Bernese pups strut down Lincoln in Diamond Hitch Parade | SteamboatToday.com

Bernese pups strut down Lincoln in Diamond Hitch Parade

Teresa Ristow

More than 20 Bernese mountain dogs, including a few puppies, paraded down Lincoln Avenue Sunday.

— Wellington, the 8 1/2-year-old Bernese mountain dog is no stranger to the spotlight, so it was no surprise the fluffy animal felt comfortable marching in Sunday's Diamond Hitch Parade on Lincoln Avenue.

Last year, Wellington competed in 16 weekend conformation dog shows, placing well enough to earn the rank of the 16th best Bernese mountain dog in the country.

"They love to be looked at," said Beth Dennehy, Wellington's owner and owner of Steamboat Dog Spa.

Dennehy joined more than 20 other Bernese mountain dog owners Sunday as a popular entry in the annual parade, which marks the final day of the Steamboat Springs Winter Carnival.

Among the owners was J.J. Pike, who impressively held onto her three Bernese mountain dogs while other owners struggled to hang onto just one of the dogs, which top out at about 110 pounds.

Pike's female dogs, Sadie and Bella, are both 2 years old and currently pregnant, and she also owns Coda, a 4 1/2-year-old male who serves as a therapy dog.

Recommended Stories For You

Pike said she's been breeding Bernese mountain dogs about 9 years and said the breed makes for great companions.

"They're very easy to train and very smart," Pike said. "They're passionate, and Coda is very empathetic, which makes him a great therapy dog."

Leslie Allbright said she had her Bernese mountain dog, 6-year-old Gretchen, shipped from a breeder in Holland.

"They're great dogs," Allbright said.

One of the group's organizers, Lynette Weaver, said the group has been marching in Steamboat parades since 1998.

Weaver said Sunday's gathering of more than 20 dogs was particularly impressive.

"We have a great turnout," said Weaver, who brought Cabot, 4.

Among the dog's many popular traits, owners said the animals are cuddly and affectionate and "leaners," who sit on people's feet when standing and on their laps when sitting.

Many of the owners agreed that the dogs are well-suited to life in the mountains and love playing in the snow.

One of the youngest pups was 15-week-old Lulu, owned by Morgan Fey, 15, and her family.

Fey said the family first saw a Bernese mountain dog at a baseball game.

"We instantly fell in love," Fey said. "She likes to chew on everything. She's a little rascal."

Sunday's parade was followed by Alpine ski jumping finals to close out the Winter Carnival.

To reach Teresa Ristow, call 970-871-4206, email tristow@SteamboatToday.com or follow her on Twitter @TeresaRistow