But this is hardly her first rodeo — er, dog show.
The National Dog Show will air Thursday on NBC from noon to 2 p.m. Smith traveled to Philadelphia last weekend to participate in the show, winning Best of Breed with both dogs. She went on to show Olivia in the Hounds Group and Larimar in the Herding Group.
Her mother, Cydne Clark, was unable to attend the show, but said she’s proud of her daughter for her accomplishments in handling.
“I'm really excited. She works really hard at what she does,” Clark, who breeds Cardigan Welsh Corgis, said. “We just made this a lifestyle, we both enjoy doing this together. It's a way to stay connected.”
Both dogs have been invited to the Westminster Dog Show in February for being nationally recognized in the top five representatives of their breeds. She’ll make another TV appearance in December on the Royal Canin National Championship Show on the Hallmark Channel.
In addition, Clark said Larimar is considered to be the No. 1 Cardigan Welsh Corgi with the American Kennel Club, and will travel with Smith in March to compete in Crufts Dog Show in England — the largest dog show in the world.
Smith also holds awards for her handling and has been showing dogs since she was 6.
She said growing up on a farm in Watauga with her mother and being around animals helped cultivate her passion for showing dogs — despite being bitten by a dog as a small child.
“There's a lot to like about it,” Smith said. “Obviously I love the animals, but it's also like another whole community.”
Because showing dogs requires Smith and her mother to travel a lot, Smith has been homeschooled, so she finds community in going to shows and associating with people who share her passion. She was awarded Best Junior Handler at German Shepherd Nationals in 2013, 2014 and 2015 and finished second in 2016 with the AKC.
She won the Cardigan Welsh Corgi Nationals in 2015.
Email Jessica Fuller at [email protected]. Follow Jessica on Twitter @fullerjf91. Like her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jfullerJCP.