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Annual All Breeds Dog Show Planned in Smithfield

A dog takes the plunge during the dock diving contest at a recent Friendship Cluster AKC All Breed Dog Show.

This year’s Labor Day Weekend Friendship Cluster AKC All Breed Dog Show promises to be an exciting event, which members of the St. Clairsville Ohio Kennel Club, Fort Steuben Kennel Association and Beaver County Kennel Club have been planning for over a year.

The four-day show is being held at Friendship Park at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds in Smithfield this Friday through Monday.

The annual show attracts people from all walks of life and occupations, not just locally, but across the United States, Canada and overseas competing for championship points and wins toward obedience and rally titles.

“This show is a great attraction,” said Donna Simpson, president of the St. Clairsville Kennel Club.

She noted that there will be more than 630 dogs and 132 breeds each day, ranging from puppies to adults. One dog will receive the coveted “Best In Show” and one dog will receive “High in Trial in Obedience.”

New this year is the “FAST CAT,” which stands for “coursing ability test.” It is a timed 100-yard dash where dogs run one at a time, chasing a lure. Any dog can enter as long as they are 12 months old and registered under the AKC or its Canine Partners or PAL program.

Another event is AKC Lure Coursing in which dogs chase a mechanized, white plastic lure around a 600-plus yard course that simulates the unpredictability of chasing live prey while zig-zagging across a big, open field.

North America Diving Dogs will hold an All-Breed Dock Diving event each day where titles can be earned. Dock diving is a fast-growing sport that is fun for dogs of all breeds and sizes. Tryouts are available at noon each day, assisted by experienced trainers.

People will also be able to watch the obedience and rally competitions. In obedience, each purebred or mixed breed dog and its handler work as a team performing a set of exercises, including on and off leash heeling, retrieving an object over a jump and a more advanced exercise would include scent discrimination where dogs retrieve an article with their owner’s scent from among a number of similar articles.

The rally competition consists of the dog and handler team completing a course that has been designed by the judge. The dog and handler proceeds at his or her own pace through a course of designated stations. The handler is permitted to talk, praise and encourage the dog. Exercises include various degrees of turns, circles, spirals, sits and varying speeds. There also is a puppy competition.

“This competition gets puppies ready for the show ring when they can enter the show for points when they are 6 months old,” said Tom Davis, president of the Beaver County Kennel Club.

Bob Damron, president of the Fort Steuben Kennel Association, said the Junior Showmanship Competition is one class that “you won’t want to miss.”

“Boys and girls from ages 10 to under 18 compete with others of their own age, where they are judged on how they present their dog,” Damron said. “Juniors also compete in many other performance events such as obedience, agility and rally.”

Junior classes were developed to recognize and support the unique relationship between a child and a dog, to encourage responsible dog ownership and to secure a place for these youngsters in the fancy of today and that of the future as they become adults.

On Saturday, a rabies and microchip clinic will be open to the public from 11a.m. to 2 p.m. Drawings for baskets and other items will be held and there will be a bake sale on Sunday.

Also on Sunday, the Steel Valley Chihuahua Fanciers will hold a Fun Match and the inaugural 4-H Challenge. Six local Ohio counties and one from Pennsylvania have been invited to participate as teams in four classes. The classes are Showmanship, Rally, Costume and Obstacle Course. Locally, some 4-H kids have become big players in AKC shows. 4-H promotes good sportsmanship, citizenship and responsible animal ownership.

A variety of food will be available and vendors will have dog related items for sale. Judging hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m each day. The Friendship Cluster welcomes visitors to join them for refreshments during afternoon group judging each day. Groups start at 12:30 p.m. on Friday, 12:45 p. m. on Saturday, 1 p.m. on Sunday and 12:15 p.m. on Monday.

There is no admission cost, but parking is $5.

For more information on the show or to find out what time a breed is showing, visit Labor Day Weekend Friendship Cluster All Breed Dog Shows on Facebook or call 304-281-3087.

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