Dog Shows in a New Era
Part 3: Here We Go Again

By Jess Pearson
Stock Photos
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The trucks are packed with ex pens stacked floor to ceiling. Shiny aluminum East Coast Crates have been power washed, and the tack boxes are loaded. Social media is abuzz with eager exhibitors. This could only mean one thing: it’s another dog show weekend!

Two shows, approximately 650 miles apart, await eager exhibitors this weekend. In Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, the Mountain Laurel Cluster is ready with social distancing rules in place, mask requirements, and lots of hand sanitizer. Meanwhile in Greenville, South Carolina, the Carolina Foothills cluster is following AKC guideline and suspending the use of force dryers indoors. On the other side of the country, the Cook Inlet Kennel Club in Alaska and corresponding specialties have changed ring locations in preparation for proper social distancing. Nevertheless, all of these shows, while reaching limits or near limits, are ready to go in this new era.

Let’s not forget Canfield, Ohio next weekend. A near 4,000 entries have all eyes on the Steel Valley Cluster. This show has had an average of 2,500 entries in the past, but with no entry limits, the sky is the only limit as exhibitors eagerly make their entries. Record setting entries include 80 Australian Shepherds, 65 Boxers, 78 Dobermans, 63 German Shepherds, and 72 Standard Poodles all before the peak of the cluster.Earlier in the week, the cancellation of Palm Springs 2021 left exhibitors heartbroken; the Apple Blossom Cluster left others bewildered, but it almost seems like a lifetime ago as we press forward in this “new normal.”

While this is a trying time for our sport, one thing is certain: the dogs have only improved during this down time. With record setting entries, there is no doubt that quality meets quantity this weekend. No matter what our fellow fanciers are doing, whether staying safe at home, returning to work, or simply happy to have another dog show, we are all in this together.