5 questions to… Brett Sprout, President of the McKinley Kennel Club

Brett Sprout is the president of the McKinley Kennel Club.

He and his wife Susan have two sons, Sloan and Sutton. They also have five beagles, JR, Zackie, Petey, Tinker and Della. They have lived in Washington Township since 1980.

Sprout graduated from Glenwood High School in 1972 and went to Bethany College in West Virginia and Kent State University. He is retired from the printing industry. The Sprouts are housing providers.

The two have owned, bred and/or shown dogs most of their lives together.

“We’ve been showing dogs since 1975,” Sprout said. “The first show we attended was the McKinley Kennel Club show at Memorial Auditorium in Canton. We have been members since 2016 but I have been attending their shows since 1976.”

The McKinley Kennel Club is a member of the American Kennel Club serving the Canton area. The club holds one dog show a year in June, along with other activities such as puppy matches and Responsible Dog Owners Day.

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Could you detail what the McKinley Kennel Club is?

McKinley Kennel Club was founded in 1937 for the purpose of promoting purebred dogs through various dog sports such as conformation dog shows and obedience trials.

The original charter lists John F. Cholley, Leland Wood, and Daisy Keht as original directors. Marcella Austin, who died this month, was among the original members.

The protection and advancement of purebred dogs has always been the goal of the club, but the general welfare of the dogs has always been the primary goal of the club. Responsible people who are interested in dogs are welcome regardless of the breed of dogs they own.

Only purebred dogs can compete in conformation dog shows, but all dogs, including mixed-breed dogs, can compete in obedience and most other American Kennel Club dog sports.

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McKinley Kennel Club President Brett Sprout is shown with his beagle Zakie at his Alliance home.

What kind of activities do members plan and participate in, including the annual dog show?

The club meets monthly except August and December on the second Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. We have a very active, but small group of 15 members.

We all spend a lot of time training and participating in various dog sports across the country. Some of the AKC dog sports include Conformation, Obedience, Rally, Farm Dog, Lap Dog, Agility, Scent, Field Trials and more.

The club hosts the local AKC shows in June, which attract approximately 800 entries comprised of some of the most successful canine competitors in the world. This year’s McKinley Show winner was a sleuth called “Trumpet.” He went on to win the Westminster Kennel Club show which is televised nationally every year.

The club donates a portion of our profits to dog-related charities that benefit local adoption and dog welfare. This year we are donating to the K9 Police Unit.

Where does your love of dogs come from?

Like many members, my wife and I have owned and loved dogs for most of our lives. As far as I can remember, my father participated in the Beagle field trials. Our weekends were spent testing.

My wife had a neighbor when she was young with a beagle she adored, so when we added a pet to our lives shortly after we married in 1974, a beagle was our choice.

We have owned, bred and trained over 50 dogs over the past 50 years. All of them have been trained and shown in one place or another, with many championships and other titles. We recently competed in agility competitions, with all the hurdles and hurdles, and it really got us in better physical shape.

The new canine sport of scent is also being added to our K9 efforts.

What are your and your dogs favorite ice cream stops in Stark County?

Locally we are very fond of Heggy’s but couldn’t find any that we didn’t like.

Dog shows have taken us all over the country and to many places in Canada. Lots of great ice cream stops everywhere we traveled. We often return from shows north of Stark and a favorite stop is in New Baltimore, just north of our county.

We stop on the way home to celebrate a victory or lick our wounds after a defeat (as well as to lick our cones).

Could you give some advice to those who are considering adopting a new dog or puppy?

If you are interested in adopting a dog, the most important thing to realize is that you are making a lifelong addition to your family.

Dogs live 10, 12, 16 or more years. It’s not long enough when you love them, but it’s a commitment you have to be willing to make. You need to determine which breed fits your lifestyle.

One of the benefits of a purebred animal is that you can tell a lot about your animal’s appearance and behavior as well as its trainability. Some breeds are better suited than others to the interests you have.

Attending dog shows and sports is a good start. Talk to people there when they have a break from whatever activity they are involved in.

Above all, be patient in your search, as I mentioned, it is a decision of a lifetime.

Editor’s Note: Five Questions With… is a Sunday feature that features a member of the Stark County community. If you would like to recommend someone to participate, email [email protected]

McKinley Kennel Club President Brett Sprout is shown with his beagle Zakie at his Alliance home.

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