American Kennel Club event set at Jefferson County Fairgrounds Labor Day Weekend

TAKING FLIGHT — One of the dogs showing in the Annual Labor Day Weekend Friendship Cluster AKC All Breed Dog Show took advantage of the North America Diving Dogs who hold an All-Breed Dock Diving event each day to have a little fun and cool off in the heat. -- Contributed

SMITHFIELD — This year’s Annual Labor Day Weekend Friendship Cluster AKC All Breed Dog Show promises to be an exciting event, according to the organizers.

Members of the St. Clairsville Ohio Kennel Club, Fort Steuben Kennel Association and Beaver County Kennel Club have been planning this year’s event since closing day last year.

The four-day show is being held at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds in Friendship Park in Rayland, Friday to Monday.

Officials said the show attracts people from all walks of life and occupations not just locally, but across the United States, Canada and overseas competing for championship points and wins toward obedience and rally titles.

“This show is a great attraction,”said Donna Simpson, President of SCOKC. “You will get to see over 630 dogs and 132 breeds each day from ages 4 months to adult.”

Only one dog will receive the coveted Best In Show in Conformation and one dog will receive High in Trial in Obedience.

New this year is the Coursing Ability Test. It is a timed 100-yard dash where dogs run one at a time, chasing a lure.

Organizers said, “It’s over before you know it,” and “It’s nothing short of awe-inspiring to watch the dogs run at top speed, ears back, eyes focused and legs strong.”

Any dog can enter the Fast CAT provided they are at least a year old and registered under the AKC or its CaninePartners or PAL program.

Another event is the AKC Lure Coursing.

Officials say it’s an exciting way for sighthounds to do what comes naturally, but in a safe, controlled environment.

In this event, dogs chase a mechanized, white plastic lure around a 600-plus-yard course that simulates the unpredictability of chasing live prey.

“Zig-zaging across a big, open field is simply heaven for these dogs,” representatives said.

Back this year will be the North America Diving Dogs who hold an All-Breed Dock Diving event each day where titles can be earned. Dock diving is a fast-growing sport for dogs of all breeds and sizes. Plus, it is “fun for the dogs and they people,” they said.

Spectators can watch the competition or bring their dog for a fun splash.

Try outs are also available at noon each day, assisted by experienced trainers.

Spectators will be able to watch the obedience and rally competitions as well.

In obedience, each purebred or mixed breed dog and its handler work as a team performing a set of exercises, including on and off leash heeling, and retrieving an object over a jump. Some of the more advanced exercises include scent discrimination where dogs retrieve an article with their owner’s scent from among a number of similar articles.

Rally competitions consist of the dog and handler team completing a course that has been designed by the judge.

The dog and handler proceed at their own pace through a course of designated stations. The handler is permitted to talk, praise, and encourage the dog. Exercises include various degrees of turns, circles, spirals, sits and varying speeds.

Rally promotes fun and enjoyment for dogs at all levels of competition.

Tom Davis, President of the BCKC said, “We also have a special treat on each day — it’s the 4 month to under 6 month old puppy competition. This competition gets puppies ready for the show ring when they can enter the show for points when they are 6 months old.”

“There’s also one class that you won’t want to miss — it’s the Junior Showmanship Competition,” Bob Damron, President of FSKA said. “Boys and girls from ages 10 to under 18 compete with others of their own age, where they are judged on how they present their dog. Juniors also compete in many other performance events such as obedience, agility and rally.”

Junior classes were developed to recognize and support the unique relationship between a child and a dog, to encourage responsible dog ownership and to secure a place for these youngsters in competition world.

On Saturday, a rabies and microchip clinic will be open to the public from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m.

Drawings for baskets and other items will be held on Saturday.

There will be a bake sale on Sunday. Also on Sunday, the Steel Valley Chihuahua Fanciers will hold a Fun Match and 1st annual 4-H Challenge.

Six local Ohio counties and one from Pennsylvania have been invited to participate in four classes. The classes are Showmanship, Rally, Costume and Obstacle Course.

Locally, some 4-H kids who have become big players in AKC shows are involved. The 4-H organization promotes good sportsmanship, citizenship and responsible animal ownership, officials said.

The match starts one hour after BIS.

During the weekend, a variety of food will be available and vendors will have dog-related items for sale.

Judging hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m each day.

The Friendship Cluster welcomes visitors to join them for refreshments during afternoon group judging each day.

Groups start at 12:30 on Friday; 12:45 on Saturday; 1 p.m. on Sunday; and 12:15 on Monday.

There is no admission cost, but there is a $5 parking fee.

For information on the show or to find out what time a favorite breed is showing, visit Labor Day Weekend Friendship Cluster All Breed Dog Shows on Facebook or call (304) 281-3087.