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San Joaquin Kennel Club celebrates 100 years with dog show

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Posted: Friday, December 1, 2017 3:50 pm

From miniature Schnauzers and Bichon Frises to Lhasa Apsos and Alaskan Malamutes, dogs big and small will gather at the San Joaquin County Fairgrounds to show off their stuff this weekend.

The San Joaquin Kennel Club has teamed up with the Golden Valley Kennel Club to host four days of dog shows at the fairgrounds, beginning Friday and running through Monday.

“Some of the top dogs in the country will be there, from all over,” said Ed Odron, president of the San Joaquin Kennel Club.

The two organizations are combining their efforts for the first time; the Golden Valley club has held their show in Turlock in the past.

But the two clubs decided to join up and fill the fairgrounds with canine capers all weekend long.

So far, there are 900 dogs entered to compete on Friday and Monday, Odron said. More than 1,300 entries are scheduled for Saturday and Sunday. Many of the dogs are competing on multiple days, but that still means a huge influx of dog owners and handlers in the region over the weekend.

The public is invited to come out and watch the shows, visit dozens of vendors, meet the owners and handlers, explore an educational area, and help the San Joaquin Kennel Club celebrate a huge milestone.

“Sunday is San Joaquin Kennel Club’s 100th anniversary,” Odron said.

In the group’s early days, it was known as the Stockton Kennel Club. It held its first show at the San Joaquin County Fairgrounds in 1917, before moving to downtown Stockton in the early 1920s.

After just a few years, the club returned to the fairgrounds and changed its name, Odron said. They’ve been there ever since.

The show brings in tens of thousands of dollars for Stockton and the surrounding area each year, as teams and judges from around the country stay in local hotels, eat at local restaurants, and go wine-tasting and sight-seeing.

“It’s good for our community,” Odron said.

It’s also a great chance for dog-lovers from the local area to come out and see how a dog show works.

There are a few elements to the shows, including conformation, obedience and rally competitions. These judge how well dogs represent their breed in appearance, health and movement, as well as listen to their handlers.

“It’s kind of like Westminster, but it’s here in our own backyard,” Odron said.

There’s also the barn hunt, where a live mouse — carefully protected in PVC piping with breathing holes — is hidden among hay bales and the dogs have to sniff it out.

While the competitors want to win, they’re there to have a good time, too.

Some competitions are for professional handlers who show their dogs all over the country. Others are for owners who aren’t professional handlers, and there are contests for youngsters, too.

A special competition on Saturday is for puppies 4 to 6 months old, who often play and bounce their way across the ring, Odron said.

“The puppies have such a good time,” he said.

A public education area will have information about dogs and dog breeds, along with children’s activities and coloring pages. Tours at 10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday will explain the ins and outs of the show, from the seven dog groups to what the dogs are being judged on.

“All that stuff is free,” Odron said.

More than two dozen vendors will be selling mainly dog-themed items like treats, toys and grooming supplies. However, gift items like windsocks, Scentsy, essential oils and succulents will be available for sale, too.

Food, kettle corn and coffee will be available, too.

“We’re a nonprofit organization, so any profit that we generate from the show, we donate,” Odron said.

In the past, they’ve donated to local canine-associated organizations, such as the K-9 unit of the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Department.

This year, in addition to helping local dogs, the club intends to donate to areas affected by the Northern California wildfires.

The San Joaquin Kennel Club hopes that local residents will come out to their family-friendly event. Visitors on Sunday will even be able to help celebrate the club’s anniversary with free coffee and donuts from 7 to 9 a.m. The day will have a black-and-white theme, and there will be selfie opportunities with a 1917-themed cutout.

“There’s a whole bunch of activities, and the weather’s looking to be good,” Odron said.

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