Elburn 9-year-old living dream of showing dogs

By on January 1, 2009

Youth competes against adult handlers in prestigious rings

by Martha Quetsch

            When Corinne Kolzow was a toddler, she loved watching dog shows on TV. Since then, taking her own dog into the ring was the Elburn girl’s dream.

            “She was in a stroller, wanting to do this,” Corinne’s mother Hannah Kozlow said.

            When Corinne was about 3, her parents began taking her to see dog shows in the area. By the time she was 5, Corinne had entered her first competition at the American Kennel Club (AKC) Show at DuPage County Fairgrounds in Wheaton, showing her Havanese puppy, Yallie.

            Corinne since has built on her achievements as a handler at various shows. At Chicago’s International Kennel Club Show in 2006, Corinne showed Yallie and won in the Best Puppy category, competing against more than 20 other entrants.

            Most recently, Corinne participated in the American Kennel Club Eukanuba National Championship, the largest prize-money dog show in the world. Participation in the event in Long Beach, Calif., was by invitation only.

            The event took place Dec. 13-14, a week after Corinne’s ninth birthday. Showing her 1-year-old Havanese, Rein, she competed against adults who are the best in the sport.

            Because Corinne was the youngest handler there, she was a little nervous, she said. But she always is somewhat anxious before shows, because they are so competitive.

            “The hardest part is you have to make sure she (the dog) looks perfect,” Corinne said.

            Corinne’s mother grooms Rein before every show, but her daughter must maintain the dog’s appearance throughout the presentation.

            “I try to get everything right, like making sure her tail is set right,” Corinne said.

            For Rein’s overall appearance and structure at Eukanuba, as her breeder, owner and handler, Corinne received an Award of Excellence, which will allow her to show the dog in the Crufts Show in London.

            Corinne is the youngest person in history to win an award at Eukanuba and qualify for Crufts, the largest and oldest dog show in the world.

            Corinne gives Rein a lot of the credit for this accomplishment.

            “The judge said she thought every dog in the ring looked like a statue until she saw us. She thought Rein looked like a loving sister,” Corinne said.

            Corinne does have a sister who also shows dogs, Sarah, 10. Sarah is working her way up the competitive ladder, having qualified in presentation at Eukanuba for participation in the juniors class.

            Sarah and the rest of the Kozlow family likely will accompany Corinne in March to Crufts.

            Those interested in seeing Corinne showing Rein at the Eukanuba may watch a taping of the event on Animal Planet and the Discovery Channel on Saturday, Jan. 31.