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All-breed dog show at Planting Fields displays best of breeds

Abel, a 4-month-old Bernese Mountain Dog owned by

Abel, a 4-month-old Bernese Mountain Dog owned by Nicole Culotta of Dover, Delaware, is pictured during the Westbury Kennel Association's 99th All Breed Dog Show at Planting Fields Arboretum State Historic Park in Oyster Bay Sunday, Sept. 27, 2015. Credit: Barry Sloan

For most of the 82 years since the Westbury Kennel Association held its first show, dog breeding was a regional affair: Matchmaking used to mean finding dogs within a day's drive.

But technology and the Internet have changed the way serious dog breeders work to improve the next generation of collies, Labrador retrievers or any of hundreds of breeds.

When Nicole Culotta, 23, of Dover, Delaware, wanted to breed Bernese mountain dogs, she found a mother in Hungary from another breeder online.

"She sent me videos," said Culotta, one of the handlers at the 99th WKA All-Breed dog show in Oyster Bay Sunday. She said she likes the temperament of the Bernese and, "I just think they're cute."

The show brought together hundreds of dogs of all breeds, owners, handlers and spectators at the Planting Fields Arboretum State Historic Park.

Breeders look for physical attributes in potential mates, as well as good movement and temperament to improve the breed, said show competitors.

Ted Swedalla, Jr., 69, from Middle Island breeds beagles. Two of the four beagles he and his wife, Terri Giannetti, showed Sunday were bred from an Australian mother. He said breeders post pictures and videos of their dogs on Facebook.

"For breeding dogs we have the opportunity to see dogs instantly from all over the world," Swedalla said. "It's opened up the genetic pool for breeding dogs."

Pat Enright, president of the association, said the purpose of breeding purebreds is to ensure that the genetic lines stay intact.

"We have a standard," Enright said. "Every breed has a blueprint of what the ideal breed should be."

Every breed was developed to serve a purpose, she said, whether it's flushing out game or herding cattle.

Some came Sunday just for their love of the dogs. Spectator Carmen Velez, 60, of Glen Cove, said she looks at the dogs differently than do judges.

"They're looking for the imperfections and we're looking at their beauty," Velez said.

Chris Bergmann, 60, a retired Port Authority police officer from East Meadow, came to the show with his wife, Diane, and their two dogs, but not to be part of the show.

"We love to socialize our animals," he said as they walked a pit bull and a Chihuahua.

"They mingle with other breeds, they mingle with children and they get to be happy dogs," he said.

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