JEFFERSON COUNTY, Ohio (WTRF) — What makes a great show dog?

You want him to be as close to the standard as you possibly can. And, of course, they’ve got to be good pets.

Suzanne Digby-McCord, Dog Shower

That’s what these dogs are to their owners – pets – but with an added plus.

Dog Showers and their furry friends from around the country, like Suzanne, have traveled to Jefferson County to spend their Labor Day Weekend showing their dogs – Some even coming from as far as Canada.

We show the dogs because we enjoy it. It’s a challenge to breed a really good dog that will win at places like this, and it’s just a lot of fun.

Suzanne Digby-McCord, Dog Shower

The St. Clairsville, Ohio Kennel Club and the Fort Steuben Kennel Club came together as the Friendship Cluster to put on this event, with categories like the AKC National Owner-Handler Series, Obedience and Rally, Dock Diving, and a puppy competition.

The treasurer of the Friendship Cluster, Gael Damron, says that this event is more than just a competition. It’s the comradery and fellowship that comes with the entire weekend.

I’ve been in dog shows – the sport of dog shows – since I was eight years old. So, some of these people, you know, my grandsons are running around here today, so some of these people around here have known me since I was their size. So, doing this is, you know, I still have an attachment to it and I still have the love of the sport. Even though my husband and I have kind of, you know, grown and evolved – we’re now dog show judges ourselves – this still keeps us active and knowing what’s going on in the dog show world and seeing the people that, you know, we’ve been around for many, many years and it’s just – I want to keep doing it.

Gael Damron, Treasurer of the Friendship Cluster

The preparation that handlers take to make sure that their dogs are on their game can vary from a simple bath and brush, to days of grooming and perfecting, but breeder Debbie Strum says no matter what, it’s all worth it to be here with others who share this passion.

I just love the fact that people will come to group and cheer you on even though you might have beat them that day.

Debbie Strum, Dog Breeder