During Thanksgiving Day’s nationally televised National Dog Show, Nashville will have a dog in the hunt.
In her first year of competition, Olivia, a 4-year-old bearded collie, will be representing Music City when she takes the stage in the Best of Show competition. The show was taped last weekend in Philadelphia.
Olivia lives full-time with trainer Clifford Steele, of Carmel, N.Y., where they compete in anywhere from two to five shows per week. She is owned by Caroline O’Neill, of Nashville.
“It’s a breeding program that goes all the way back to England,” Steele said. “She proved to Ms. O’Neill, when she was younger, that she was extra special and that’s why she sent her up here with me because I’ve been showing bearded collies for more than 30 years.”
Olivia has been examined by hundreds of judges, Steele said, and most of the preparation comes down to one characteristic: the hair.
“Well, a lot of it is grooming and hair preparation. Also, we bike her everyday from a mile and a half to two miles to keep her fit,” Steele said.
To reach the Best of Show round, Olivia placed at the top of the herding group, which also includes breeds like German shepherds and other sheepdogs. Only seven dogs out of more than 1,200 entered in the contest make it to Best of Show.
The National Dog Show will air tomorrow at noon on WSMV-Channel 4.