Dogs and their many fans will fill Cent-uryLink Field Event Center at the Seattle Kennel Club Dog Show this weekend. It’s the 75th year for the event, long considered one of the most family-friendly major dog shows in the country, with entertainment and information along with competition events. More than 1,700 dogs are expected to compete and show their skills.
Best of Show, the first prize of conformation competition, is awarded to the top dog at the end of the show, judged by breed standards for ideal size, color, structure and temperament. More than 150 breeds and varieties will vie for Best in Show, from popular Labrador and Golden Retrievers, poodles, spaniels, Chihauhuas and terriers to the lesser-known Berger Picards; Peruvian Inca Orchids; Chinooks, originally bred to pull sleds and only eligible for Working Group competition since Jan. 1, and Icelandic Sheepdogs that closely resemble dog fossils found buried with prehistoric humans in Denmark and Sweden and only recognized as an AKC breed in 2010.
Other competitions include agility, navigating an obstacle course with speed and accuracy; rally, testing skills a dog performs with its handler; and obedience events. Entertainment both days includes dancing dogs, herding dogs, disc dogs, the F.I.D.O drill team and Reading With Rover dogs that help kids develop reading skills.
Local dog clubs host the Meet the Breed area where visitors can get up close with dogs, talk to owners and breeders, and get information on selecting the right canine for their home and lifestyle. A variety of dog-related vendors encourage visitors to pick up something to take home for a favorite pooch.
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Spectators are reminded not to pet dogs without asking the handler’s permission, to turn off cellphones and to not bring food into to ring area to avoid distracting dogs at work. Strollers and other wheeled child carriers aren’t allowed on the exhibition floor and, while children are welcome, accompanying adults are reminded to keep them from running up to dogs. Leave your own pets at home; only participating dogs are allowed at the show.
Guided show tours explain what’s going on and answer questions, on the hour 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Tour groups are small so that everyone’s questions can be answered; register at the show or by advance registration available online.