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Four-legged champ draws raves at National Dog Show

South Boston News
Angus poses with his breeder, owner-handler Bridgette Clary at their home in Brodnax. Angus loves treeing squirrels in the surrounding woods. (Steve Hinzman photo) / December 09, 2020
His title and formal name are “GCH, CGCH, Stack ‘Em Up the Business Breed” and he is the winningest Treeing Walker Coonhound in the United Kennel Club and is one of the winningest in the American Kennel Club — but this champion prefers to be called Angus.

Angus, bred, owned and handled by local hound aficionado Bridgette Clary of Brodnax, recently traveled to the Philadelphia area to compete in the Pennsylvania Kennel Club National Dog show. The competition took place over Nov. 12-15 and was then televised, in part, on NBC on Thanksgiving Day following the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade.

Clary is unique among her competitors as most owners choose to select professional handlers to present their dogs to the judges. Clary, who acts as her own handler, explained, “I’ve raised Angus from six weeks old, I know him, he knows me so I’ve always handled him.”

The National Dog Show is an annual event sponsored and presented by the Kennel Club of Pennsylvania. It has become a Thanksgiving Day tradition in many households over the years with folks enjoying the parade of prize canines while preparing the holiday feast and awaiting another popular broadcast pastime, football. Due to time constraints, only a very few dogs from each group make the cut for the televised broadcast. This year Angus was featured and he and Clary made a distinct impression.

This year’s show consisted of 600 entrants, down from as many as 2,000 in the past due to the pandemic. The dogs are separated into seven groups for preliminary judging: Terrier Group, Toy Group, Working Group, Sporting Group, Hound Group, Non-Sporting Group, and Herding Group. Angus participated in the hound group at the show.

The competition was fierce within the hound group with the eventual Best-in-Show winner, “Claire,” a Scottish Deerhound, defeating Angus for the group win. After group winners are chosen the seven winners are judged for the Best-in-Show title.

When asked about hunting with Angus, Clary said, “I don’t hunt him very often. I don’t want him to get scarred up [for obvious reasons] but after he retires, I’ll hunt him more often.

“He does like to hunt squirrels,” she said, gesturing to the forests surrounding her farm. “He’ll tree a squirrel in a minute.”

Like most hounds Angus is a lovable, affectionate dog. The breed is described as “smart, brave and a sensible hunter. The Treeing Walker Coonhound is a genuine American favorite that will stir your soul with their gentle pleading expressions.”

As is obvious from his invitation to the national show, Angus is an outstanding example of the breed. A partial list of his notable victories include:

» AKC Westminster Kennel Club Best of Opposite Sex

» AKC National Championship Best of Breed

» AKC National Dog Show Best of Breed

» UKC Gateway Nationals Best in Show winner

» Multiple UKC Premier Best in Show winner

» First Treeing Walker Coonhound Male to become a UKC Emerald Grand Champion

» First and only Coonhound (to date) to ever win the AKC NOHS Hound Group Finals in Orlando, Fla. Angus won the title twice, in back to back years.

» Multiple AKC NOHS Hound Group winner

» Multiple AKC NOHS Best in Show winner

» AKC Hound Group Winner

» Multiple UKC Best in Show winner

» Multiple UKC Reserve Best in Show winner

» UKC Best in Coonhound Specialty winner

“To list all of his achievements would take up an entire edition of The Sun,” said Angus’ proud owner.

Clary, who obviously loves this animal very much, said, “He would never be offered for sale. I’ve had lots of people ask but Angus is a pet first and a show dog second. He’s priceless to me.

“I owned Angus’s dam, Cassie, I got her when she was eight weeks old and raised and trained her. I won several awards with her and when I went to college, I didn’t have time to show any more, so I sent her back to her breeder to show and to be bred.

“We ended up picking her stud together and it was funny because we joked the two would either produce something amazing or something that was a complete flop,” she said.

“I was looking at pictures of all of the puppies in his [Angus’] litter around a bowl eating and he was the tallest one and had these two spots right at his butt and that’s how I picked him out.” Clary added, “I told the lady who had them I don’t care if it’s a male or female, that’s the one I want because I love the butt spots. I can’t believe the puppy I picked out because of his butt spots has done everything Angus has and set all the bars for the breed that he has!”

Angus is now seven years old and his show career is winding down. Clary expects to retire Angus from competition after this year. His last hurrah may be the AKC National Championships scheduled to be held this Dec. 12-13 in Orlando, Fla. Angus will be looking to add to his impressive list of victories. A live stream of this event is available by visiting The Treeing Walker Coonhounds with be broadcast at 8:45 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 12.

Competition is in Angus’ owner’s blood, however, and she will continue showing with other dogs that are already members of her Leeview Kennels after Angus’ retirement.

“Leeview Kennels GRCH Johnson Creek Hear Me Roar” — also known as Nala — is a 3-year-old Bluetick Coonhound bitch who will finish 2020 as the top-ranked Bluetick Bench Show Coonhound in the country. She had a great year at the shows she actually got to compete in despite the pandemic. A few of her big wins for 2020:

» Grand American Overall Champion Female

» Tennessee State Overall Champion Female Friday & Saturday

» North Carolina State Overall Show Champion

» Ohio State Queen of Show

» BBOA Zone 5 Championship Queen of Show

Also a member of the Leeview stable is Angus’ son’s dog, “10-19 Shots Fired @ Leeview,” a.k.a. Hank. Hank is Clary’s up-and-coming show ring prospect whom she hopes to see follow in Angus’ footsteps.

It’s safe to say that it’s a dog’s life for Clary.

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