I keep having a feeling that talking about the shows in 2013 before we’ve even closed the 2012 show season feels a little bit like seeing Christmas paraphernalia at Halloween… I want to shout, “Give us a chance to finish one before you foist another on us, will you!” But believe it or not, next week entries close for the first shows of 2013, so we have to think about it whether we like it or not!

The first weekend of the New Year will find shows in California, Florida, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Ohio, South Carolina and Texas.

The very first dog shows of 2013 will be held in Indio, Calif. The Desert Empire Terrier ClubToy Dog Breeders of Southern California and Sand to Sea Non-Sporting Association of Southern California hold their shows that day, followed by second shows for all three of those clubs along with So Cal Sporting Dog Fanciers and Inland Empire Hound on Friday. There are numerous other specialties both days as well.

It will be redundant, I’m sure, for me to tell you how absolutely wonderful the Kennel Club of Palm Springs shows are. Gorgeous weather, a picturesque show ground, big entries of quality dogs… they’re about as good as dog shows get. In addition to these assets, the club offers Best Puppy and a Meet the Breeds on Saturday and Best Bred-by-Exhibitor competition on Sunday. There are so many supported entries and specialties both days that many breeds will have sweepstakes in addition to regular class judging.

For the convenience of exhibitors, the club furnishes bathtubs on the grounds, and 1st In-Line Animal Grooming Products provides free shampoo and conditioner. That’s pretty generous, considering how many dogs will get baths over the four days of these shows! I can’t say enough how enjoyable the Palm Springs shows are, whether you’re an exhibitor or a spectator.

Minnesota has long been a location for first shows of the year. On Friday the St. Paul River Centre will be the site for Minnesota January Specialties, including North Star Toy Dog Club, North Star Herding Group Club and Northstar Working Group Association, while Land O’Lakes KC hosts the two all-breed shows on the weekend. There are concurrent specialties offered in four breeds on Friday and two on Saturday, so added opportunities for points German Wirehaired Pointers, Alaskan Malamutes (both days), Boxers, Cavaliers and Shelties.

St. Paul is the venue for the Midwest Region Top Junior Handler competition. Juniors from Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North and South Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas, Wisconsin and Wyoming who have had “two Open wins with competition for Top Junior Handler” in the past year are eligible to compete, and the prize for Top Junior Handler is a $250 gift certificate for Onofrio Dog Shows.

On Sunday the Minnesota Malamute Club is offering a DNA banking clinic, at which blood samples will be collected and later sent to the Canine Health Information Center.

The Clemson Kennel Club is doing it up right, inviting exhibitors to “ring in the New Year” during Group and Best in Show judging on Saturday with hors d’oeuvres and beverages.

The club hosts a B match on Friday evening, and a Best Bred-by-Exhibitor in Show competition on Saturday. The winner of Best BBE in Show will receive a $200 cash prize ($100 more than the Best in Show winner!) and a framed rosette. What a lovely way to recognize the breeder/exhibitor, and these are offered in memory of Suzanne Culbertson by her friends. The International Canine Semen Bank will have its mobile clinic on site during the weekend.

In Texas the fun starts on Friday with the North Texas Non-Sporting Association show and a few specialties, including the Australian Cattle Dog Club of America. Two shows hosted by the Nolan River KC follow. The club offers 4-to-6 Month Puppy competition on Saturday and participates in the AKC Owner-Handler Series on Sunday. Nolan River is judging Best in Miscellaneous classes and Best Junior Handler both days before Group judging, which I think is so nice, as it, of course, gives both a little more attention than they’d otherwise get.

The North Texas Non-Sporting Association is holding seminars for four breeds, Shar-Pei, Chows, Tibetan Spaniels and Schipperkes, on Friday. Nolan River will hold a B match on Saturday evening as well as an obedience C match. On the same grounds there will also be two days of Herding Instinct tests hosted by the North Central Texas Herding Dog Association.

Merrimack Valley KC celebrates its 50th anniversary this year with back-to-back shows one week earlier than the usual show date. The club is offering Junior Showmanship for free, and the entry fee for the veteran competition on Saturday is only $10.

The Northern Ohio Winter Classic consists of three all-breed shows, Columbiana County KC on Friday and Rubber City KC on Saturday and Sunday, January 4 through 6. These clubs host a police dog demonstration on both weekend days and Meet the Breeds on Sunday.

And last but not least, the first two shows of the “Florida Circuit,” although it isn’t what it used to be, will be held in Deland on January 5 and 6, hosted by the Greater Daytona Dog Fanciers’ Association. The club offers a Best Veteran in Show competition both days, with judges to be announced at the show.

We’re looking forward to seeing what clubs around the U.S. have planned in the New Year, so please email me at christibisd@gmail.com at least four weeks before your show closes if you’d like for us to spread the word about what your club is doing.