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Gentle Giants of Dog Kingdom invade Lancaster County - abc27 WHTM

Gentle Giants of Dog Kingdom invade Lancaster County

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The Lancaster Host Resort and Conference Center is known for its great accommodations, but last week it went to the dogs. Newfoundland dogs. Six hundred of them from all over the United States and Europe, in town for the Newfoundland Club of America's National Specialty Show.

It was five days of camaraderie and competition featuring the "gentle giants" of the dog world.

Through every event, owners rewarded their dogs with love when ribbons weren't earned.

Veteran obedience judge Arthur Cartwright says each dog starts its trial with the maximum score, then he subtracts points with mistakes.

"Dogs are trained to do the same exercises and they have to do them right," he explained between trials. "They have to be perfect."

Weighing an average of between 125 to 150 pounds, Newfs can be intimidating at first glance. But, those who know the breed say that's just more dog to love.

Debbie Dennison brought her dog from Raleigh, North Carolina for the show. She's a second generation Newfie lover.

"It's just their sweet temperament. That's what gets me every time," she said. "And I love how gentle and sweet they are."

Dennison does caution that this easy-going, loyal breed does have its drawbacks.

"Newfies do droll and shed a lot," said Dennison. "So, for this reason, it's not the breed for everyone."

Kathy Harvan of Mechanicsburg noted that these king-size canines don't seem to notice their size.

"They're very loving and gentle and they just want to sit on the couch with you," said Harvan.

Throughout the event, the dogs were put through their paces in obedience, carting and best of show, with grooming a seemingly endless undertaking.

"I think when they get groomed and bathed and scissored and combed, they know it's show time," said Ted Corey of Demoine, Iowa, finishing a two hour grooming of one year old Annie.

Once in the arena, owners and Newfs were greeted with warm applause as they showed their dogs and paraded them around the show floor perimeter.

Participants say the travel and show preparation can be exhausting, but the many friends made at these events and the joy they get from competing makes it all worth it.

"The downs are down, but, when you win, there's nothing like winning," chuckled Corey, leading Annie into the arena.

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