Steve Kuechler, president of the Sunflower Kennel Club of Olathe, Kansas, wrote to tell us about the club’s back-to-back all-breed shows, along with three obedience and two rally trials, to be held Friday, May 10, through Sunday, May 12, 2013, at the Kansas Expocentre Complex in Topeka. The companion events will be open to AKC Canine Partners.

The Sunflower KC of Olathe, Kan., holds its shows at the spacious and bright Expocentre Complex in Topeka. Photos courtesy Sunflower KC.

The perks for these shows begin with the fact that the four-star Capital Plaza Hotel is connected by an enclosed walkway to the exhibition center and the Landon Arena, where the rings will be located. “This show facility has drawn rave reviews from AKC judges and exhibitors,” says Steve. “It has been called one of the two best show facilities in the United States.” He adds that “Topeka is extremely dog friendly, with many dog friendly hotels available for show exhibitors.” The Capital Plaza Hotel offers a reasonable rate of $89 for dog show participants.

Along with the obedience and rally trials on day one, there will be specialties for Shelties, Collies and Irish Setters, back-to-back events for the last two breeds, and a Vizsla specialty on Saturday. The obedience and rally trials are held on the grounds in the climate-controlled agriculture building, offering plenty of room for crating and spectators. “It is a very nice, quiet environment for our trials,” Steve says.

Among the biggest draws for these shows are two seminars, the “ABCs of Dog Breeding” and “Practical Canine Anatomy and Movement,” both presented by Claudia Orlandi. Dr. Orlandi was the 2009 AKC Breeder of the Year and has been very successful with her Topsfield Basset Hounds for four decades. Her breeding and structure seminars have proven as educational as any available to dog fanciers. This seminar is a very reasonable $25 per day with a boxed meal included, so if you’re close enough to attend you’ll be doing yourself a terrific favor! And if your mother is in dogs, it would make a great Mother’s Day present. Friday’s seminar will be from 4 to 7:30 p.m., Saturday’s from 2:30 to 6 p.m., allowing everyone to work or show their dogs on Friday and show dogs on Saturday and still attend.

The Capital Plaza Hotel is just adjacent to the Expocenter where the Sunflower KC shows are held.

On Saturday the Sunflower club offers 4-to-6 Months Beginner Puppy competition. Kansas City K-9 Reproduction Services will be on site all three days for semen collection and freezing, and there will be an obedience match Saturday after the trials are finished. In addition to trophies for some awards, there will be cash prizes for Best in Show and Reserve BIS and Group Firsts. Steve was certainly right when he said this weekend of shows has a lot to offer!

Four all-breed shows will take place May 9 through 12 in Perry, Ga., at the Crossroads of Georgia Cluster, hosted by the Columbus, Southeast Alabama and Macon Kennel Clubs. The first two clubs hold one show each, and Macon has two shows, Saturday and Sunday.

There’s plenty of space for grooming and moving about at the Sunflower KC shows.

I always give credit when clubs offer things like Herding demos and a chance for people to practice with their dogs, as well as things like the Coursing Ability Test (CAT), because I believe we have to bring in a lot more people who want to do more than show their dogs in conformation in order for AKC to survive long term. So I love what these clubs are doing. On Thursday, after Best in Show, the Dogwood Rottweiler Club hosts a dog carting seminar where folks can learn about competition and titles, and how to train a dog to cart. Carting equipment will be available for people to try with their own dogs. Then on Saturday the American Rottweiler Club will have a competition course set up and available for people to try, again with carts and harnesses available for those who don’t have them.

In addition, on Friday, Saturday and Sunday there will be Coursing Ability Tests, and since three successful runs are required for a title to be earned, people can title their dogs in one weekend. This competition is open for all breeds and mixed-breed dogs, and as people who read BISD regularly know, I tried coursing last year with my Norwich. I just loved how much fun all the people – with all kinds of dogs – were having, and more importantly how much fun the dogs were having.

There’s much more on offer at this cluster. The Macon KC will have “all kinds of goodies and doggie items” available at its annual raffle, the proceeds of which will go to Pet Meals on Wheels. One lucky person will even win a brand new Groom Right grooming table. There will be a B match and obedience match on Friday night, 4-to-6 Puppy competition and the AKC Owner-Handler series Friday, and the Welsh Springer Spaniel National on Saturday. Georgia clubs do a rockin’ job with their shows.

Albuquerque, N.M., will be the site for the High Desert Cluster, four shows hosted by the Rio Grande and Coronado Kennel Clubs. On the weekend, the New Mexico Herding Dog Association will host AKC Herding Instinct testing. The cluster will also include obedience and rally, Meet the Breeds, eye and cardiac clinics, a raffle on the weekend with “lots of really nice things” and an obedience match.

The Durango KC holds three shows the following Friday through Sunday, and says in the High Desert premium that its shows are an “easy scenic drive north from Albuquerque,” and in fact it is just over four hours to Cortez, Colo., where the Durango shows are held, so this can make for a great circuit. Remember in the old days when we did circuits?

The back-to-back Denton Kennel Club shows in Texas also close April 24. I spent many happy hours at these shows on many Mother’s Days, and my mother was usually there as well, ring stewarding. These shows are run largely by the Shepherd family, with Nancy as the show chair, Michael in charge of trophies and lots of other details, instead of in the Boxer ring where he’s found at all other dog shows, and Shep, Michael’s dad, one of my favorite dads of all time, generally running things outside the building. At least that’s the way it used to be, and I suspect not much has changed. The Shepherds and the other terrific members of Denton KC will make you feel welcome at their shows; that’s for sure.

As always I would be delighted to report on what’s going on at your dog shows, so write to me at