Although there will about 800 dogs competing in the Mobile Kennel Dog Show on Saturday and Sunday at the Coast Coliseum and Convention Center in Biloxi, a man with strong ties to South Mississippi is hoping all eyes will be on his Affenpinscher.
GCh Tamarin Tailback, nicknamed Emmitt, is owned by Doyle Girouard and his wife, Carol. He now lives in Southland, Texas, but Girouard was born and raised in Biloxi.
He will be returning to his former home this weekend to watch Emmitt make his Biloxi debut.
“We’ve had Emmitt for about a year,” he said. “His real name is Tamarin Tailback and he was named for Emmitt Smith, who was a football player for the Dallas Cowboys — but the reason he was named Emmitt was because (Smith) was on ‘Dancing With the Stars’ and his breeder was a big fan.”
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A long way to the top
Girouard said Emmitt is the No. 1 toy dog in the U.S.
“Inside the American Kennel Club, you have seven groups and the toy division is one of the groups,” he said. “The AKC holds about 20,000 events annually and about 1.3 million dogs participate in those events and those dogs are purebreds.”
Girouard said since January, Emmitt has won 15 reserve best in shows, 49 toy groups and several second- and third-place recognitions.
But Emmitt has also won the top prize several times.
“He’s been named best in show 11 times,” Girouard said. “You accumulate points every time you win — you have to win your breed, win your group and win best in show.”
He said the competition is stiff at AKC shows.
“Best in show is the best out of the top seven, and there will be about 800 dogs competing for that in Biloxi,” he said. “But in the bigger shows, there will be around 4,000.”
Not so much Girouard’s best friend
Girouard said Emmitt is not the kind of dog to snuggle with in bed during a storm or bring him his slippers.
“Emmitt has never put his paws in our home — never,” he said. “In the confirmation or purebred world, you have breeders, owners and handlers, and Emmitt spends all of his time with his handler.”
Emmitt’s handler is Alfonso Escobedo of Houston.
“You have to do this in the competition dog world because you want the dog to pay all of his attention to the handler because he’s going to be in the ring with him all of the time,” Girouard said. “The bond between the handler and the dog is huge — you don’t want the dog to say, ‘Hey, that’s my dad and my mom over there and I’m their pet.’ You want him to pay attention.”
Mobile Kennel Dog Show
When: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday through Sunday
Where: Coast Coliseum and Convention Center, Biloxi