Groomed to perfection, Dram - an almost three-year-old Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever - showed no sign of nerves before his turn in the show-ring at the 2016 Ekka. He is pictured with Janette Strong of the Sunshine Coast.
Groomed to perfection, Dram - an almost three-year-old Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever - showed no sign of nerves before his turn in the show-ring at the 2016 Ekka. He is pictured with Janette Strong of the Sunshine Coast. Sherele Moody

Perfect pooches strut their stuff at the Ekka

THERE'S no paws for thought in the pursuit of poochy perfection - especially when you're taking on the best dogs in Australia at the Ekka.

Sunshine Coast canines Dram and Geordie were ready to unleash their puppy power during the hotly contested gun dog competition on the weekend.

Groomed to perfection, Dram - an almost three-year-old Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever - showed no sign of nerves before his turn in the show-ring on Saturday.

"He's just a real character," proud owner Janette Strong said of her pooch, who Canadians would recognise as their national dog.

"They're brilliant.

"They are really good with families and in Canada they are used for drug squads, visiting hospitals and they're a good family dog."

Nova Scotias have a cute and quirky genetic trait that sets them aside from most other dogs - a white tip on the end of their tail.

"When they go around the lakes, the ducks see the white tip and they paddle after it, then the hunter shoots the ducks and the dogs bring them in," Ms Strong said.

Getting a canine ready for competition takes significant effort, but Ms Strong reckons the hard yards are worth it.

"That's part of the fun really," she said a few hours before she was due to enter the showring.

"It's the grooming, the bathing and all the rest of it.

"I just love it.

"I think it will be up to the judge if we win - it's about his movement, his presence and everything."

Meanwhile, Gordon setter Geordie appeared to be taking everything in his stride, barely waving a whisker as he chilled out with his devoted dad Michael Johnson in the hours before his romp around the ring.

Mr Johnson, who has 25 years' experience showing gun dogs, said he fell in love with the relatively rare Gordon setter breed for a range of reasons.

"I love their over-all balance and they're willing to please," the 60-year-old painter said.

"They're very loyal and loving."

And was he expecting big things from the weekend's competition?

"Whether you lose or win it's great to be here with the animal you love," he said.

"Some people act like they've got a sheep station riding on the competition but I'm just here because I love it." - ARM NEWSDESK


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