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detroit kennel club dog show returns to motor city june 2021

After a one-year hiatus, the Detroit Kennel Club dog show returns to the Motor City this weekend with events Saturday and Sunday, June 20–21, at the Suburban Collection Showplace in the Detroit suburb of Novi, Michigan.

This year’s show features a number of special attractions, including obedience and rally trials, demonstrations, AKC National Owner-Handled Series competition, Meet the Breeds, Canine Good Citizen and therapy-dog testing, weight pull, barn hunt, and a clinic for junior handlers.

A Detroit tradition since 1916, the club’s annual dog show was held for many years at the Cobo Center downtown, but the 2014 event had to be cancelled because of insufficient sponsorship to cover costs. The DKC dog show has a long, prestigious legacy as one of the country’s few benched shows, where the canine entrants are available for public viewing for the duration of the event. This year’s show is unbenched.

Club History

The DKC website shares the following information about the club’s history:

The first Detroit Kennel Club benched dog show was held in April 1916, at the Detroit Armory. There were four judges, and catalogs cost twenty-five cents.

The 1917 catalog lists over 250 Detroit Kennel Club members, many from the moneyed families of Detroit. In its first few years of existence, the location of the show alternated between the Armory and the Michigan State Fairgrounds, and the time of year of the event varied as well.

By the 1920s, the show had moved to the Detroit Convention Hall located at Cass, Woodward, and Canfield Avenues.

The annual benched show soon afterward became a March tradition, and the catalog price rose to fifty cents. There was an abundance of trophies offered for nearly every class and placement, and famous names appear in many of the old catalogs. The 1931 catalog lists Geraldine Dodge of Madison, New Jersey, as the Shepherd Dog judge. Exhibitors at that show included Erik Bergishagen, father of current DKC President Erik Bergishagen, showing two of the early Jagersbo Pointers and English Setters.

In 1949, the show moved back to the Fairgrounds, where it remained until its relocation to Cobo Hall in 1964.

Since 1916, the largest Detroit Kennel Club entry was 3,798 dogs, which occurred at the 1978 show. The largest single breed entry at the DKC was 223 Borzoi.

Detroit Kennel Club website 




Event name: Detroit Kennel Club Dog Show

Dates: Saturday and Sunday, June 20–21

Location: Suburban Collection Showplace, 46100 Grand River, Novi MI

Breed judging begins at 9 a.m. both days (see Judging Program for breed ring times)

Variety Group and Best in Show judging:


2:30 p.m. — Owner-Handled Variety Groups and Best Owner Handled in Show

3:00 p.m. — Variety Groups and Best in Show


2:00 p.m. — Owner-Handled Variety Groups and Best Owner Handled in Show

2:30 p.m. — Variety Groups and Best in Show


New Exhibitor Briefing

A new-exhibitor briefing will be held Saturday at 12 noon at the Superintendent’s desk. Spectators are welcome to attend.

Meet the Breeds


10:00 a.m. — Alaskan Malamutes

11:00 a.m. — Bulldogs

12:00 p.m. — American Breeds Extravaganza

2:00 p.m. — Coonhounds


10:00 a.m. — Poodles

11:00 a.m. — Gordon Setters

12:00 p.m. — Junior Handling Clinic

2:00 p.m. — Newfoundlands


Take The Lead Benefit

Saturday evening, Platinum Ballroom

Dinner with auction and raffle (cocktails and appetizers 6 p.m., dinner 7 p.m.)

Tickets can be purchased at the Take The Lead booth at the show Saturday.


Rock N Roll Canines

Sat.–Sun. at 10 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3:30 p.m.


Dog Scouts of America Merit Badge Program

10 a.m.–2 p.m. Sat.–Sun.


American Breeds Extravaganza

Sat., June 20

From the premium list:
“With an objective to promote the interest and educate the fancy in 19 breeds, as designated below, falling within the American Breed category, Detroit Kennel Club proposes to conduct a competition for the dogs having been selected Best of Breed/

Variety, Best of Winners, and Best of Opposite Sex to Best of Breed/Variety in these breeds from regular class judging. The three winners from each of the breeds will compete in a single class for Best American Breed in Show, to be judged by Mr. William Sahloff.”


Eligible Breeds:

  • Bluetick Coonhounds
  • Plotts
  • Redbone Coonhounds
  • Treeing Walker Coonhounds
  • Alaskan Malamutes
  • Chinooks
  • American Staffordshire Terriers
  • Chesapeake Bay Retrievers
  • American Water Spaniels
  • Boykin Spaniels
  • American Cocker Spaniels
  • American English Coonhounds
  • American Foxhounds
  • Black & Tan Coonhounds
  • Rat Terriers
  • Toy Fox Terriers
  • American Eskimo Dogs
  • Boston Terriers
  • Australian Shepherds
  • American Hairless Terrier
  • Miniature American Shepherd

Nose Work Demonstration

Sat.–Sun.: 9, 10, 11 a.m.; 12, 1, 2, 3 p.m., in special events area.

Come and see one of the newest dog activities!

Canine Good Citizen and Therapy Dogs International testing

Pre-entries only, made by show closing date

Given by Southern Michigan Obedience Training Club


Barn Hunt Trials

Sat.–Sun., 9:30 a.m.–3 p.m.

For all breeds (pre-entry only), presented by the Great American Dog Training Company [].


Weight Pull


12 p.m. — weigh-in

1 p.m. — handler meeting

1:15 p.m. — weight pull begins

(Entries day of the pull open only to dogs entered in the Detroit Kennel Club show. Open to all AKC-acknowledged dogs who weigh at least 40 pounds.)

AMCA Weight Pull Rules will govern this pull.

All dogs must pre-enter.

Weight Pull Secretary, Lucy Sanders []

Pre-entry form

Junior Handling Clinic With the Professionals

Sunday, June 21

Presented by the AKC Registered Handlers Program, in conjunction with the Detroit Kennel Club and Purina. Moderated by AKC Registered Handler Program coordinators, assisted by AKC Registered Handlers.

Message to junior handlers in the club’s premium list:

“You are the future of our sport. All current and future Junior Showmanship participants are invited to attend our free presentation. This is your opportunity to receive individual instruction (with your dog) from AKC registered professional handlers, to better enable you to present your dog in the show ring. Don’t miss out!”

For more event information and breed ring times, see the Judging Program.

Check the DKC Dog Show’s Facebook page for updates during the event.

See recent DKC press coverage