Starting July 1, the Deschutes County Fair and Expo Center will be dog-centric during the 40th annual Mount Bachelor Kennel Club AKC All Breed Dog Show. This year’s theme celebrates Independence Day, so expect some patriotic-looking pooches and handlers in the arenas during this three-day event.
“At our show, we offer both Conformation, which is the ‘beauty pageant’ event of dog showing, as well as four different performance events: Obedience, Rally, Agility and Fast CAT, which is a lure coursing event where the dogs compete for time,” said Karen Gray, MBKC newsletter editor. “We held our first show in Redmond in 1982, so this year marks 40 years of AKC dog shows in Central Oregon.” Considered a mid to large-sized dog show, the backdrop of the Cascade Mountains and well-kept facilities add to the beauty and allure of the show, which attracts exhibitors, judges, and participants from across the country.
This show provides dogs with opportunities to gain points toward Grand Champion status. “There are opportunities for progression to year-end events such as the Westminster Dog show and the AKC National Championship dog show,” said Gray. “These dogs are the best of the best, and their invitation to participate is based on their performance and rankings throughout the year.”
Deb Lane, MBKC club president, has enjoyed competing with her Border Collies since the early 2000s. “I love competing locally because you are on home turf, and your friends and family can frequently come and support you and share your love of your canine partner.”
However, Lane didn’t start out wanting to compete. “Many of my friends were the same way, but as time progressed and we learned more, and now that I have retired, I enjoy spending time with friends learning agility and obedience. Some have chosen to go on and compete; others enjoy the fun times with their dogs.” Dog owners new to showing events can gain valuable experience and information by attending these events.
Two popular events include Rally and Obedience. According to Lane, “Rally is a less formal form of obedience where dog and handler work together as a team and navigate a series of signs. Once the team starts the exercise, the judge stands clear of your path and judges how you perform the signs as a team.” She added that Novice and Intermediate Rally teams work on leash, but that the Advanced, Excellent, and Master teams perform off-leash, and their course may involve one to two jumps.
The Agility event is a spectator favorite, as dogs and their handlers compete for time while navigating an obstacle course of jumps, tunnels, and weave poles. The canine favorite might be Fast CAT (Coursing Ability Test), also known as “lure coursing.” Nick Pisias of the Chintimini Kennel Club explains, “Whereas conformation may be a familiar event to dog show attendees, lure coursing is a dog’s event. It’s not an obedience event. For sighthounds [such as greyhounds, pharaoh hounds, and whippets], this is what dogs are bred to do: chase game. And dogs love to chase!”
Developed in the 1960s, lure coursing replaced what was then called open field coursing, where dogs chased — and sometimes caught — a live rabbit. Nowadays, lure coursing provides a safer and more controlled way to test a dog’s skill. Judged on their ability to follow the lure, including agility and speed, the dogs chase a white plastic bag that represents “prey” and is attached to a long wire, which is drawn through a series of offset pulleys to simulate a rabbit sprinting across a field.
“For the newcomer, attending a dog show can be a little overwhelming,” said Gray. “Each venue has its own set of expectations, and the events are very different from one another, so sometimes it’s hard to follow. The best advice for someone who thinks they might want to show their dog is to do their homework, and that starts with attending a dog show!” Spectators are welcome to attend all the events but please leave your dog at home. Both MBKC and the AKC will have an information table set up at the show and there are always people willing to answer questions and talk “dog.”
MBKC AKC All Breed Dog Show
Starts 8 am
Deschutes County Fair and Expo Center
3800 SW Airport Way, Redmond
Free for spectators