ENID, Oklahoma — If you love dogs, you have to check out the Sooner State Kennel Club’s (SSKC) annual dog show at the Chisholm Trail Expo Center this weekend.
People are encouraged to come and watch. However, SSKC members are reminding you to leave your beloved canines at home. Pets are not allowed; The only dogs allowed in the building are those registered at one or more events.
The show opened for the agility event on Friday. Saturday and Sunday events start at 8am each day for all four performance events – conformation (which is technically the dog show portion), obedience, agility and rally.
Admission is free; All viewers have to do is bring a chair and enjoy.
The Sooner State Kennel Club, founded in 1943, has held dog shows of all breeds in the Enid area since 1944. SSKC is a licensed affiliate of the American Kennel Club (AKC), the national canine club, so they typically hold back-to-back dog shows, as well as obedience, agility, and rally trials once a year in the fall.
The conformation event, the original dog show, is one of the most popular events in the world, as evidenced by the Best In Show at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, which has been televised since 1948. At the conformation event or “dog show” dogs are judged on how closely they meet the standard of their respective breed.
Conformity winners reflect the breed as closely as possible. Does the dog have the face, bone structure, movements, etc. of its particular breed?
The American Kennel Club officially recognizes 200 breeds divided into seven groups: Sporting, Hound, Working, Terrier, Toy, Non-Sporting, and Herding. During a dog show, the seven group winners are brought into the ring by their exhibitor (or handler) for Best In Show, the highest award at a dog show.
Unlike the conformation event, which is only restricted to purebred breeds, mixed breeds can compete in all other events that are companion sports – obedience, agility and rally. Mixed breed dogs (and purebred dogs that are not eligible for AKC registration) may compete in performance and companion events at dog shows as long as they are registered in the AKC’s Purebred Alternative Listing (PAL).
Developed in the 1930s and one of the oldest dog sport events, obedience demonstrates the dog’s ability to follow specific routines in the obedience ring and emphasizes the dog’s usefulness as a companion to humans.
“The aim of obedience tests is to recognize dogs that have been trained to behave in a manner that gives recognition to the sport of obedience at all times and in all conditions, in the home, in public places and in the presence of other dogs,” the website reads of the American Kennel Club.
One of the fastest growing canine sports, the agility event was introduced in 1994. Dogs fight against a clock while overcoming an obstacle course with high concentration and speed. There are pole jumps, loom poles, hoop jumps, table stands and more.
Rally, a combination of obedience and agility, is one of the newest dog sport events. In it, the handler and the dog navigate a course side by side, heading for a course with 10-20 different signs. Each character contains instructions on which skill to perform.
Other dog sport events that have taken place at previous SSKC dog shows have included tracking, dive dogs, field trials, barn hunts, lure coursing and more. The Sooner State Kennel Club also sometimes holds specialty dog shows (a specific breed or varieties of a breed) or group dog shows (limited to dogs from one of the seven AKC groups) during its annual dog show.
Most handlers have more than one dog that competes in the Sooner State Kennel Club dog show, and some dogs may compete in multiple events.
It’s a great way to meet like-minded people who love dogs and love people who love dogs, several club members explained.
This weekend’s events also give prospective or first-time exhibitors and handlers the opportunity to observe how their breed is judged and presented.
Also, Sooner State Kennel Club members are eager to share their knowledge; As experts on their breeds, they love to share what they’ve learned over the years.