Hermitage sheltie prepares for Steel Valley dog show

CANFIELD — His name is a mouthful: CH Damingo Marksman’s Hi Speed Bullet.

He weighs only 25 pounds and stands 15.5 inches high at his shoulders. But as small as he is, he lives up to that tongue-tripper name.

Marko, as he’s known for short, is one of the top 25 sheltie dogs in the country this year. He’s No. 22.

He lives with his owner, Marlana Tice, in Hermitage, Pa., where she showed him off Friday. She went through some of the moves they will make in the ring during the annual Steel Valley Cluster Dog Shows this week at the Canfield Fairgrounds.

First, she had to make him as pretty as possible. With a spray bottle, she misted water over his coat and brushed it in.

Shelties, she explained, are a coat breed — meaning that to show them, they must have lots of coat.

Marko has no problem in that department. With his gorgeous hair fluffed out around him — it fluffs better with moisture, that’s the reason for the water — he looks like he’s more coat than dog.

With his alert, intelligent eyes, he watched Tice as she coaxed him to perform as he will in front of judges at the dog shows, which begin Thursday and run through Sunday.

Tice stepped off her patio onto her backyard. Marko followed.

In the ring

“Marko ... watch mom! Oh, you’re being a little poop today!” she said as he turned his head away, his ears down instead of up and cupped forward as they’ll need to be.

Time for the secret weapon — a hunk of string cheese.

“Cookies, Marko,” she announced. Suddenly those ears were up. She had his attention.

Treats are allowed in the dog show ring, she said, though when she talks to him there, the commands will be more formal — “stand and stay,” and “watch me.”

Marko, who’s 5 years old, will compete there as a conformation dog — meaning he’ll be judged on how well he conforms to breed standards for size and coat, she said.

Other show categories are obedience and agility.

Read the full story Monday in The Vindicator and on Vindy.com

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