“Annie on Dogs!”

By Anne Rogers Clark. Dogwise Publishing. $29.95.

This isn’t a new offering, but it’s the perfect one for putting you in the mood for the big Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show Feb. 15-16 on USA Network and the Seattle Kennel Club Dog Shows March 13-14 at Qwest Field Event Center.

“Annie on Dogs!” is an assemblage of the famed dog-sport authority’s Dogs in Review magazine columns from 1997-2002. Yes, they’re dated, but their timeless.

William Stiffel, former president of the American Kennel Club, characterizes the famed woman’s work spot on, “Her words are an invitation to enter her mind. She is welcoming, even chatty, but doesn’t waste words. She likes precise definitions, simply unadorned explanations of things that dog people live with but somehow never pin down in words.

“For instance, ‘Judging is the evaluation of breeding stock.’

“‘Show dogs should learn that being a show dog is fun and a game – just as herders, retrievers and go-to-grounders have a good time at what they do for work.’

“‘Judging is an art and science – “though sometimes she says” ‘art and obsession.’“

“Annie on Dogs!” is engagingly written with a refreshing bluntness and candor punctuated with a resilient can-do spirit.
Editor’s notes: Clark, who died in 2006 at age 77, was a superstar in her sport, as an owner, breeder, handler, judge and mentor. She was the first woman professional handler to win best-in-show at Westminster (1956), and added triumphs in 1959 and 1961.

She is the only person to judge all seven groups and best-in-show at Westminster, along with four junior showmanship finals. She also holds the record for most years judging at Westminster, 23.

Clark gave Westminster wins to Snohomish junior Anders Thoreson in 2006 and best-in-show to Yorkshire terrier Champion Cede Higgens (1978), owned by Barbara and Bill Switzer of Seattle and handled by their daughter Marlene Lutovsky.

Prior to her death, Westminster show chairman Tom Bradley, said, “No one commands more respect or has greater association with Westminster than Annie Clark. . . . Her opinion is the most valued in the sport.”