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Hoosier represents as the 'top dog' judge in international dog competition

Nancy Arbuckle
Posted at 9:06 AM, Mar 31, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-31 11:40:00-04

ZIONSVILLE — On this, the last day of March and Women's History Month, we're highlighting one woman who is standing out and representing Hoosiers, in the dog show competition world.

Nancy Arbuckle owns Hunt Club Kennel in Zionsville, but people across the state know her well.

"I'm the Labrador person," Arbuckle said. "(People tell me) they'll be walking down the Monon Trail and other people come up to them and say that's an Arbuckle dog."

Arbuckle said she breeds Labrador retrievers and for the last forty years, Nancy has been an internationally acclaimed judge.

She's even taken award-winning Labrador retrievers to countless competitions.

"The temperament is the hallmark of our breed," Arbuckle said.

From her first dog competition as a child, to judging the dog big Westminster Kennel Club dog show, it's a labor of love.

"You do it once and it's amazing," Arbuckle said.

Now on the week of April 11, she must pick the number-one dog at "The Potomac" dog competition. It's the largest single breed dog show in the world and she'll decide on the 'best in show'.

Arbuckle said she has just the method to sniff out the winner. She said, "That dog oozes Labrador retriever."

There are standards for Labrador's retrievers that have gone back years, but Arbuckle stresses it's a competition world where women are valued like men.

"Women are on an equal plane as men, in this sport. And it's been that way since the beginning," Arbuckle said.

There's no college for this line of work, but Nancy credits time for her keen judgment.

"And experience. That's the best thing," Arbuckle said.

Arbuckle also credits the community for embracing her dogs just like its embraced women competing and judging these prestigious competitions.

"It's a thing to watch for a hopefully love,” she said.

The competition is known as The Potomac because it'll take place in Frederick, Maryland — not far from the Potomac River.

Arbuckle is judging on the final day of the competition, that's Friday, April 15.