The North Branch Cluster begins on Thursday, September 5, with the Big Apple Sporting Society, Central New Jersey Hound Association and Non-Sporting Group Club of the Garden State shows, and continues with Tuxedo Park KC on Friday, Somerset Hills KC on Saturday and Westchester on Sunday. The cluster is held at North Branch Park in Bridgewater, N.J.

The Westchester Kennel Club show’s opening ceremonies each year include a musical performance by local artisans such as the Sabatino Duo, pictured at the show in 2009. Photo by Dan Sayers.

The first Westchester KC show was held in 1906, so this is a cluster with a rich history. A look at the membership lists and show committees for the three all-breed clubs reveals some of the most recognized and respected names in the dog sport.

The 13th show hosted by the NS Group of the Garden State offers CGC testing, Best Puppy, the AKC Owner-Handler series and 4-to-6 Puppy competition. Big Apple Sporting Society offers Best Puppy and Best Veteran competition with cash prizes, and during Group judging will share chilled apple cider and other refreshments with exhibitors.

Westchester will include five specialty shows, five supported entries and CGC testing. The three all-breed shows will include 4-to-6 Puppy competition. Purina is the official sponsor of the cluster and offers prizes to Group and BIS winners at all of the shows.

Several clubs have written to us recently to ask us to cover their “smaller, old-fashioned” shows, often standalone events, and next week marks the closing of another show whose club bills it as a “casual, old-fashioned, fun dog show.”

The Eugene Kennel Club will hold its back-to-back shows Saturday and Sunday, September 7 and 8, at Pioneer Park in Brownsville, Ore., 30 miles north of Eugene and an hour-and-a-half south of Portland. The club encourages exhibitors and judges to dress comfortably and informally, and to “enjoy a casual, fun day in the park with our beloved dogs, especially puppies, and friends,” just like in the “good old days.” Indeed these shows are billed as a “picnic in the park.”

The 26-acre Pioneer Park, in use since the 1840s, is bordered on two sides by the Calapooia River and provides a comfortable, beautiful and shady outdoor venue for the dog shows. The club provides large, spacious rings and plenty of tenting. The premium list also cites a “charming historic local community that offers interesting things to see and do in the off hours” as a draw, making the shows even more appealing. The club offers Best Puppy competition, obedience and rally, as well as cardiac, eye, patella, microchip and BAER clinics. Meet the Breeds will take place at the park on Saturday. It sounds like a lovely way to spend a weekend with dogs and dog friends.

Clubs that encourage juniors are helping cultivate the future of the sport of showing dogs, and are always to be commended. The Redwood Empire KC is helping to make things just a little bit easier for junior families by offering Junior Showmanship competition at no charge during its shows on September 7 and 8 at the Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds in Petaluma, Calif. A fee of just $24 for Puppy and Bred-by classes helps out exhibitors as well.

The club is also hosting a “Give Back Bar-B-Que” to show its appreciation to exhibitors on Saturday after Best in Show. With specialties on both Thursday and Friday preceding the two all-breed shows, this promises to be a good weekend.

The Gulf Coast Classic in Biloxi, Miss., has a lot going on. Four all-breed shows, one Group show and numerous specialties make up the cluster that opens on Wednesday, September 4, at the Mississippi Gulf Coast Coliseum with the Mississippi Gulf Coast Toy Breed Club show. The Singing River KC of Mississippi and Mobile KC host the all-breed shows.

On Thursday and Friday, Singing River sponsors a police dog demonstration, Best Puppy and Best Bred-by-Exhibitor in Show competition and CGC testing. Saturday and Sunday Mobile KC will hold an obedience demo, CGC testing and the AKC Owner-Handler series. On Saturday Dr. Marcia DuBois Martin, a holistic veterinarian, will be available to speak with exhibitors and guests. Since 2003 Dr. Martin has studied and practiced veterinary acupuncture, veterinary homeopathy and animal chiropractic techniques.

The shows are rounded out with an eye clinic and the presence of the International Canine Semen Bank mobile clinic. The Mississippi Coast German Shepherd Dog Club will hold specialties on Friday and Saturday, with obedience as well on Friday.

If your club has something special happening at its upcoming show, or if you went to a show recently that had a little something extra that you especially enjoyed, please leave a comment below, or contact our Editor in Chief at We’d be happy to report on it.