Dog Show Spectating 101

The Peninsula Dog Fanciers’ Club All-Breed Dog Show is just days away!

Our club members are finishing up with the final preparations, dog handlers in the area are getting their dogs show-ready, would-be spectators are already looking forward to cheering on their favorite dog breeds or checking out new breeds they may be interested in, and even the weather looks like it is going to cooperate! All the makings of another successful dog show at the Kitsap County Fairgrounds!

We’ve received a few questions from people about coming to our show for the first time, so I thought it would be a great opportunity to share some spectator-directed “tips” based on my own experience and other information that may make your experience more enjoyable.

First, the nitty-gritty:

The PDFC Dog Show is Saturday, March 23 and Sunday, March 24 at the Kitsap County Fairgrounds. Parking costs $5 and admission is free! Judging begins at 8:00am each day for the breeds and the Group judging begins at 1:45pm each day. Before you get to the show, check out the Judging Program to figure out when and where the breed you want to see is showing.

If this is your first time going to a dog show as a spectator or as an exhibitor I would recommend taking a look at AKC’s Beginner’s Guide to Dog Shows. It is a great introduction to what goes on at dog shows.

Dog shows are great places to research any dog breed that you might be interested in but keep in mind that the primary purpose of the event is for the exhibitors to show their dogs. With that in mind, I’ll leave you with some “tips” on attending dog shows as spectators:

1. Always ask the handler before greeting/petting their dog and don’t be offended if they say “no”. Ask-before-petting is a very important rule in general, but even more so at dog shows. It can get crazy around the show ring so if you are really interested in the breed, wait until after they have finished showing and then approach the handler. Don’t be afraid to chat with other spectators– some of them may actually own the dogs in the ring or have other experience that may be beneficial to you!

2. Be a conscientious spectator. Just to cover the bases: be polite, don’t stare-down the dogs or try to distract them while in the ring, don’t block the ring entrances or primary walking aisles, don’t try to talk to the handlers while they are in the ring, et cetera. And clap! It is a nice courtesy that if you clap for one, you clap for all! Edited to add: If you are watching the Obedience and Rally rings, try not to make lots of loud noise, play with squeaking toys, or do anything else that might create distractions for the dogs. It takes a lot of concentration for the dogs and handlers to be successful in the ring!

3. Ask questions! If you aren’t able to talk to handlers (see #1), try talking to our club members, Ring Stewards (if they’re not busy), or anyone at the Superintendent’s Table or Catalog Sales table.

4. Watch for tails in your path. Or dogs taking a snooze. (It happens.)

5. Well-behaved kids with a guardian are welcome (but leave Fido at home)! We ask that you don’t bring strollers in the buildings for the children’s safety as well as the dogs. Plus, it can be tough getting through the more crowded areas around the rings. (Unentered dogs aren’t allowed on the show grounds unless they are participating in one of the clinics!)

6. Take advantage of the vendors. You can find a lot of great stuff for your dog and even your cat! Most vendors take credit/debit cards now but you may want to bring some cash just in case.

If you have more specific questions, feel free to leave a comment on this blog post, contact us through our Contact page, or leave us a note on our Facebook page!

Enjoy the show!