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Furry friends gather for Michigan Winter Dog Classic

Event returns to Suburban Collection Showplace Jan. 17-20

January 7, 2013

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A hesitant pup makes his way over an obstacle during last year’s Michigan Winter Dog Classic at Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi. At this year’s event, anyone is welcome to bring their dog for free and sign up to participate in an obstacle course.

NOVI — Suburban Collection Showplace is about to go to the dogs.

From Jan. 17-20, the Michigan Winter Dog Classic will take over Suburban Collection Showplace, 46100 Grand River Ave., drawing dogs from across the Midwest for competitions, showings and fun. In its fourth year, the event has grown to be the largest in the state, organizers said.

“We were up 40 percent, as far as the number of entries,” said Alan Dorfman, Oakland County Kennel Club vice president and Michigan Winter Dog Classic chairman, referencing last year’s event. “We’re up again this year.”

Dorfman said 20,000 visitors have attended the show over the years and there are 2,400 entries for the Jan. 19 round of competitions, which will be broken down by dog breeds before they are judged by American Kennel Club (AKC) officials. During the four-day event, more than 7,000 dogs and more than 160 breeds will participate in the show.

West Bloomfield resident Jack Segall has been showing English Bulldogs for more than 30 years, while also running AKC-focused handling courses for the past 15 years.

“Winning, if you do, obviously,” Segall said of his favorite part of the event. “It’s basically a beauty contest for dogs. You get rewarded with ribbons and points. We have a lot of champions. We’ve been showing for 30 years. If we don’t win, we have a good time anyway.

“I think it’s gotten a lot bigger. They’ve learned how to make things more enjoyable. One of the reasons it’s such a big show is because it has four days of showing. People should know that, in this show, dogs come and go and don’t stay all day. Breeds are not going to be there all day long. It’s a lot of fun for people who want to spend some time going to the dogs.”

Beyond watching the competitions, which include basic strutting to full obstacle courses, patrons will be able to bring their own dogs along and try the competitions out themselves through a My Dog Can Do That! program.

“The My Dog Can Do That! is the first time ever in Michigan,” Dorfman said. “It’s something the American Kennel Club chose for us to do because we’re the largest show here in Michigan. The AKC will be up here with their trainers showing (obedience techniques).”

My Dog Can Do That! will take place from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Jan. 19-20, while pet owners will also be able to test their dogs’ basic obedience with the AKC Canine Good Citizen tests from 2-5 p.m. Jan. 18, noon-3 p.m. Jan. 19 and 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Jan. 20. Both programs are free and CGC-test participants can earn a certificate, if they pass.

No pre-registration is required for the two interactive events, but participating dogs must be at least 6 months old, have proof of rabies vaccination and not use pronged collars.

Other highlights of the event include people in dog costumes, performers on stilts, face painting for kids and duck herding by border collies, among other festivities. About a dozen purebred rescue groups and 70 vendors will also be on hand.

“It’s a full day, if they want to see everything,” Dorfman said. “It’s really a family event.”

Co-hosted by the Oakland County Kennel Club and Livonia Kennel Club, admission for the 2013 Michigan Winter Dog Classic is $10 for adults, $8 for children ages 7-12, $8 for seniors ages 62 and older, and is free for children 6 and younger, as well as dogs. A $35 family admission plan is also available for groups of two adults and three children. Group discounts are also available for a school group, scouts, senior citizen club or any group of 12 or more.

For more information or a specific event/judging schedule, visit or find it on Facebook.


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