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— Learn How to Handle, Groom and Show Your Dog —

The American Kennel Club® is offering an opportunity for dog owners in the Raleigh area to learn how to get involved in AKC-sanctioned events. On February 24, 2007, the AKC® will host the first “AKC Educational Match” at Dorton Arena at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds.

The educational portion of the event — running 9 a.m. through noon — is free and open to anyone with an interest in dogs. Morning programs will showcase the spectrum of fun and competitive dog activities that AKC offers. Topics to be covered include grooming and handling for both children and adults, finding and joining a local dog club and preparing to take the AKC Canine Good Citizen test. Demonstrations of AKC companion events such as Obedience, Rally and Agility will be ongoing all day and area trainers will be available to discuss these activities with attendees.

At 1 p.m. an AKC-sanctioned “match” will be held. The term “match” refers to a conformation dog show that is intended for newcomers or those who want to practice dog handling skills without actually competing for Championship points. A conformation dog show is the type of dog event often seen on television, such as the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship, that is intended to evaluate how well a dog conforms to its breed standard as well as its quality as potential breeding stock. The entry fee for the match is $5 per dog; the event is open to all intact AKC-registerable dogs that are over three months old.

In addition to the AKC Conformation Sanction B Match at 1 p.m., there will be an AKC Obedience and Rally “C” Match.  We invite all AKC Obedience and Rally exhibitors both new and advanced to come out and run their dogs through the various Obedience and Rally classes.  There is no better way to practice for the upcoming local shows.

Dogs that will be six months old by March 20, 2007 will be able to enter the six shows that will also be held at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds from March 20, 2006 to March 25, 2007. These shows provide an opportunity for dogs to compete for AKC Championship points.

“Many people enjoy watching dog shows on TV but don't realize that it's a fun, family sport that is easy to get involved in. Learning to show your dog can be intimidating to a novice so we are holding this special event specifically to create a welcoming and educational environment for dog owners who are interested in learning more about AKC dog sports,” said Robin Stansell, Vice President of Event Operations. “With local dog shows held frequently by Triangle-area kennel clubs, we want area residents to realize the many resources that abound for those interested in doing more with their dogs.”

Local dog club members, groomers and trainers will be on hand to answer any questions, and a dog supply vendor will be onsite with an assortment of pet products available for purchase. Attendees are encouraged to bring their dog with a collar and lead, as well as a water bowl and crate if available. All dogs should have appropriate vaccinations.

For more information about attending the AKC Educational Match, contact 919-816-3514 or