MIDLOTHIAN – Midlothian resident Donna Bird is set to depart Feb. 10 for New York to once again, for the third time, show her champion Yorkshire terrier – registered name GCH AM/CAN (Grand Champion American/Canadian) Groveshier’s Under the Radar.

“But his nickname is just simply Radar,” said Bird, who has participated in shows for the past seven years. “This will be Radar’s third trip to the Westminster Kennel Club competition and this will be my sixth year to attend.”

Bird noted the painstaking process that is necessary to prepare her 5-year-old champion breed for show competition – of which there are three categories – the working, sporting and Radar’s category – toy.

She spends about two hours each week bathing Radar and putting special oil on his coat and wrapping him in deli-wrap to maintain his show coat. Purchasing him from a top Canadian breeder when he was 18 months old, Bird explains the different areas of competition and the qualities judges look for at Westminster.

“Of course, the dog’s coat is of prime importance,” she said. “But judges also watch for a level top-line, good reach and drive and attitude – they’re looking for that terrier attitude – not shy but not vicious.”

Bird isn’t satisfied resting on the fact that Radar is billed as the No. 5 Yorkshire terrier in the nation – this year, she intends to go for the big ribbon – best of breed.

The schedule for the four-day event includes Radar’s participation in the Progressive Toy Dog Show, the best of breed competition in the Yorkshire Terrier Club of America and participation in the Westminster Kennel Club, in which only champion dogs are admitted.

What is it that motivates Bird to be involved in dog shows?

“Being involved in this brings the family together and, for me, my involvement in this has educated me concerning connecting with good breeders and to stay away from puppy mills and backyard breeders,” she said. “Being involved in purebred dogs has really opened my eyes to the need to spay and neuter dogs and to only purchase dogs from reputable breeders – and also to support local shelters.”

For further information about the competition, visit the website at www.brooklynnyorkies.com.

Contact Paul at paul.gauntt@wninews.com or 469-517-1450.