Dog competition

Hoosier presents himself as the “best dog” judge in the international dog competition

ZIONSVILLE – On this last day of March and Women’s History Month, we spotlight a woman who stands out and represents Hoosiers, in the world of dog show competitions.

Nancy Arbuckle owns the Hunt Club Kennel in Zionsville, but people across the state know her well.

“I’m the Labrador person,” Arbuckle said. “(People tell me) they’re going to walk the Monon Trail and other people come up to them and say it’s an Arbuckle dog.”

Arbuckle said she breeds Labrador retrievers and for forty years Nancy has been an internationally renowned judge.

She has even taken award-winning Labrador retrievers to countless competitions.

“Temperament is the hallmark of our breed,” Arbuckle said.

From her first dog show as a child to judging the Westminster Kennel Club’s big dog show, it’s been a labor of love.

“You do it once and it’s amazing,” Arbuckle said.

Now, the week of April 11, she must choose the number one dog in “The Potomac” dog show. This is the largest single breed dog show in the world and it will decide the “best in show”.

Arbuckle said she had just the method to sniff out the winner. She said, “This dog oozes Labrador retriever.”

There are standards for Labrador retrievers that go back years, but Arbuckle points out that it’s a competitive world where women are valued just like men.

“Women are on equal footing with men in this sport. And it’s been like that since the beginning,” Arbuckle said.

There’s no college for this type of work, but Nancy attributes time to her keen judgment.

“And the experience. That’s the best thing,” Arbuckle said.

Arbuckle also thanks the community for embracing his dogs, just like his embracing wives participating in and judging these prestigious competitions.

“It’s something to watch for a love, hopefully,” she said.

The competition is known as The Potomac because it will be held in Frederick, Maryland, not far from the Potomac River.

Arbuckle judges on the last day of the competition, which is Friday, April 15.