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AKC Educational Match at Hunterdon Developmental Center Invites Dog Lovers to Learn About the World of Canine Competition

The American Kennel Club® (AKC) will hold an AKC Educational Match on Saturday, September 29th on the grounds of the Hunterdon Developmental Center (HDC) in Clinton, N.J. In the world of canine competition, the word “match” refers to a dog show that is intended for newcomers or those who want to practice dog handling skills without actually competing for Championship points.

The event is open to the public and offers a friendly forum in which to learn about the sport of purebred dogs as well as an opportunity for Hunterdon residents to partake in an event which will have therapeutic benefits for both man and animal. Hunterdon residents have benefited from ongoing interaction with dogs since 1994 via a number of other AKC events held on the grounds, therapy dogs who make regular visits and the employees who bring their dogs to work every day.

Several dozen of the HDC residents will contribute to the event in numerous ways. They will kick off the festivities by singing the national anthem, accompanying dogs and volunteers in the ring for an “Honor Parade” and “Parade of Breeds” and serving as trophy presenters.

“Many of our clients have a great fondness for animals- dogs especially,” says Connie Butherus, HDC's Human Rights Committee Chair and the liaison between AKC and HDC. “The dogs enjoy the attention and reward the residents with never-ending demonstrations of affection. The combination of the residents and the dogs is a win-win situation. It is so inspiring to watch the mutual affection that is given and enjoyed, to the benefit of all.”

“Many people enjoy watching dog shows on TV but don't realize that it's a fun, family sport that's easy to get involved in. Learning to show your dog can be intimidating to a novice so we are holding this unique event specifically to create a welcoming and educational environment for newcomers,” said Gina DiNardo Lash, AKC spokesperson. “We are so thankful to Hunterdon for use of their grounds and thrilled to be able to encourage the beneficial interaction between dogs and the developmentally disabled.”

Dog owners in attendance will learn how to groom, train and show their dogs with the help of AKC staff and local area AKC club members. The educational portion of the event — running 9 a.m. through noon — is free and open to anyone with an interest in dogs. Planned activities include:


  • Handling classes for adults and juniors
  • Grooming demos and one-on-one tutorials
  • Dog show 101 classes – how a dog show works, descriptions of different classes, how to become an AKC Champion
  • Dog show entry assistance from an AKC licensed superintendent
  • Equipment advice – breed specific advice on equipment and tools
  • AKC Canine Good Citizen information and testing
  • Agility, Obedience and Rally demos


At 10:00 a.m. an AKC C-Match will be held for Obedience and Rally, at noon a Junior Showmanship competition will be held and at 1:00 p.m. an AKC Conformation B-Match will be held. CGC Testing will be open to the first 40 dogs that sign-up and will be held from 11-noon and 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm. The entry fee for the match is $5.00 per dog for Conformation and $5.00 per run-through for Obedience and Rally.