Last week I reported on the closing dates and activities for the Chicago International Cluster, one of the few benched events left in the U.S., and next week marks the entry closing date for another of the clubs that still put on benched shows. Two all-breed shows hosted by the Detroit Kennel Club, along with four obedience and four rally trials, close on February 13.

One special feature of these shows is that the club has invited all AKC Foundation Stock Service breeds to become part of their shows. Detroit Kennel Club will help introduce FSS breeds to the public and provide education “on the AKC breed recognition process.” This is a great idea, as it offers an opportunity for fanciers to introduce their unusual breeds to the public, and for the public to learn about breeds they might otherwise never see.

The general public enjoys the Terrier races held during the Detroit Kennel Club weekend.

The club has so many more fun things to offer as well. The Motor Cities Fox Terrier Club will be on hand for the ever-popular Terrier racing, where the dogs chase lures. There will be a hands-on demonstration by the Children’s Hospital Pet Therapy program, field training and retriever training demonstrations, Border Collies herding sheep and ducks, and the Michigan Gazehound Association will provide “spectator hands-on” experience in coursing and training techniques. DKC offers Puppy, Owner-Handler and Bred-by-Exhibitor competition at the Group and BIS level, and a bench decoration contest on Saturday with prizes offered for individual exhibitors as well as breed clubs. Meet the Breeds will be conducted both days for a variety of breeds and will include a seminar on “How to Buy a Purebred Puppy.” For exhibitors, there’ll be eye clinics and heart clinics.

On both Saturday and Sunday, the Southern Michigan Obedience Training Club will offer Canine Good Citizen and Therapy Dog International testing for dogs entered at the shows, for a fee of just $10 per dog, a real bargain.

During the shows, the club also presents service dog awards and has in the past recognized local law enforcement dogs. I really commend the Detroit Kennel Club for its extensive efforts to provide a wide variety of special events that will genuinely help educate the public about purebred dogs and also show dog lovers how they can have fun with their companions.


The Detroit Kennel Club goes the extra mile during its early March benched show weekend to provide the general public with many opportunities to learn about and enjoy purebred dogs. Photo courtesy the Detroit Kennel Club.

The Fiesta Cluster, held in Scottsdale, Ariz., Friday, March 1 through Monday, March 4, 2013, is comprised of two Superstition Kennel Club shows and two Scottsdale Dog Fanciers Association shows. AKC event statistics show that in 2011 the Friday through Monday shows drew entries of 2,024, 2,162 and 2,118, making them among the larger shows in the country. At that year’s Monday show, a day when even the most popular circuits seldom draw even 1,000 dogs, they had 1,491 entries in Scottsdale.

Sun Country Terrier Club and 13 specialty clubs actually open the cluster this year with shows on Thursday. The Scottsdale Dog Judges Workshop will begin on Wednesday in conjunction with the shows, with presentations for Cavaliers, Finnish Spitz, Miniature American Shepherd, Australian Shepherds, Schipperkes, Ridgebacks and a comparison of the Podengo varieties on the agenda through Thursday.

There will be a Junior Showmanship handling clinic on Saturday at ringside following Best in Show that will be taught by professional handlers and Junior Showmanship judges and which will include a free pizza dinner, a raffle and trophies. Also on Saturday during Group judging, the sixth annual AKC/CHF Fiesta will include refreshments, raffles and a silent auction at ringside, with all proceeds going to the Canine Health Foundation. The cluster also includes agility trials, microchipping, an eye clinic and Breeder’s Veterinary Services on site. All activities are held outside, and with average temperatures in the 70s in Scottsdale in March, I think this promises to be a great weekend of shows and extracurricular activities for dog people.

Another pair of outdoor shows that weekend whose location boasts average March temperatures of high 60s to low 70s is the Pensacola DFA shows, to be held at the Escambia County Equestrian Center in Pensacola, Fla. A great advantage to this location is that there’s space for some fun performance events. Saturday after Best in Show the club offers lure coursing “instinct and fun runs” for just $5 a run for all breeds, and on both Friday and Saturday there will be herding instinct tests on the show grounds. The Okaloosa Kennel Club hosts two all-breed shows indoors on the prior Thursday and Friday, just about an hour east of Pensacola in Fort Walton Beach.

And another club whose shows had great entries in 2011 – in excess of 550 each day in one Group – were those of the Connecticut River Working Group Association, which will hold its 14th back-to-back Group shows on Saturday and Sunday, March 2 and 3, on the Eastern States Exposition Grounds in West Springfield, Mass. The club offers 4-to-6 Months Puppy competition, Best Puppy and sweepstakes and veteran sweepstakes for all breeds both days.

There’s a lot going on at many dog shows these days, so to keep abreast of the activities at the shows you’ll be attending, be sure to read through their premium lists before you go. And if your club has something special planned for its shows, be sure to email me at