At the Capitol Cluster Dog Show held at the Grays Harbor County Fairgrounds May 2-5, 2019, over 900 dogs from 137 different breeds competed for ribbons and titles. Under the rules and regulations of the American Kennel Club (AKC), dogs and their handlers participated in tests of brand standard, obedience, teamwork and athleticism.

The Capitol Cluster Dog Show brought not just local dog enthusiasts, but also out of state contestants. “You can have people here from Canada, Oregon, California or Idaho,” explains Barbara Long, Vice President of the Nisqually Kennel Club. “People who are campaigning a dog, they will travel 700 miles and they can hire a professional handler.”

An association between The Olympia Dog Fanciers and the Nisqually Kennel Club, each breed of dog was separated into classes: Puppy, 12- to 18-Months, Novice (for dogs who have never won in competition), Amateur-Owner-Handler, Bred by Exhibitor, American Bred (for dogs born in the United States), and Open (for dogs of all countries of origin). Within each class, dogs were judged on a variety of factors including temperament, gait, condition of coat, and how closely they aligned with breed standards.

The dog show, annually held at Grays Harbor Fairgrounds in Elma, is important not just for the South Sound show dog community, but also for the local economy, because of the business it brings to the region. “People will travel a great distance for four days in a row,” says Long. “People eat here, they fill up with gas here, they stay in motels here, and so we bring a lot of money into the community.”

Plus, it’s a great plaace to see a lot of different breeds. Who knows, you just may become a fancier yourself!

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