Carly likes to be the center of attention. When her owner is approached on March 9 in a vacant judging ring at the Columbia Kennel Club’s American Kennel Club Conformation and Obedience event at the Boone County Fairgrounds, it is clear that Carly, a Pembroke Welsh corgi, is miffed that this stranger is not there to be her sole audience and makes her protest heard. Carly, also known as Ch. Coventry Vanity Fair, is a champion. “She is the top-winning Welsh corgi in America right now,” says her owner and handler Bill Shelton. Shelton and Carly travel from their home in Pomona, Calif., to more than 100 dog shows a year.
“We are gone almost every weekend to shows or events,” Shelton said. “Just like a hobbyist spends their time and money on a boat, we put our resources into Carly.” It takes a distinct personality to be a successful show dog, and though Carly is vocal about being left out at first, she quickly relaxes near the edge of a show table where she has been placed by Shelton to save her white and caramel fur from the compacted dirt floor. She rests her head on her paw, one eye droops shut, and her ears twitch in response to the changing inflections of Shelton’s voice as he elaborates on Carly’s accomplishments. Later that day, Carly continued a winning streak begun on Saturday with Best of Breed and first in the Herding Group by capturing Best in Show.