HANFORD — They say that every dog has its day, but in Hanford, the dogs get their own weekend.
The Kings and Sequoia Kennel clubs will host their annual American Kennel Club-sanctioned dog shows next weekend at the Kings County Fairgrounds. The Sequoia club will be presenting the shows Thursday and Friday, while the Kings club will host the Saturday and Sunday shows.
“[Handlers] come in from all over the United States, and we even have handlers from overseas who come in to show their dogs,” Pat Noland, treasurer of both kennel clubs said.
Each day, dogs of all breeds and categories will compete and a Best in Show will be chosen by judges at the tail-end of each day, based on how well each dog displays characteristics of their particular breeds. Breed categories include sporting, hound, working, terrier, toy, nonsporting and herding.
One special treat for dog fans this year is the appearance of a very rare breed — the Norwegian Lundehund. The dog, bred for hunting puffins — a penguin-like bird — is the oldest of the Nordic breeds, possibly existing since before the Ice Age, but canine distemper outbreaks nearly sent the six-toed pooch to extinction around the time of World War II.
Only six dogs remained, but due to very careful breeding, there were nearly 1,400 of them in the world as of 2010. Only about 350 of those were in the United States.
“It’s a good thing for people to see — a new breed like that,” Noland said.
Proceeds from the show will be used for charitable causes, including donations to local animal shelters and scholarships for students to the University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine. The kennel clubs also give to the canine programs of local law enforcement agencies.
Noland says that the most popular dogs at the shows are generally the classics — beagles, retrievers, dachshunds, Dobermans.
Noland used to show Kerry blue terriers, but gave it up due to the time and travel involved.
“You have to devote all your time to it. There’s a show every weekend,” she said.
In addition to the competition and show itself, the event will also host food vendors and dog-related items will be available as well.
The events run from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. Entry is free, parking is $5.