White shepherds steal the show

June 25, 2007|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

HAGERSTOWN - For Donna Beadle, Sunday's competition was like rooting for a room full of underdogs.

"And I love the underdog," the Minnesota native said.

Beadle was one of about 15 handlers competing in the final day of a two-day white German shepherd event. It was the 35th annual National Specialty Show and Convention hosted by the White German Shepherd Dog Club International Inc., said Barbara Hively of Mercersburg, Pa.

Hively organized the three-day event at Sleep Inn & Suites in Hagerstown. A dog show was Friday and a members picnic and awards ceremony took place Saturday. The dog club is an international organization that protects the heritage and integrity of the white German shepherd.

Beadle said she considers white German shepherds to be underdogs because they are unable to compete through the American Kennel Club. Some owners said Sunday they prefer the animals' loyalty and temperment and are working to do away with that guideline.


Linda Lessler of Mercersburg, Pa., said her 5-year-old German shepherd, Merlin, took the best of breed prize Sunday, making him the overall winner.

Texas resident Diane Petrone's dog, Vanity, won the best of opposite sex award.

Lessler said about 25 dogs competed, including puppies.

"We're just people who love the white-coated shepherd," she said.

Lessler said the animals are judged on their bodies, their coats, nail pigment, temperment and other criteria.

"Shyness and agreession are bad," she said. "The most important thing for these dogs is movement."

Lessler's dog, Britt, took the best altered champion award, which is a prize for a dog that has been neutered.

Tracie Karsjens, of Rogers, Minn., traveled with Beadle, and her dog, Atlas, a 5-year-old male, won the prize for the best male dog that was not already a champion.

Karsjens said Atlas is a champion in other clubs, but has never competed with the White German Shepherd Dog Club International Inc. She said dogs are judged on the breed standard, which is the description of the perfect dog.

"A dog who enjoys showing is great," she said. "They really draw your attention."

On the Web

For more information about the White German Shepherd DogClub International Inc., go to

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