Could you love a dog with a Steve Buscemi face? A dog with a face only Steve Buscemi could love

At the IKC show there are show rings where dogs are judged as to how close they approach the established standard of a particular breed. There are also obedience trials.

But for anyone even thinking about purchasing a dog, I can't recommend the IKC show highly enough, because you can also walk and talk and meet the dogs.

Check for show information.

You can't purchase a dog at the show. You may set an appointment later with a breeder, but there is no impulse buying.

That's good for the prospective buyer, so they can think things through. And it's vitally important for the dog, because some people forget that dogs are living things, with living hearts, and the easiest way to break a dog's heart is to send it to the wrong home for the wrong reasons.

"In a bench show, dogs are required to be in assigned position from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.," Olsen said. "People can walk up and down the aisles, talk to the handlers, breeders, see the dogs, and put their hands on dogs, but please, please ask the owners first."

Why is meeting breeders so important?

"Because breeders care about their animals, and they want to be sure that the prospective owner can handle them," Olsen said. "Some people think we're too picky, but we need to make sure the dog will go to a loving home for their entire lives. A good breeder will not only tell you the good points about a particular breed, but the bad points, too.

"No dog is perfect. We all have our flaws," she said. "And if there's a problem at home, it's usually not the dog's fault, but the owner's."

A husky or a Dalmatian needs to run, and so do pointers, but happily I have two high school soccer players who run Zeus almost every day. He needs that to relax, as he does not drink whiskey or smoke cigars or receive soothing encouragement from his editors.

"If you're a couch potato you need a toy dog," Olsen said. "If you're active, get an active dog, but all dogs need a job of some kind. Talk to the breeders and do your homework."

A sweet little puppy can't train itself. It needs guidance. If you have infants or toddlers at home, you might want to wait.

"If you're looking for a dog that looks like Steve Buscemi, I'm sorry but there are none," said Olsen.

At the IKC show at McCormick Place, you'll realize that what makes a good dog is a good human. Even if both dog and man look like Steve Buscemi.

Twitter @John_Kass