Posh the Australian shepherd isn’t your average canine. The three-year-old competition dog from Hickman is fresh off her first ever Best in Show award, and recently returned from prancing through the ring with the nation’s top competitors at the Westminster Dog Show in New York City.
Susan Harris, Posh’s owner, has raised Australian shepherds her entire life and has always had a special connection with the breed. Her passion for dog shows began with the purchase of her first competition dog 15 years ago, and she has helped as many as 30 pups compete in the ring over the years.
“The minute he won his first little blue ribbon, I was so hooked,” said Harris. “I just love doing it and love being out there.”
Posh loves being out there, too, said Harris.
“She likes going to her dog shows and likes getting groomed,” she said. “I have never had a dog that wants to spend as much time being brushed and pampered as she has.”
To prepare for each competition, Posh undergoes plenty of preparation. In the weeks leading up to a show, Posh gets frequent exercise through conditioning and is fed top-quality dog food to ensure her coat is shiny and sleek. She also receives weekly baths, and gets her teeth cleaned often as well.
“There’s a lot of training that goes into it, too,” said Harris. “You would think that it’s just running around the ring and that’s all there is to it, but it’s so much harder than that.”
Posh is clearly cut out for the competition lifestyle. She recently won Best in Show from the classes at the Gavilan Kennel Club Show, and at only three years old is just getting started. Her Best in Show award allowed her to enter into the Westminster Dog Show in February, for which she trained two long months. Though Posh didn’t place at Westminster, it was the experience of a lifetime for Harris and her furry friend.
“If you’re into showing dogs, you dream of going to Westminster and you dream of having the dog of that caliber to go to Westminster,” said Harris. “To see my dog out there, honestly, it made me cry.”
When Posh isn’t competing, she enjoys sleeping on the couch, playing with the puppies that Harris breeds on her property and eating popcorn, said Harris.
“She’s a princess,” she said. “She is beyond a diva.”
Posh recently finished her American Kennel Club and Australian Shepherd Club of America championships, and is currently working toward becoming an AKC Grand Champion. Harris hopes that one day, one of Posh’s puppies will go on to compete at Wesminster and continue the legacy of her hard-working Australian shepherds.
“They’re smart, they want to work and they have fun doing it,” said Harris. “Not all dogs are cut out to be show dogs. It takes a dog that wants to be out there.”