Sunflower Cluster of Dog Shows this weekend

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HUTCHINSON, Kan. — Hundreds of breeds of dogs will compete at the 2024 free Sunflower Cluster of Dog Shows at the Kansas State Fairgrounds June 6-9.

“The Sunflower Cluster of Dog Shows is a cooperative effort among the Hutchinson, Salina and Wichita Kennel Clubs and the Wichita Dog Training Club,” Ruth Lloyd, member of the Hutchinson Kennel Club, said. “We all work together on that, and they have competition. It’s sanctioned by the American Kennel Club and they have competition for conformation which is like what you see on Westminster show, except not quite as fancy. We don’t generally dress in evening wear.”

Other events at the shows include obedience and rally obedience, best in breed, best in show and dock diving. For conformation events, a dog must be a purebred.

“The dog has to be AKC registered and in order to go to all the trouble of that of seeking a championship, the owner has to believe that the dog is a good specimen of its breed standard,”  Lloyd said. “Every recognized breed has a breed standard that tells you what that dog is supposed to be both in terms of appearance and in terms of temperament and so forth.”

There are trophies for various levels throughout the competitions.

“What trophy is available depends on how many are in entered your breed and whether somebody in particular wanted to sponsor that trophy,” Lloyd said.

Seven different types of dog breeds are split into different categories that include, sporting, herding, working, hound, terrier, toy and non-sporting. Lloyd said usually the best in breed category trophy can be a dog related-item or cash for their win.

“Each of those win the best of breed winners and each of those groups compete against each other,”Lloyd said. “The judge will pick first through fourth out of each group and the first place winner in each group gets a trophy and then the big trophy of course is best in show and there are two best in show.”

The seven winners out of each breed group will compete for best in show.

“That’s the big trophy and then there is a reserve best in show. There also is an owner-handle best in show and reserve,” Lloyd said “Owner handle is strictly limited to those dogs who  actually are shown by their owners, no professional handlers in that event.”

Lloyd said children are encouraged to attend the shows but to make sure parents caution their child on approaching other dogs.

“We do ask parents, please don’t let your child run up to a strange dog unless you first check with the dog’s owner and make sure that’s okay,” Lloyd said. “That’s a good practice no matter whether you are at a dog show or at the park, you know.”

A cardiology, radiology and ophthalmology clinic will be on site. Some additional events at the shows include a 4-6 month old puppy beginner competition and a junior handler clinic with the professionals.

Lloyd said the AKC only allows kennel clubs to do two shows per year. The Hutchinson Kennel Club show will be on Thursday, June 6 and Sunday, June 9. The Salina Kennel Club show is on Friday, June 7 and the Wichita Kennel Club show is on Saturday, June 8.

Specific show times, entries, judge information and rules and regulations is available at this link.

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