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– New Events “Just For Juniors” at the AKC National Obedience Invitational and AKC Agility Invitational Add To Celebration —

New York, NY – Two of AKC’s Companion Events – Agility and Obedience -are celebrating sport milestones at the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship festivities this December 17-18, 2011 in Orlando, Florida at the Orange County Convention Center. Agility, AKC’s fastest-growing canine sport, is on track to hit one million entries in 2011, while the sport of Obedience celebrates its 75th anniversary.

“We’re pleased to celebrate these milestones at the AKC National Obedience Invitational and AKC Agility Invitational,” said Curt Curtis, AVP of Companion Events. “Our thanks go out to the fanciers for all of their support for these two events over the years!”

Since the first test in 1933 which drew eight dogs, Obedience has grown to approximately 130,000 entries in 2,573 events across the country this year. There are 146 dogs entered in the AKC National Obedience Invitational, encompassing 55 breeds from 33 states and Canada.

AKC held its first agility trials in 1994, staging 23 trials with 2,000 entries. In 2010, AKC sanctioned 2,461 agility trials and received 947,137 entries. The sport grew even further in 2011. The AKC Agility Invitational has drawn 592 entries, with dogs representing 157 breeds and 46 states.

Another milestone reached is for the first time ever, the AAI and NOI will also welcome All-American dogs enrolled in the AKC Canine Partners program. A total of 15 All-American Dogs will compete in Agility, Obedience and the respective junior events.

As another way to celebrate their sport’s milestones, the AKC National Obedience Invitational and AKC Agility Invitational are offering special competitions just for juniors for the first time ever.

The new AKC Juniors Agility Competition and AKC National Juniors Obedience Competition join the Junior Showmanship event, which has been part of AKC/Eukanuba National Championship since its inception in 2001. The three events have drawn entries of 50, 47 and 159 junior handlers, respectively.

Three of the agility juniors competing have also qualified for the AKC Agility Invitational and will run their dogs in that competition over the weekend. Several obedience juniors will exhibit multiple dogs, and one junior will compete in all three events – Junior Showmanship, the AKC Juniors Agility Competition and the AKC National Juniors Obedience Competition.

The AKC Juniors Agility Competition runs Friday, December 16th from 8:00 am to 11:00 am. The AKC National Juniors Obedience Competition will run Saturday, December 17th from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm. Agility juniors will run both Standard and Jumpers with Weaves courses in either the Junior Excellent or Superior Classes, depending on whether they’ve achieved an agility title. The junior obedience entrants will compete in three age divisions in Beginner Novice and/or Novice classes twice, based on their AKC obedience accomplishments.

Stay tuned to www.akc.org/invitational for the latest updates. Tickets for the Day sessions are still available and can be purchased through the AKC Website or in person at the Orange County Convention Center Box Office on the day(s) of the events.

by: American Kennel Club

The American Kennel Club (AKC) proudly celebrated its 125th Anniversary in 2009. Since 1884 the not-for-profit organization has maintained the largest registry of purebred dogs in the world, and today its rules govern more than 20,000 canine competitions each year. The AKC is dedicated to upholding the integrity of its registry, promoting the sport of purebred dogs and breeding for type and function. Along with its nearly 5,000 licensed and member clubs and its affiliated organizations, the AKC advocates for the purebred dog as a family companion, advances canine health and well-being, works to protect the rights of all dog owners and promotes responsible dog ownership. Affiliate AKC organizations include the AKC Humane Fund, AKC Canine Health Foundation, AKC Companion Animal Recovery and the AKC Museum of the Dog. For more information, visit www.akc.org.

AKC, American Kennel Club, the American Kennel Club seal and design, and all associated marks and logos are trademarks, registered trademarks and service marks of The American Kennel Club, Inc.

To become a fan of the AKC on Facebook, go to http://www.facebook.com/americankennelclub. To follow the AKC on Twitter, go to http://www.twitter.com/akcdoglovers.

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