Since the 1970s, the Yosemite Kennel Club has held shows at the Merced County Fairgrounds every year.
Hundreds of dogs and their owners congregate and compete for ribbons and prizes, and this year the club is holding its 50th show.
"It's a two-day show, and this year it's the 49th and 50th shows," said Deb Franklin, show chairman for the club.
The dog show will be held Saturday and Sunday at the fairgrounds. About 600 dogs of more than 160 breeds are expected to compete.
Sandi Lavin, president of the club, said the first show was held in 1975. It was a one-day event held the day after Thanksgiving. In the 1990s, the club started holding two back-to-back shows in April. For the past four years, the show has been a four-day fiesta. Now it's back to two days, and the public is encouraged to attend.
"Most people have a breed they care about or love," said Lavin. "A dog show is a good place to see an example of that breed, an example of what the breed should be."
People interested in specific breeds can talk to handlers who show the dogs, as long as they wait until after the handler has shown the dog in the ring.
Weekend dog shows
The Yosemite Kennel Club will have dogs shows on Saturday and Sunday beginning at 8:30 a.m. at the Merced County Fairgrounds, 900 Martin Luther King Jr. Way. There's no admission, but parking is $5 per car. No unentered dogs are allowed on the grounds. For more information, call (209) 723-7000.
Classes will include conformation, where judges compare dogs to the breed standard. This weekend's show will include obedience, which show how well a dog is trained, and rally obedience, an entry-level form of obedience, where people can get their feet wet in the dog show world.
"It's a wonderful family sport," Franklin said. "Everyone can show, from the kids to mom and dad."
This year, a few new breeds will be entered in the show, including the Icelandic sheepdog, the cane corso, an Italian mastiff-type canine, and the Leonberger, a large, long-haired breed that originated in Germany.
There will be vendors at the fairgrounds both days, with items for dogs and their owners for sale. There will be food for sale as well.
A raffle will be held about 1 p.m. Sunday with a brand-new iPad among the dozens of items. Individuals must be present to win.
The club will celebrate the 50th show Saturday about 1 p.m. in the Commerce Building with a cake.
Said Franklin: "We're expecting nice weather, no rain, and we encourage all dog lovers to come and enjoy the day."
Reporter Carol Reiter can be reached at (209) 385-2486 or firstname.lastname@example.org.