ONCE YOU own a pug, you will never go back.
That's what Bundaberg resident Bill Winter says, who travelled all the way to Gladstone for the Central Queensland Toy Dog Club championships held at the showgrounds Saturday.
Mr Winter --- who is nearly 80 years old --- has been in the dog show biz for 38 years, and he's got no plans of slowing down any time soon.
"I'm getting old, and I can't move around as much as I used to and run around with my dogs," he said.
"But it really does keep me going."
But, rewind four decades, if you had spoken to Mr Winter about pugs, he would have said 'what the hell is that?'
"I used to own a farm," he said. "But I had to sell in tough times, and leave my working dogs behind. When I moved to Bundaberg I was looking at buying a British bulldog, but I was told by the pet shop person they don't cope well in Bundaberg heat.
"Instead, they asked me if I wanted a pug ... And I remember wondering whether we were still talking about dogs."
But since that day, he really has never gone back; and has always gone into competitions with a pug or two by his side.
On Saturday, he and granddaughter Tymeeka Waters, who is the president of the CQ club, brought along pugs Di, and Maddie.
The brother and sister are the offspring of Mr Winter's six-year-old supreme champion pug, Carpe Diem.
"There are some things you need to do to raise a champion," he said.
"I feed my dogs Supercoat pellets and raw mince.
"When we travel for shows in the caravan, to make sure our dogs have enough running around and relaxing room we park on the grass and fence around the van."
Mr Winter said his granddaughter Tymeeka had been entering in dog show competitions since she was just 10-years-old.
"She is a very good dog handler," he said.
A second dog show was held on Saturday afternoon at the Gladstone Kennel Club's grounds and this time much bigger dogs ran the ring, including Michele Gough's nine-month-old cattle dog Tank and her two Australian-titled French bulldogs Kitty and Rocky.
The Calliope local of 23 years and avid dog show entrant of eight years also owns three other French bulldogs, so she's got quite a handful looking after six dogs.
"All of my French bulldogs have Australian titles," she said.
"Tank, a cattle dog, is very different to bulldogs but it's been fun showing a category of dog I'm not used to.
"He's not even one, and is doing very well and already halfway to achieving to his own Australian title. "I think dog shows are more about good luck than good management. With Kitty and Rocky, Kitty usually always beats Rocky. But last weekend it was the other way 'round. "It all depends on the judge."
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