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Detroit Kennel Club dog shows return, but in Novi

By Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

After a one-year absence, the Detroit Kennel Club is walking its annual dog show to a new location, coordinators said Tuesday.

The 112th and 113th Detroit Kennel Club Dog Shows are set for June 20-21 at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi.

"We are thrilled to be back with another weekend packed full of family fun, competition, and of course the opportunity for visitors to learn about the different breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club," Erik Bergishagen, president of the Detroit Kennel Club, said in a statement. "We look forward to spectators coming out to see the competition, meet the breeders and learn more about the sport."

The two-day event draws more than 2,000 dogs from the more than 160 breeds and varieties recognized by the AKC, the group said.

The Detroit Kennel Club, which has held an annual dog show for nearly a century, opted to suspend its 2014 event after failing to find a main sponsor for several years.

Falling attendance in recent years had impacted the show, typically held each March at Detroit's Cobo Center, DKC Board Member Chris Berg said.

Without a major sponsor and their financial backing, he said, "it was not going to be fiscally responsible for us to stay downtown." So, the show has been tweaked and is moving to a more affordable venue, said Berg, chairman of the event.

There's a chance another sponsor could step in, Berg said, but "we're cutting back and making sure we're careful with our money and where we spend it."

Previously, club officials said it cost more than $100,000 to have the show at Cobo, with a sponsor covering the majority of the cost.

Among the changes to the show this year: It won't be one of the few in the country that are benched, meaning animals had to be in designated spots at certain times, which would have required submitting a floor plan in advance, Berg said. "We needed to have that flexibility so we could shift some things."

Other additions in 2015 include a weight pull, "nose work" demonstration and "American breed extravaganza," Berg said.

Still, spectactors won't notice much of a difference in the overall show format, he added. "They can expect to see a lot of good dogs. We're going to put on a quality show."

Tickets, which are sold separately for each show, are $10 for adults, $5 for children ages 6-10 and seniors ages 65 and older.

For more information go to www.DetroitKennelClub.org.