At the 2015 National Dog Show, Philadelphia, PA

2015 National Dog Show - Chris Duke

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November 16, 2015

It was a thrill to be at the National Dog Show on November 14-15, 2015, signing my posters in a lovely display area (pictured bottom right) surrounded by some of my original works. I loved meeting the handler I had illustrated in the show’s official poster. In the top right image, I am with Angela Lloyd, a top professional handler of many dogs. Back at the Westminster Dog Show, I had illustrated Angela with the magnificent Scottish Deerhound Hickory, who was honored Best in Show. At top center, I am pictured with David Frei, the forever fascinating television announcer of the National Dog Show.

Speaking with dog people at the show is sheer gift. Stories of a dog’s devotion are so often profound; dogs are healers. Through the conversations, I have come to feel an affinity for many more breeds than when I began drawing dogs, back when the strong and competent working group stole my heart. This year, I spent a lot of time with the Havanese breeders, finding myself in awe of the fluffy yet steely little characters. Dogs are unique; the individuality is what I love to capture when I draw. At the National Dog Show, the Lagotto Romangnolo, a breed newly recognized by the American Kennel Club, became one of my favorites. It is so fitting that this beautiful, ancient breed hails from Italy.

The National Dog Show has a relaxed friendly ambience. I talked to people who have attended every show from the beginning and would not miss a year. For me, every year has a particular character, dependent on the particular grand dogs who participate. It will be an honor to record something of each show in my paintings as years go forward.