Dog Dances, Canine Costumes on Display

For MTDog owners get very creative in the costume competition. Last year a woman dressed up her dog as a butterfly.
For the past week, Olga Proskuryakova has been organizing dog-show activities that most people would have a hard time imagining. From finalizing the music for a choreographed dog-and-owner dance routine, to lining up sewing machines -- prizes for owners who have designed the best canine costumes.

This weekend is the annual International Dog Exhibition, which will run this time for three days instead of the usual two. On display will be 198 breeds in a variety of competitions ranging from the best young handler to the best puppy.

Dog shows have recently come under fire in the Western press. Mark Evans, the chief veterinary adviser to the RSPCA, told The Times of London, "Dog shows using current breed standards as the main judging criteria actively encourage both the intentional breeding of deformed and disabled dogs and the inbreeding of closely related animals."

Despite this, the show will go on in Moscow. Some breeds of dogs are making it to Russia for the first time, such as a miniature German Shepherd, but others like the Labrador, the Weimaraner and the bulldog are favorites. Experts from Israel, Latvia, Italy and Finland will fly to Russia to judge the dogs.

Admission to the event is free, and Proskuryakova said that if you could only go for one day, Sunday would be the best.

"They will have Best in Show, which is probably the highlight of the event."

Saturday also has an interesting lineup, with a weightlifting competition at noon and a costume competition at 3:30 p.m.

"Owners get very creative with the costumes," Proskuryakova said. "A woman last year had a winged costume on her terrier and held up in a way that made it look like the dog was flying. It was very cute." Proskuryakova predicts many more winged entries this year.

Sunday will have a patriotic theme to it, with a showing at 3:10 p.m. of Russian dog breeds, such as the Russian Black Terrier and the Borzoi. Sunday will feature a Frisbee-catching competition and the finals for an event called "freestyle," in which dogs and owners perform a musical routine of their own choosing. "Some owners train their dogs for half a year for this," Proskuryakova said. "But if it's a talented dog, it should be able to learn the dance in three months."

The annual International Dog Exhibition runs to Sunday at the LFK CSKA All-Russia Exhibition Center, located at 39 Leningradsky Prospekt, Bldg. 1. Metro Dynamo

In The Spotlight will return next week.