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Dog days . . . Cathy Wallace spends some time with her shih tzu, Basil. PHOTO: TYSON YOUNG

It is an exciting time for Oamaru dog judge and groomer Cathy Wallace, who will soon fly to Australia to judge at a shih tzu dog show.

The show starts in Bulla, Victoria, on June 9.

Mrs Wallace said she was excited about the opportunity, though she was not sure how many dogs would appear in the show dedicated to the relatively rare breed.

“I’d like to think that it’s going to be well supported. I know that numbers across the country in Australia are low, so it will be what it will be.”

Seeing the contestants – human and canine – getting to know each other was her favourite part of a dog show, she said.

“The camaraderie and sportsmanship between some of the exhibitors is really, really good.”

There were many things, including bone size, structure and coat quality, that had to be taken into account when judging a dog, she said.

A rewarding aspect of judging at a show was finding the perfect dog.

“It’s very rewarding, finding dogs that fit the breed standard.”

Ever since she could remember, she had had a passion for canine companions.

Her love for them had been manifested in her entering dog shows from about 1985.

She started with old English sheepdogs then moved to the Lhasa apso and shih tzu breeds.

In 1995, she stepped into the world of judging, and has had the opportunity to pursue that interest around the world.

“I love judging overseas because you’re not familiar with the people.

“It’s a challenge for me to get out there and judge. I enjoy it – I love it.”