Pet & Animal Expo – Sydney 2012
This year I was fortunate enough to go see the Sydney pet & animal expo located at the lavish racecourse in Rosehill, Sydney. Spanning over full two days, 18 & 19th of Feb, the event was the largest of its kind that I have attended.
Various forces were conspiring against us in attending the show. A guy I happened to speak to at the dog park on Saturday afternoon had dropped in at the expo and was expressing to me his general disappointment. Such anecdotal evidence was making me rethink our plans for the next day, after all at $15 dollars a head glancing at a couple of dogs in cages wasn’t exactly exhilarating. The next morning after dismissing the man’s opinion I was looking up the address of the place. About a fortnight earlier I glanced at the website of the organization and noted down the suburb. My reading comprehension that day must have left for a vacation as I read and was convinced the place was at Rouse Hill, a suburb half a Sydney away from the actual venue in Rosehill. At least the trusty GPS will know where to go, so off we went.
At first arrival the venue was larger than I had envisioned. A professional ticket booth and guard stood by the gate welcoming newcomers. The crowds were equal to those I have seen in popular theme parks. It was quickly clear that my preconceived ideas about the expo were incorrect. Lots of couples, elderly and families with children were dashing in all directions, this was different to the crowds I grew to expect at dog shows that mostly consisted of condescending breeders and obsessive post-menopause ladies. The expo was definitely for all demographics and was especially kid friendly. Right next to the entrance several rides were set up with a petting zoo and a pony ride not far from sight. Food stalls were scattered across the grounds keeping people full.
A simple map available near the entrance contained the lay-out of the place. Divided into two main areas, the dogs were placed by themselves into a separate section further along the foot path. A sign to the left led people into a capacious air-conditioned building that housed a variety of product stalls as well as the rest of the pets.
After checking out a few kiosks and speaking to the people manning them (scored some freebies) we were eager to ogle at a few animals. I finally spotted a some cages in the far end of the complex.
I enjoy the company of many animals and cats are definitely on that list. My parents own two cats (mother & son) and when I lived with them was fortunate to share a house with these felines. Cats are animals that have unique personalities just like dogs, and share traits that humans seek in animals i.e. loyalty and companionship.
I was definitely excited to see the best of the various breeds that the expo offered. Only a few month before I was reading up on assorted cat breeds. My curiosity in cat exploded when I got infatuated with a particular breed that was a popular meme of sorts on the internet not long ago.
Blue British Shorthair was the breed that in my view stole the show. Full-moon eyes situation on chubby rounded head were looking alertly at me as I approached the cage. The cat was more beautiful than the photographs circulating the internet; the entry price was worth just seeing the thing. Here are two photos that came out well. Love the vest in the second photo.
Another breed that I enjoyed seeing was the Maine Coon cats. These cats were the largest breed at the show, definitely packing 7 or 8 kilos on the scales. Unfortunately I couldn’t get good photos of most of them. The one I did snap has a horse face. See the link to the wiki page for some stunning photos of the breed.
Finally the breed that Charmaine and I both agreed were the cutest, even the name was charming, were the Munchkin cats. They are the dachshund (sausage dog) bread of the cat world. A genetic mutation gives the cats abnormal short legs. A couple of munchkin kittens on a table were showered with pats as the audience gravitated towards the balls of cuteness.
Some more cats and their beautified cages.
We finally proceeded to the dog section of the venue. The first guy we encountered had long well groomed hair braided in parts. The dog reminded me of the Germanic warriors who grew their hair out to give them a more threatening appearance.
The next funny bunch of dogs on display were the Griffon Bruxellois with their little beards and flat faces.
A stunning Collie sitting in her enclosure. Always associated this animal with success and affluence.
Another breed at the expo looked very similar to the Collie, they were the Shetland Sheepdogs. These guys were much smaller in stature but closely resembled their Lassie cousins.
There were a few Spaniels at the show. This is the American Cocker Spaniel if I am not mistaken.
While this is his friend the English Cocker Spaniel. Great breed IMO
Another Spaniel completing the trio and which I never heard of, was the Clumber Spaniel. The largest of the Spaniels apparently.
There was another breed under the Spaniel category who sat in another area. Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are probably the most popular of the group. It’s easy to see why, their gentle temperament, silky coats and small size wins many people over. These three guys were very accommodating with my photo taking.
A pair of dachshunds sticking next to each other enjoying each others company.
I chanced upon the following breed that I haven’t seen before. These dogs have huge heads compared to their bodies and large round eyes, giving them a friendly happy appearance. One of the handlers was nursing the dog and it looks so comfortable and relaxed in her arms. Sadly I forgot the name of the breed.
A good old Miniature Schnauzer, or as I refer to it the ‘professor dog’ with its stern eyebrows and trimmed beard. Is that a spit bucket next to it?
I forgot what racing dog this was, but its muscular physic was worth taking a photo of
I LOLed when I saw this dog with its haircut that the owner decided to give it. My first impression was the dog resembles a fluffy version of those automated floor cleaning robots.
This little poodle is giving me the evil eye. The owner kept telling me that she can’t work out how the ugly little thing produces beautiful babies for her.
I came across these two colourful guys: a Poodle and a Cocker Spaniel with some funky hair-dos
I got a picture with some Bavarian looking dog pulling a cart.
If I am not mistaken this was a Neapolitan mastiff. Not sure if it was the owner who is dressed up as a Roman soldier demonstrating the dog. Historically it’s not completely accurate. The Romans used an ancestral dog called a ‘Molossus’ that eventually created the Mastiffs as well as other modern breeds such as the Rottweiler’s, Great Danes, St Bernards etc.
Throughout the day a line-up of dog acts was running parallel to all the other attractions. We decided that the shows would be the last thing on our agenda, attending only at 3 in the afternoon. It was a good thing too because after walking around for several hours our feet demanded rest.
The arena in which the dogs were performing was in shape of a hippodrome with seats arranged length wise. We arrived just as the Dog agility was heating up. The dogs had to run through a course guided by their handlers that involved jumping over barriers, climbing, balancing on beams, going through a tunnel and even jumping on a see-saw.
The cattle dogs were the swiftest, completing the course in lightning times. Following them were other breeds. A witty toy Poodle followed by this little 11 year old guy seen in the photo, who was a retired veteran of the sport.
The next show features dazzling German Shepherds, who were part of the ‘German Shepherd Dog League’. Performing similar agility tasks to the prior dogs, the Shepherds also demonstrated complex line formations and owner recall skills.
In the first photo the dog that is lying down is the ‘learner’ puppy with a big ‘L’ painted on its side. At five months old this pup was still learning the tricks of the trade. Due to skeletal structures growing for the first 1.5 years of the dog’s life, the little guy wasn’t allowed any jumping routines.
The final act we watched was announced as ‘Dancing with Dogs’. Over all the performances were lackluster. To be fair I understood how long it would take for the dogs to learn the commandments that they did show, but it was a bit of a stretch to call the acts dancing. The music for some reason was cranked up to full blast making the viewing uncomfortably loud. The poodle in the photo was one of the best performers, demonstrating jumps, twirls, back peddling and coordinated running.
There were a couple of other things worth mentioning. The kids farm animal enclosure had a bunch of goats and sheep tame enough to pat. The same area had an enclosed duckling pond with perhaps one hundred little ducks swimming and basking in the sun. There were also a bunch of roosters and chickens, ducks and even a lama.
The other animals included birds that mainly comprised of Australian native parrots. There was a single blue and yellow Macaw that was handled by several people.
My final impression was positive. It was a great day and I would recommend the expo to other people next year when it comes around again.