Shepherd, Yorkshire Terrier or Chihuahua Cross in our circle of friends. Oh ok then, and the random ones I meet on my adventures.
I’ve been wanting to attend the Discover Dogs event for a number of years and last year we did it. My partner and I travelled to the Excel Centre and entered a temporary world of soft furry snouts and waggy tails.
Of course I paid the Golden Retriever a visit, and checked out all the other types of retriever too, but the main aim for me was to find out what the other breeds look like. I knew about some of them from previous encounters or descriptions that I’d read in books, but some of the breeds, such as the mountain dogs, are more rare and you’re less likely to come across them in the local park. Being able to stroke them and talk about them with their owners gave me a much better mental image than anything I might have read about them.
The stalls are organised alphabetically in terms of dog breeds so you can either hunt out specific breeds if you’re interested in one (whether you are getting a dog from a rescue or a breeder, it’s still good to chat to people who already have that breed), or you can do what we did, which is to go along the line systematically and try to meet as many breeds as possible.
Our favourites were the Maremma Sheepdog, Canadian Eskimo Dog, Canaan Dog, Pyrenean Mastiff, Pyrenean Mountain Dog, Samoyed, Siberian Husky, Finnish Lapphund, Tibetan Mastiff, Rhodesian Ridgeback, Norwegian Bulhund, Newfoundland, Leonberger, Kooikerhondje, Japanese Akita Inu, Japanese Shiba Inu, Belgian Shepherd Dog, Bernese Mountain Dog, Border Collie, Brittany, Deerhound, Entlebucher Mountain Dog, Estrela Mountain Dog, Eurasier, Hovawart, Hungarian Vizsla, Hungarian Kuvasz, Irish Wolfhound, Griffon Fauve de Bretagne and Greenland Dog. As you can see, we tended to prefer the bigger dogs, although the Beagle in the picture was very sweet!
If you have a visual impairment, I would advise finding someone to go with, as it is a large exhibition with a constant flow of people and dogs and it was at times quite noisy. I think I would have struggled to negotiate the conference hall without sighted assistance. Even if I’d managed it with the help of many strangers, I think the idea would have been much more stressful and less enjoyable. As well as explaining which breeds we were approaching, my partner was also able to get me into good stroking positions, as there were often many people standing around each enclosure. It was also good to have someone with whom to share the experience.
There were usually several of each breed, so they could swap them around and it didn’t become too tiring for one dog.
Our main interest was the dogs, although there were other activities going on in the show rings. Classes were being judged, and I believe there were demonstrations too of what working dogs can do and dancing to music demonstrations.
If I had to suggest an improvement, I found the music too loud, especially towards the end of the afternoon. If noise sensitivity is a thing for humans, I’m sure it affects dogs too. Maybe it wouldn’t have been such a big deal outside, but I don’t think the music needed to be as loud as it was. After all, people were trying to talk to each other and the dogs’ hearing is better than ours.
Overall, I really enjoyed my day and I felt that I learned a lot from it. So many different types of fur. Floppy ears, pointy ears, silky ears. I’ve been following the antics of some Tibetan Terriers on Facebook and now I finally know what the breed looks like, as well as many other breeds that I didn’t even know existed. If you love dogs, it’s a really good day out.
This year (2017), Discover dogs is on 21st and 22nd October. If you want to find out more, you can go to the Discover Dogs website.
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