By Jennifer McClellan
From massive mastiffs to pint-size pugs, about 1,700 dogs will compete in conformation, agility, obedience and rally trials at the American Kennel Club “Turquoise Cluster” Dog Show this week at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale.
About 1,500 purebred dogs will compete in conformation, the best-of-breed trials. Two hundred other dogs, both purebred and mixed breed, are entered in the performance competitions.
Visitors, who are allowed to bring leashed dogs, can watch the competitions, talk with breeders and shop at vendor booths.
“People love the chance to be up close and see how the fur flies, if you will,” said show Chairman Mike Doty. “Watching agility and obedience are equally impressive, and it’s exciting to be able to hear judges giving instructions and see the expressions when people win or lose.”
Agility completions feature handlers directing a dog through an obstacle course. The goal is to complete the course with the fewest mistakes in the shortest time.
Like agility, rally competitions are held on an obstacle course. Scoring is not as strict in agility, dogs do not have to keep a perfect heel position, and communication between handler and dog is encouraged.
Obedience trials determine how well a dog can understand and obey the commands of a handler. Levels of difficulty vary, from relatively simples tasks of sitting and staying to finding and retrieving something with the handler’s scent from a pile of articles.
“Obedience is a testimony to how dedicated people can be to their dogs,” Doty said. “Handlers can get their dogs to do some pretty amazing things.”
The “Turquoise Cluster” dog show is hosted by two West Valley clubs: the Kachina Kennel Club and the Arrowhead Kennel Club.
Of the 174 American Kennel Club-recognized breeds, 145 will be represented, including Phoenix’s top three most popular breeds: Labrador retriever, German shepherd and bulldog. Visitors can also see unusual-looking breeds, such as Chinese crested, Portuguese water dog and schipperke.
Check out these tips for spectators, courtesy of the American Kennel Club.
Visit the grooming area and talk with the professionals to get tips on keeping your dog looking his best.
Do not pet a dog without asking for permission first. The dog may have just been groomed in preparation for being judged.
Wear comfortable shoes — you’ll be doing a lot of walking and standing.
If you’re considering getting a purebred dog, talk to the breeders and exhibitors about the characteristics and responsibilities associated with the breed.
Read more: AZCentral.com