By Starrla Cray
DELANO, MN Ten-year-old Jacki Hanson is new to dog showing, but she’s already outshining her competition.
Jacki and her Shetland Sheepdog, Brady, were awarded first place in junior showmanship and best of breed at the Granite City Kennel Club dog show in St. Cloud in December.
“That was impressive,” commented Jacki’s mother, Emma.
At the Land O’ Lakes Kennel Club Dog Show in St. Paul, Jacki placed second in her class Jan. 7, and first in her class Jan. 8.
“I like dressing up, going different places, and being with the dogs,” said Jacki, a fifth-grader at Delano Middle School.
Her dog, Brady, is co-owned by Doug and Cathy Ohlendorf of KeDios Kennels in Delano.
“They do all the work with them, like grooming and getting them ready,” Jacki said, adding that she often visits the kennel to help with the process.
“Jacki’s still on the learning curve,” Emma said. “Presentation is very important. The dogs are manicured, practically.”
Both of Jacki’s parents grew up in the Delano area, and now live on 40 acres between Delano and Watertown. Her father, Dan, graduated from Delano High School in 1983, and Emma graduated two years later.
As a child, Emma became interested in dog showing through Wright County’s 4-H club. She stayed connected to the program, and now teaches 4-H classes in the summer, as well as dog obedience through community education.
Jacki’s 15-year-old sister, Erin, enjoys showing rabbits competitively, while her 17-year-old brother, Tyler, prefers hunting and fishing.
Jacki has been in 4-H since she was very young, but she didn’t start doing American Kennel Club (AKC) dog shows until about two years ago.
“My mom brought me to a dog show, and I decided to try it,” Jacki said.
At first, she participated in the conformation ring, which does not have an age requirement.
Recently, she became eligible for junior showmanship, and has been impressing judges with her performance ever since.
“You go different speeds, depending on the dog,” Jackie said. “With some, you run, and with some, you walk.”
“It’s a lot of studying and knowing ring procedures,” Emma added. “They check little things, like if you’re smiling, and standing straight and tall.”
Clothing choice is also important.
“It’s very fancy,” Emma said. “Guys wear suits, and girls usually wear dresses.”
“I have one lucky dress that I win with,” Jacki added, explaining that it has a black and white flower pattern.
In addition to showing dogs, Jacki also shows goats, pigeons, and rabbits. In the future, she hopes to have a career working with animals.
To learn more about the American Kennel Club, go to www.akc.org.