It's almost that time of year again. No, we're not talking about the holiday season; we're talking about the AKC National Championship Dog Show Presented by Royal Canin! This year's show will take place Dec. 16-17 in Orlando, Fla., with additional events held in conjunction with the championship occurring throughout that week.
If you haven't heard of our show, well, you're in for a treat. The AKC National Championship is the event for dog lovers. It features conformation, as well as dock diving, agility, and much, much more.
Check out these five things we bet you didn't know about this year's championship.
1. At this year's championship, we will be honoring the winners of the 18th annual AKC Humane Fund Awards for Canine Excellence (ACE). These awards honor five loyal, hard-working dogs that have significantly improved the lives of their owners and communities.
The five ACE award categories are:
• Uniformed Service K-9
• Search and Rescue
• Exemplary Companion Dog
This year, we'll be honoring five incredible dogs that have heartwarming and inspiring stories. Learn more about the ACE awards and see this year's winners here.
2. In addition to the regular conformation competition, there is also junior competition held at the AKC National Championship. To compete in this event, Juniors (under 18 years old) must have five first-place wins in an open class and must maintain a grade-point average in school of at least 3.0 or equivalent for the 2016 - 2017 school year.
Juniors compete in preliminary classes, and then a specified number are selected to compete in the Junior Showmanship finals. Last year, Lauren Marie Hull and her Great Pyrenees took first place.
3. Did you know this year's championship is featuring a brand new event catering specifically to puppies? That's right, puppies.
The AKC Royal Canin National All-Breed Puppy and Junior Stakes was created exclusively for puppy and junior purebred dogs, ages 6-18 months. The inaugural stakes are being held in conjunction with the AKC National Championship Dog Show Presented by Royal Canin on Dec. 15. The stakes have never been this cute.
4. Attendees will be able to see demonstrations of AKC's latest canine sport, Scent Work, held in the Eukanuba Demonstration Ring at the championship. In Scent Work, dogs search for cotton swabs saturated with essential oils. Once the dog has located the scent, he must communicate to his handler, who calls it out to the judge. Scent Work debuted earlier this year at the Eukanuba Performance Games.
In addition to Scent Work, other exciting events will be featured in the demonstration ring, such as AKC Trick Dogs, nutritional talks, and more.
5. While there will be numerous competitors attending the AKC National Championship, this event isn't just for those competing. It's not even just for adults, for that matter. There are plenty of activities designed specifically for spectators, dog-loving adults, and kids.
Families can meet and play with hundreds of different dog breeds at AKC Meet the Breeds®. By interacting with dogs and their owners, attendees can learn all about the personalities of individual breeds, and perhaps decide which breed is right for their own family! Additionally, kids can check out the Fun Zone and participate in fun, educational activities.
Interested in attending this incredible dog-filled event for yourself? Buy tickets here.