“Just for the fun of the thing,” he was entered in the “variety” class at the Brighton dog-show, when twenty months old, and that was certainly a memorable experience for him. There were bloodhound men at the show who vowed he would have won a card in their section; and there were wolfhound breeders who said the same thing of Jan with reference to their particular division. Be that as it may, Finn’s son won general admiration when led out into the judging ring with the other entrants of the “variety” class.
The judge was a specially great authority on bulldogs and terriers; but it was admitted that there was no better or fairer all-round dog judge in the show, and his experience in the past at hound field trials and such like events proved him qualified to judge of such an animal as Jan. Still, his special association with bulldogs and terriers was regarded as something of a handicap by the exhibitors of other kinds of dogs in this class, which, as it happened, was an unusually full one.
As Jan had never before been shown and was quite unaccustomed to being at close quarters with numbers of strange dogs, Betty asked the Master to take him into the ring for her. (Jan weighed one hundred and forty-eight pounds now, and a pretty strong arm was required for his restraint among strangers, the more so as he was quite unaccustomed to being led.) So Betty and the Mistress secured stools for themselves outside the ring and the Master led in Jan to a place among no fewer than twenty-seven other competitors, ranging all the way from a queer little hairless terrier from Brazil, to a huge, badly cow-hocked animal, of perhaps two hundred pounds in weight, said to combine St. Bernard and mastiff blood in his veins.
There was also an Arab hunting-dog, a slogi from Morocco, two boarhounds of sorts, some Polar dogs, several bulldogs and collies, and a considerable group of terrier varieties in one way or another exceptional. One of the bulldogs was a really magnificent creature of the famous Stone strain, whose only fault seemed to be a club-foot. There was also a satanic-looking creature of enormous stature; a great Dane, with very closely cropped prick ears, and a tail no more than five inches long. This gentleman was further distinguished by wearing a muzzle, and by the fact that his leader carried a venomous-looking whip. The lady with the hairless terrier was particularly careful to avoid the proximity of this rather ill-conditioned brute, and of the weedy-looking little man in a frock-coat who led him.
In the course of ten or fifteen minutes, during which the ring was uncomfortably crowded, the judge managed to reduce his field of selection down to a group of six, which did not include the crop-eared Dane or exclude Jan.