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Local dog competing in ‘Super Bowl’ of dog shows

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Conrad. | Courtesy Debbie Sirdofsky

IDAHO FALLS — A local dog will have the opportunity to earn the highest award in the show dog world come Tuesday night.

Conrad is a six-year-old Shetland Sheepdog whose competing in the “Best in Show” at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.. He won “Best of Breed” and “Best of the Herding Group” on Monday. Conrad was bred by Debbie Sirdofsky of Idaho Falls and Shannalee Waller-Michalsky of Rigby. He is owned by Sirdofsky, Guy Okada, Tyler Crady and his wife, Kristina.

“Westminister is like the Super Bowl of dog shows,” Sirdofsky said. “I’ve watched the Westminster dog show ever since I was a little girl…and to sit here last night and watch a dog that I had bred, that I raised in my home, to watch him win…I’m still starstruck.”

Sirdofsky was showing Conrad at competitions before Conrad was one-years-old. In 2015, Tyler became Conrad’s handler after meeting him and Sirdofsky at the Blackfoot Cluster Dog Show.

Since the two paired up, Conrad became the No. 10 Shetland Sheepdog in 2015 and the No. 1 Shetland Sheepdog in the United States the following year, according to Sirdofsky. She said he took a year off before finishing fourth in the country in the herding dog category last year.

“He’s breaking all kinds of records with Shelties,” Sirdofsky said.

Tyler Crady with Conrad. | Courtesy Debbie Sirdofsky

Sirdofsky has barely left her living room Tuesday as she’s been responding to people via emails, texts and phone calls regarding the dog. She said, “People are crazy for Conrad.”

During a trip to a dog show in New York City last year, people came to meet and take selfies with him.

“It takes a village to bring a dog where Conrad is right now with family and friends all getting involved,” Sirdofsky said. “I’ve been amazed.”

Inside or outside the ring, Conrad loves the attention, Sirdofsky said. Judges are looking for certain standards to be met by dogs during the shows and she said a dog’s attitude plays a role.

She said Conrad lights up and his personality comes out when he takes the floor.

“The best show dogs are the ones that go out there and love to do it,” Sirdofsky said. “Conrad absolutely adores being a show dog. He loves the attention. He loves the crowd.”

Deborah Sirdofsky and Conrad after winning at the AKC National. | Courtesy Debbie Sirdofsky

According to Sirdofsky, not only is he the first Idaho dog to be in the Westminster Dog Show, but a Shetland Sheepdog has never won “Best in Show” at the Westminister competition.

“For Tyler and Conrad to be in the ‘Best in Show’ ring, I’m so proud of them to be in that spot,” Sirdofsky said. “It’ll be the icing on the cake if they go any further.”

The “Best in Show” event begins at 5:30 p.m. on FS1.

Tyler Crady with Conrad. | Courtesy Debbie Sirdofsky
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