shetland sheepdog jumping agility obstacle

Devoted dog-lovers from around the world annually congregate to celebrate the breed standards and skill levels at canine competitions and dog shows. These are held regionally, nationally and internationally, and can include thousands of competitors. While dog shows may not be considered universally entertaining, many people enjoy witnessing the best-of-the-best compete for top prizes. Some shows are breed-specific, others center around one single skill, while still others shows cover every arena and all recognized dog breeds. Here are some of the best canine competitions to attend:

1. Iditarod, Alaska: The centuries-old tradition of sled racing across barren stretches of the Alaskan wilderness still continues today. The 1,000-mile race from Anchorage to Nome generally takes about 9-10 days for the sled dogs to accomplish in one of the most dangerous and challenging climates. Sledding dog enthusiasts travel to the stunning and austere climes of the northernmost America state, to witness the champion dogs race across the finish line.

2. National Dachshund Races: Held in numerous states across the country, Dachshund owners can take their little wiener dog to compete in speed racing against others of their kind. Whether it is a long-haired, short-haired or wire-haired, puppy, adult, or senior dog, every Dachshund has a chance to stand out among his peers as the fastest of the bunch in these entertaining competitions.

3. Dockdogs Competition: This nation-wide competition spanning American soil, welcomes any dog above the age of 6 months to compete in distance jumping into water. The dogs race across a dock, and leap as far as they can; they are ranked by length of distance, speed, and height of the jump just before it ends in a splash. Some dogs can leap as long as 20 feet before they hit the surface. For dogs that are less equipped to compete in the long jump, there is also a water retrieval event, and every pup can enjoy getting doused during these games.

4. Australia National Sheep Dog Trials: Sheep dogs in Australia are put through their paces, leading herds of sheep over rough terrain of the Outback. Here at the Australia National Sheep Dog Trails, the sharpest dogs gather to compete in herding skills through challenging courses. Given minimal commands by their handlers, these dogs compete to see who can give the quickest response time, and successfully bring their herd over obstacles, through gates, and safely into pens without any human aid. This is an impressive feat to witness for those who have never seen herding breeds in action.

5. North American Gun Dog Association Trials: This nation-wide competition brings the best and brightest of all retriever and pointer breeds to test their skills as hunting companions. The events consist of tracking, flushing, and retrieving live birds while working side-by-side with their owner or handler. With events like open pointing, amateur pointing, and amateur flushing, every pointer and retriever breed has chance to hone their skills and see if they are ready for international-level competitions.

6. AKC National Agility Championships: The American Kennel Club hosts an annual competition for the most skilled breeds to compete in agility, including jumps, running, and obstacle courses. The competition lasts several days under strict rules and regulations to determine which dogs are the most excellent in their division. Recognized as one of the top competitions, the AKC Agility Championship is an entertaining shows to attend.

7.Westminster: This iconic dog show is one of the oldest traditions in the industry. Dating back to 1876, the Westminster Kennel Club was once held in Madison Square Gardens, welcoming thousands of dogs ready to compete against meticulously detailed breed standards. The competition offers prizes of thousands of dollars for the best of groups (divided in categories such as sporting, herding, toy dogs, etc.), and the favorite section, the “best in show.” This televised event is one of the most popular dog shows, and is attended and witnessed by thousands of people across the country.

8. World Dog Show: While the celebrated annual Westminster dog show may have a larger following in the press, the World Dog Show is actually the larger event of the two. Instead of competing against each other, this international show tests the dogs against their official breed standards, to determine which canines are the most perfect purebred specimens. The event occurs in a different European country every year, and is a spectacular way to observe the most elite dogs around the world.

9. World’s Ugliest Dog Competition: Yes, even the wart-speckled runts can get their brief bout of fame at the Petaluma, California competition for unattractive canines. Does your pup have the temperament and swagger of a star, without any natural beauty to boast of? Sign him up for the competition and see if old Scar-face can snatch up the prize! With a $1,000 going to the ugliest mug in the room, this competition gives rescue pups, disaster survivors, and all other hideous hounds a chance to go for the gold. Attending this to a California event could prove a heartwarming and humorous experience for you and your pup.

10. Skyhoundz Frisbee Dog Championships: Compared to the prestigious World Dog Show and the Westminster Championships, the Skyhoundz Frisbee events seem like a frivolous walk in the park. However, these event is highly entertaining, both for the onlookers and participants. You might think your dingo dog is a skilled Frisbee player, but at this championships, the dogs choreograph stealthy moves like backflips and twists into their game. Enjoy watching award-winning dogs from all over the world show off their abilities, then grab a Frisbee yourself and see what your Golden Retriever can do. Everyone is welcome to join in the fun at the Skyhoundz Frisbee Dog Championships!

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