I love Louisville, Next week I will be Louisville KY for the Kentuckiana Cluster, traditionally the biggest weekend of the season. Now, the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship week may actually have more entries, but the restriction to champions and grand champions, means that there are only three all breed shows open to all. In 2010, the Kentuckiana Cluster’s four shows ranked one, two, four, & 11 in the number of dogs competing in AKC all breed shows.

Now, I have my own reasons for loving this cluster. First, it’s a leisurely seven hour drive from my home here in Memphis TN. Secondly, It’s relatively centralized location draws dogs from all over the US. Last year’s show drew almost all of the 2011 Top Twenty. Finally, for the real dog show fan, the clusters’ 22 breed specialties, including three parent specialties, offers fanciers a chance to see huge numbers of breeds that are usually missing from their local shows. I mean, when was the last time you saw 26 Otterhounds at a show?

This year’s counts are in and they impressive. Thursday’s Mid-Kentucky Kennel Club drew 2598 dogs, Friday’s Lousiville Kennel Club show will showcase 3249, Saturday’s Evansville show is the largest of the set with 3536 in the regular classes, & Sunday’s Lousiville Kennel Club closer will have 3339. While the ubiquitous Golden Retrievers, Boxers, & Doberman Pinschers, all have admirable entries, spectators will be treated to unheard of entries in Brussels Griffons (77) & Belgian Tervuren (59) both on Friday, Bedlington Terriers (68 on Saturday), & Dogues des Bordeaux (87 on Sunday).

Now if you are good with numbers (or the numeric key pad on your computer), you will see that adds up to 12,722 dogs to defeat and add to your resume. A further look at the entry reveals that the Working Group leads with almost 21 percent of the entries, the Herding Group is a surprising second with 15.6 percent, followed by the Sporting Group nearly 15 percent, the Hound & Terrier Groups with 13.6 percent each, the Toy Group is next 13.1 percent, and the Non-Sporting Group has eight percent of the dogs. The Saturday Working Group entry is 739, bigger than a lot of all breed shows we see now.

If you live in Louisville or, like I, a leisurely drive’s distance, come to Louisville KY next week and be amazed at this once a year gathering of AKC’s finest. An that’s today’s Back Story.