A Great Dane in action during PCCI Philippine Circuit 2019 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum
Philippines Circuit 2019: Asia’s biggest dog show
Annie Alejo (The Philippine Star) - January 18, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Her name is Elsa. She has a red ribbon in her shaggy brown hair. She looks blithely at the camera and gently blinks as her picture is taken.

His name is Whiskey. He’s an active boy with a wide smile. He seems to like making friends and greets people who come near him enthusiastically.

Elsa is a young Yorkshire Terrier; Whiskey, a vigorous and amiable young Bull Terrier. Both delightful dogs are multiple winners this year at the Philippine Canine Club, Inc.’s (PCCI) Philippine Circuit 2019.

Known as Asia’s biggest dog show, the PCCI Philippine Circuit 2019 was held recently at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. Now on its fourth straight year at the Big Dome, it continues to draw the best of the best among purebred dogs from the Philippines and other parts of the globe.

A Siberian Husky smiles for the camera.

Elsa and Whiskey are only two of the many striking breeds that took home ribbons upon ribbons of recognition — among them Best In Show-Philippine-born for the former, whose father is also a multi-awarded dog and mother a Hall of Famer; and several Best Junior In Group accolades for the latter.

Augusto Benedicto “Dinky” Santos III, president of the PCCI, says, “Most of (the participating dogs) are from overseas. We have dogs that are one or two per breed. Hopefully, we get more breeds next year.”

Among the breeds at the dog show with only one entry are the Borzoi, Italian Greyhound, Saluki, the wonderful Whippet, Rhodesian Ridgeback, Britanny Spaniel, Puli, Belgian Tervuren, the Giant Schnauzer and the Affenpinscher.

(Left) Elsa, the multi-awarded 10-month-old Yorkshire Terrier. (Right) Nina, the multi-awarded Pomeranian, with her owner Svetlana Mironenko and her Best In Show ribbon.

He adds that popular breeds are still the Shih Tzu, but the number of Welsh Corgi entries has increased. This year, they are just behind the Pomeranians — these cuties always get the most applause — with 35 entries, and the Siberian Huskies with 33.

People are naturally attracted to dogs, as evident in the number of people taking pictures of them and putting them on Facebook. And while most would ooh and ahh over the smallest canine cuties, you would always hear a gasp of awe among people when a giant breed like the Great Dane comes out.

“That’s Scooby Doo!” noted one audience member as the glorious German dog known to many as a gentle giant posed for pictures at the Green Gate lobby stage set-up.

Romanian judge Petru Muntean (second from left) with the dog show’s last day winners of Best In Show-Philippine-born.

There were nine entries of the Black & Harlequin Great Danes, and six of the Fawn & Brindle.

In terms of small dogs, there were 10 Miniature Pinscher entries that competed in the dog show. There were 15 entries for Daschunds, divided among Minatures, Standards and Rabbits.

For Russian dog owner Svetlana Mironenko, having her beloved dog compete and win brings her joy. Her two-year-old Pomeranian charmer Nina took home an elaborate ribbon for Best In Show.

One of the Great Danes having a photo taken at the PCCI Philippine Circuit 2019.

“It’s not the first time that she won (the award). She’s gone around the world and she’s been a champion already. She has won in many countries,” Mironenko says proudly. “She started when she was just a puppy, but she’s already won Best In Show around the world.”

As for the proud dog owner, she says she participated in the first show of PCCI here in the country, eight years ago. “Every year my dogs compete here. If I don’t come, my dogs still go here,” she adds.

While different dog breeds are judged together to win the Best In Show title, Romanian judge Petru Muntean explains, “First of all, (we look at) the quality of the dog. Because it’s Best In Show, the dog must impress, must give the pleasure to put him first in the podium. 

“When you are a judge, you must be capable to tell the difference (among breeds). It doesn’t matter if you’re comparing plums with apples, (you should be able) to choose the fruit which is tastier or more attractive. It’s the same in this situation,” he adds.

Whiskey, the amiable Bull Terrier who won several prizes, poses for a photo with his owners.

But you don’t have to be experts at breeds to enjoy the dog show. Open to the public, audience members got to enjoy looking at all the dogs being paraded by their proud owners. Dogs sometimes even pose for pictures with people that chance upon them at the gate. It’s also a fairly stress-free way to spend the day, as the PCCI dog show opens around 9 a.m. and ends around 7 p.m.

Santos, who has already announced the dates to next year’s dog show, maintains that the Philippine Circuit is getting better each year with the support of Smart Araneta Coliseum, which gives them ample support and space to improve their shows.

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