Shows that close on January 30 this year will take place around the weekend of February 16 and 17, 2013. Among them are some of my favorite shows, those of the Rocky Mountain Cluster, which takes place in Denver and starts just two days after Westminster. I haven’t been to these shows in several years, but it’s a terrific event. The facility is spacious and warm, the clubs hire good judging panels, the location is gorgeous, and you’ll find top quality dogs in competition and majors in many breeds. People travel from all over the U.S. for these shows.

The Plum Creek and Colorado Kennel Clubs host this cluster, which, since at least 2001, has had one or two shows in the top 25 largest U.S. shows every year except in 2010. Entries are typically in the 1,800 to 2,000 range all four days, and a few years have been well over 2,000. The cluster actually begins on Thursday with the Peak to Peak Working Dog Association of Colorado show, the fifth for this fairly new club.

This year the all-breed shows run from Friday through Monday, and although many of the extra activities the clubs offer are the ones that some other clubs do also, Plum Creek and Colorado seem to have left nothing out. There’ll be Best Puppy, Best Bred-by-Exhibitor and Best Veteran competitions, microchipping, heart and eye clinics, and CGC testing. Advanced Animal Care of Colorado will be on site for genetic testing, reproductive services, acupuncture, chiropractic services and more.

The cluster’s premium list includes a schedule for Meet the Breeds, which appears to be very well-planned, and I hope is advertised well to attract the public. On Saturday during the lunch break, the Mile High Musical Tails Freestyle Club of Denver will present a dog dancing demonstration, and flyball and earthdog demonstrations are scheduled for Sunday. In conjunction with the shows, Carmen Battaglia will conduct his “Breeding Better Dogs” seminar on Saturday and Sunday at a local hotel. Rally, obedience and agility trials are scheduled for all four days. These clubs have covered it all.

The three days of shows that take place in Camden, Ark., beginning on Friday, February 15, bill themselves as the “best kept secret in the South.” If there’s one thing that will draw people to a show, I think it might be cash, and the South Arkansas Kennel Club boasts over $6,000 in cash and prizes for its dog show weekend, which includes $500 for Best in Show each day, a very generous $200 for Reserve BIS, $100 for Group First, and $75, $50 and $25 for placements. Best Owner-Handler in show will receive $200, as will the High in Trial dog in the obedience competition. Wow!

On Friday night, the Toy Dog Club of Central Arkansas holds its show. On the weekend, the SAKC has added a 4-to-6 Month Puppy competition, and the club participates in the AKC Owner-Handler series. There will be a big raffle on Saturday with “prizes that everyone wants to win,” and a 50/50 raffle on Sunday. American Cancer Society volunteers will provide home-cooked meals for breakfast and lunch each day, as well as meals for the judges, and all proceeds go to the American Cancer Society. What a great way to raise funds for a good cause.

The Sun ‘n Fun Strawberry Cluster will include four all-breed shows Friday through Monday in Lakeland, Fla. On Saturday after Best in Show, the Mid-Florida Havanese Club sponsors an all-breed handling seminar presented by Harry Bennett. Pre-registration is encouraged and spaces are limited. The cost for adults is $20; junior handlers are free.

This cluster also includes seminars and workshops on the show grounds hosted by the Conformation Judges of Florida Association. Breeds include Coton de Tulear, Samoyeds and Australian Shepherds. There will be heart and eye clinics on the weekend, and the International Canine Semen Bank will be on hand as well.

There are lots of interesting things going on at upcoming shows. If you’d like me to report on what your club is doing to make its show special, please email me at