Hundreds of canines set to compete at Labor Day Weekend dog shows in Jefferson County


The Friendship Cluster of Dog Shows will present their annual four days of shows Friday, September 1 through Monday, September 4 at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds just outside of Smithfield, Ohio. 

Three clubs, St. Clairsville, Ohio Kennel Club, Fort Steuben Kennel Association, and Trumbull County Kennel Club have joined their efforts to put on these shows. 

Organizers expect 500 to 700 dogs to compete each day, representing more than 150 different breeds. 

This is the only sport where amateurs and professionals compete head-to-head for the same prizes. 

The shows begin each day at 8:00 a.m. with individual breed judging and will conclude with crowning each day’s Best in Show winner. This part of the show is called conformation since the dogs are judged according to the breed’s standard describing how the ideal dog of each breed should be structured.

Although the AKC rules state that a dog must be 6 months of age or older to compete for titles, a 4 & under 6 months Puppy Competition, a mini practice dog show for the puppies, is offered as a special attraction with AKC’s permission. Junior Showmanship is also being offered for kids from ages 9 up to 18 where the kids are judged on their handling abilities.

There will also be competition in obedience and rally each day where dogs and their owners, both mixed breed and purebred, compete as a team to perform required exercises that will help the dog be able to be a good family member and a good neighbor in their communities and can earn titles as well. 

During each day there will be Dock Diving where you can watch the dogs enjoy jumping in the pool or you can “try it” yourself if time is available.  On Saturday, Canine Good Citizen Tests and Trick Dog Certifications will be offered from 9 a.m. until noon.

Each of the listed events do have an entry fee and require being pre-entered.

If you love dogs and would like to learn more about some of the things you can do with your own canine, this is a perfect opportunity to come and learn about them.  Show organizers ask spectators to leave their pets at home since the show atmosphere could be overwhelming for them and be a distraction for the dogs competing.

Vendors with general and dog related items as well as food will be there. There also be a basket raffle.  You can bring a car load of friends and family for a $5 parking fee.

Show organizers say this dog show event is also an economic engine for the Ohio Valley, drawing exhibitors and spectators from across the country who spend money in the area on lodging, meals and transport for event officials and judges. Local vendors and concessions also benefit, says the American Kennel Club.

AKC dog events are hosted by more than 5,000 clubs, which are not-for-profit volunteer organizations. Nationwide, AKC dog events have the potential to generate more than $1.5 billion a year in local spending, according to the American Kennel Club.

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