Grand Valley Kennel Club hosts annual AKC Dog Show in Grand Junction |

Grand Valley Kennel Club hosts annual AKC Dog Show in Grand Junction

Brittany Markert
Juniors compete as well in the AKC Dog Show held in Grand Junction Colorado this weekend.
Submitted photo |


WHAT: Grand Valley Kennel Club AKC Dog Show

WHEN: 8 a.m to 7 p.m., Friday through Sunday, Sept. 26-28

WHERE: Mesa County Fairgrounds, 2785 Hwy 50 in Grand Junction

COST: Free



Interested in training your dog for competition? A new pooch-training facility is now open at 571 32 Road in Grand Junction.

At Pawsitive Directions K9 Academy, Noelle Blair and Tammy Barslund recently joined together to offer clients more than 25 years of dog-training experience.

“I make sure people understand how to communicate with their dogs effectively,” Blair said. “They don’t understand language so they have to learn what it means.”

The business offers manners classes for all levels of training. One-week to six-week classes are currently available and range from $10-120 depending on class.

For more information, visit

— Brittany Markert, Free Press reporter

For almost 50 years, the Grand Valley Kennel Club has brought together dog lovers on the Western Slope of Colorado.

And this year, the local club will host the annual American Kennel Club (AKC) Dog Show Friday through Sunday, Sept. 26-28, at Mesa County Fairgrounds (2785 Hwy 50, Grand Junction).

Event hours run from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily with different breeds planned to show each day. It’s free to watch and open the public, though organizers ask attendees to leave their personal pets at home.

According to Grand Valley Kennel Club’s treasurer Ashley Edstrom, around 500 dogs compete each day and bring in around 1,000-1,500 people between participants and spectators. Judges and competitors come from all over the country, including Oregon, Maine, and Utah.

“If you’ve ever watched a dog show on TV like the Westminster, it’s very much the same,” she added.

First time to a dog show? Grand Valley Kennel Club asks spectators to ask handlers before petting dogs. Attendees should also feel free to ask lots of questions, visit vendors and bring their own chairs.


Throughout the weekend, three categories of competition will take place — conformation, obedience and rally.

“Conformation” means dogs compete on breed standards. For example, a pure-bred Pomeranian must look like a Pomeranian and it may not be mixed with any other breed of dog.

According to Edstrom, judges look for visual similarities and how a dog “feels.”

“You will see the judge touching the dogs’ muscles, bone structure, teeth and more,” she explained. “They also look at the personality.”

Each breed is judged individually, then a winner from the breed category will advance to the group competition — sporting, hound, working, terrier, toy, herding, non-sporting and miscellaneous. Winners from each group then compete for the best-of-show title each day.

While conformation is strictly for pure-bred dogs, mixed breeds are also able to compete in “obedience” and “rally.”

According to AKC’s website, obedience is “demonstrating the usefulness of a dog as a companion to humankind. AKC Obedience is a sport with rules, regulations, judges, conditioning, training, placements and prizes.”

“Rally” is an athletic event, and scoring isn’t as rigorous as traditional obedience, Endstrom noted.

For more information, visit

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