If there is anything you want to know about dogs, just ask Anthony Cavallo.
Cavallo, 58, who lives at North Castle, North Hill, has collected more than 100 dog books since he was a teenager and has attended the annual Memorial Weekend Classic dog show at the Lawrence County Fairgrounds for many years. He got a job on the show five years ago and is in his fame.
As a former breeder of Cocker Spaniels, he helps with a variety of tasks including cleaning the show rings. A secretary who signs people up for the show identified him as an “encyclopedia” of dog information.
“I’ve always been a big dog,” said Cavallo. He stated that different rating races are the ones who are new to the show. “That’s where you can get your foot in the door.”
Cavallo plans to be on the premises all weekend as the dog show, sponsored by three kennel clubs, is now resuming its annual event through Monday.
Cavallo can look at the many dogs gathered on a leash and tell exactly what breed they are and whether they are newcomers or long-standing breeds. This year’s five-day show, which runs through Monday, is sponsored by New Castle Kennel Club Inc., Altoona Area Kennel Association Inc., and Trumbull County Kennel Club Inc., which will feature approximately 1,500 dogs and 209 American Kennel Club members . recognized breeds and varieties, according to Mark Kennedy of Murraysville, chairman.
The show is open to the public.
Kennedy estimates the show has been held in New Castle on the fairgrounds for at least 30 years. The event was canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and there are new rules this year. People have to wear masks and practice social distancing.
According to the exhibition manual, the largest classes this year are Golden Retrievers with 39 entries, Boxers with 34 entries, followed by Australian and Pyrenean Shepherds with 31 each and French Bulldogs with 29. Many of the classes only have one entry if the dog is of an unusual breed. The other classes vary in size. Each breed of dog spends around two minutes in the judging ring per class.
The owners and exhibitors travel from many states in the east of the country and have set up mobile homes and mobile homes as well as large pens for their beloved companions on the site.
Hundreds of dog owners and breeders were at the fairgrounds Thursday morning, cutting, blow drying, combed and brushing their precious pooches for the day’s upcoming events.
One of them was Debbie DeAngelis of Brackenridge, Allegheny County, who is at the dog show with her slim, 10-month-old Weimaraner, whom she calls “Libby”.
This is the first year DeAngelis has been shown. Libby’s real name is Silver Smith Sweet Land of Liberty and it’s her second show ever, DeAngelis said.
Candy Carswell traveled from Vermont to show off her 6-year-old basset hound named Pepe – the number one basset hound in the country two years ago. Pepe also won the best of his breed at the Westminster Dog Show last year. As she cut off his coat and prepared him for the lunchtime show ring, she explained, “This is what I do for a living.”
Carswell is a professional handler, showing top field basset hounds. She has been showing for more than 40 years and is the third generation of her family to show dogs that follow in the footsteps of their father and grandfather.
Pepe was bred by Top Field and is also jointly owned by Sue Frischmann and Claudia Orlandi, she said.
This is the first show she’s been on since COVID-19 canceled them all last year. She looks forward to seeing many friends this year that she has made over the years, she said. She has eight dogs on the show, including eight bassets, an English setter “and a retired Cocker Spaniel who came with me”.