The dog days of summer reach Kennel Club show

Candice Williams
The Detroit News

Despite a decline in entries in recent years, organizers of this weekend’s Detroit Kennel Club Dog Shows say they’re hoping to build up the event.

Princess Diana takes advantage of a special pillow while waiting for the show to begin on Friday. This is the event’s third year in Novi.

This year, there are 680 dogs entered in each of the shows Saturday and Sunday, said Kellie FitzGerald, president of the Detroit Kennel Club. That’s down from about 2,000 participants in years past.

“It’s smaller than it has been,” she said. “We have changed our time of year. The club as a whole has changed. We are looking to expand out the weekend with another club that would like to come with us. Make it a four-day weekend.”

The 116th and 117th Detroit Kennel Club Dog Shows at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi features more than 160 dog breeds and competitions including rally, obedience, barn hunt and weight pull.

The weekend of shows begins with a poodle specialty event Friday afternoon by the Poodle Club of Southeast Michigan.

The Detroit Kennel Club has held shows for 101 years. It’s now in its third year in Novi after the club moved the event from Cobo Center in 2015. Organizers said that venue became too costly.

Claire gets coiffed by Patty Joseph of Saline before the poodle specialty show.

Switching from a show typically held in March to a weekend in June has been an adjustment, FitzGerald said.

“It’s been a big transition ...” she said. “It’s been a job to transfer to a new place, a new time of year.”

But it appears to be well-received by the public and participants.

Entries in the obedience category are up, Fitzgerald said. The location in Novi allows for more space for exhibitors and their dogs.

“You want the dogs to be comfortable ...,” FitzGerald said. “It doesn’t matter what the weather is outside because you have this big, bright well-maintained facility.”

Tyler, a miniature poodle, runs through his paces as he is shown by Diane Gaw of Mt Pleasant.

In past years, the show has been benched, which requires exhibitors and their dogs to stay for the duration of the event. FitzGerald said the show received feedback from exhibitors who preferred an unbenched show. Dogs don’t need to be present once the breed in which they are competing is judged.

The show also offers something for dog owners hoping to one day enter their pet in the show, said Scott Ellis of the Southern Michigan Obedience Training Club. The volunteer organization trains dog owners how to train their dogs.

Ellis said he’ll be giving a presentation each day on the benefits of having a dog that’s earned a canine good citizen award.

“It proves to you how well behaved your dog is,” he said. “It proves to other people how well behaved your dog is.”

The award also can be a stepping stone to competing in dog shows, he said.

Before that, head to the show, Ellis said.

“Set aside a couple hours,” he said. “You see breeds you’ve never seen. People are proud of their dogs and proud of their breeds. It’s a good place for people to learn about dogs.”


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The 116th and 117th Detroit Kennel Club Dog Shows

When: On Saturday and Sunday, doors open at 8 a.m. The final competitors enter the ring at 2 p.m.

Where: Suburban Collection Showplace, 46100 Grand River Ave, Novi

Cost: $10 adults, $5 seniors ages 65 and older, $5 children ages 6-10. Children ages 5 and under are free. It is $25 for a family pass for two adults and two children.

Parking fee: $5 per vehicle