Jessica Breinholt will admit that the dog show world is an interesting subculture all on its own, filled with characters and situations that you need a quirky sense of humor to fully appreciate.
She should know—Jessica has been involved with showing her Siberian Huskies for over 30 years since her childhood. She now shares her life with a happy kennel of working Siberian Huskies that she enjoys traveling across trails with through the winter, and attending dog shows in the non-snowy months.
Since she often travels across the country to various dog shows, Jessica has modified a 2003 Forest River Sunseeker RV to accommodate traveling with multiple dogs to different shows. She calls her rig the Showbeast.
The Showbeast is truly all about the comfort of the dogs. Jessica did a lot of research to find a rig that had the features that would best accommodate travel with the dogs: a slide-out to add space, a functional floor plan, a good air conditioning system, minimal carpeting, and a big bathroom for pre-show preparations.
The RV has been further modified to its function as a dog show rig. The couch was removed to add space for a bank of dog crates, which are secured for travel with cargo straps. Eventually, Jessica would like to install a built-in kennel bank. Once parked, portable exercise pens allow the dogs to be safely confined while they have some outside time.
Jessica says traveling by RV helps her with shows because her dogs can travel in more of a camping-style comfort and not have to stay confined in crates in a hotel room. You don’t have to worry as much about meals (you cook right there in your RV), you can usually stay at the show site (avoiding traffic and parking issues), and the overall event is more relaxed for the dogs.
Jessica estimates that at any given show, 30-50% of the participants RV at the show site, so there is a friendly social atmosphere with people hanging out during the evenings, walking their dogs, and enjoying the downtime during the event.
During spontaneous dog show tailgate parties, the evening beverage of choice for the Showbeast is vodka and tonic (with a good book), but the bar is always well-stocked!
One of the most memorable trips in the Showbeast was to a dog show in Washington state, near Mount Rainier National Park. Jessica and her mom traveled with eight dogs for a week as they journeyed through the western US together.
Jessica laughs and says that when they stopped at rest stops, they felt like they were deploying a clown car with dogs and gear spilling out. But she loved traveling and truly living in the RV with her dogs, seeing the country and enjoying time together.
Jessica’s love of her dogs is quite apparent, and her dedication to sharing her life with them is striking. Having a dog-show-dedicated RV setup allows her to travel safely and comfortably with her dogs, ensuring that their needs and well-being are met. The Showbeast functions as a cozy home away from home for canine and human travelers.