At the COEX, bowwows get chance to take bowsThe saying, “A dog is man’s best friend” applies even in Korea, a nation long embroiled in controversy over its canine-eating culture. A burgeoning interest in dogs as pets ― rather than palate-pleasers ― has produced a 1 trillion won ($848 million) per year industry catering to the estimated 5 million Korean tail-waggers and their owners.
To further stimulate interest in canine haute couture, a large-scale dog show, featuring 1,000 pooches from around the country, will be held at the COEX in southern Seoul. The 2003 MBC Dog Fair, sponsored by the Korea Kennel Club, runs from today to Sunday.
Various contests such as dog trimming and dog handling are scheduled for the first day, while the second day will feature doggie competitions such as Frisbee-catching and various agility tests.
The highlight is said to be the First Korea International Dog Fair, in which German shepherds, Rottweilers, hounds, terriers, poodles and other breeds strut their stuff before a panel of experts from Friday to Sunday. Professional judges from the United States and Japan will scrutinize the furry entrants, and award prizes for best performance and best breeding.
For visitors curious about their pets, there will be a doggie museum of sorts. Information about various breeds’ origins and unique traits will be displayed, and lectures provided on subjects like “Canine cosmetology” and “How to raise puppies.”
Dog owners with an urge to spend need not worry, as more than 100 canine-related firms have lined up to market everything from dog hats, socks and sweaters to upscale chow and veterinary care.
In a separate hall, event sponsors will hold a “Canine Love Campaign,” where folks will be invited to sponsor or adopt stray dogs. Finally, any visitors who submit photos of their dogs can participate in the Miss-Mr. Dog beauty pageant for dogs. Other programs held during the week are a dog fashion show, raffles, and prize-grabbing events.
The Korea Kennel Club has held numerous dog shows since its formation in 1988, but this year's event will stand out, according to club official Choi Ji-yong,
“Previously, dog shows were held at school playgrounds, but now we are staging this event at a large exhibition hall while being sponsored by a national broadcasting station,” Mr. Choi says. The club expects to continue the international dog show every year.
Entrance fees to the event are: 5,000 won ($4.25) for adults, 3,000 won for children. Discounts are available for groups above 10 persons. Korea Kennel Club members and contest participants are admitted free. To reach COEX, take subway line No. 2 to Samseong Station. email@example.com
For more information, visit www.mbcdogfair.com or call (02) 780-2334.
by Choi Jie-ho
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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