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Happy Valley Cluster 'great way' to learn about dog breeds

by on July 12, 2012 9:54 AM

CENTRE HALL — The Nita-Nee Kennel Club will host its third annual “Happy Valley Cluster,” a four-day event of dog shows and obedience and rally trials, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on July 19 through 22 at the Grange Fairgrounds in Centre Hall.

Presented in partnership with the Chambersburg Area Kennel Club, the event will feature a variety of dog competitions, each held on one day of the event. One of these is the conformation competition, which consists of a “beauty” contest, and an obedience competition, said Helen Smith, NNKC corresponding secretary.

“The obedience competition (is) where the dog and its handler are judged on how well they perform specific tasks, such as heel, come, stay, retrieve (and) jump,” Smith said.

Smith said the Nita-Nee Kennel Club has been hosting dog shows since the mid-1970s.

“At its purest form, dog shows, (or) conformation events, are intended to evaluate breeding stock,” Smith said. “The dog’s conformation, (which is) overall appearance and structure (and) an indication of the dog’s ability to produce quality puppies, is judged. Most dogs in competition at conformation shows are competing for points toward their AKC championships, and people compete because they enjoy the game of the dog show and they enjoy spending time with their dogs and dog show friends.”

Smith said these events range from large all-breed shows, with more than 3,000 dogs entered, to small local specialty club shows, featuring a specific breed.

“Last year we had between 700 and 1,000 dogs each day,” she said.

The dog shows are a great way for area residents to see many different dog breeds, Smith said, and can be especially beneficial for those researching what kind of dog to bring into their families.

“You can see a variety of breeds all in one place and talk to the breeders and owners about their experiences with the breed,” Smith said. “For folks who already participate in dog shows, it’s wonderful to show our dog show friends what a great place we live in.”

At each dog show there will be vendors and information booths, Smith said.

“If you are considering getting a purebred dog, talk to the breeders and exhibitors,” she said. “They are experts in their breeds.”

Smith advises Cluster attendees to not pet dogs without asking permission first. Admission and parking are free. For more information visit

Staff Writer at The Centre County Gazette
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