Tulsa’s Mid-Continent Kennel Club Celebrates 101 Years With Annual Dog Show | Pets

The Mid-Continent Kennel Club of Tulsa will welcome thousands of dogs and their owners to the SageNet Center in Expo Square for its annual All Breed Dog Show this weekend, April 30 and May 1.

The show, presented in partnership with Southern Agriculture and Diamond Pet Foods, will feature nearly 2,700 dog entries and several types of competitions, including obedience trials and dock diving.

“It’s like-minded people coming together and doing the things they love to do with their dogs,” said MCKC President Stephanie Garrett.

This dog show is different from shows the MCKC has held in the past for several reasons, Garrett said. This dog show will have a festive air as the MCKC celebrates its 101st anniversary.

Founded in 1921 by local dog enthusiasts, the MCKC has grown and flourished ever since, reaching a membership of 80 current members who are veterinarians, dog trainers, breeders, aficionados and more. However, the group doesn’t just enjoy dogs; it’s about taking care of all breeds of dogs and being their stewards.

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“Our mission is to promote responsible dog ownership and dogs bred on purpose,” Garrett said.

MCKC had intended to celebrate its 100th anniversary last year, but due to COVID-19, the group was unable to do so. That’s why this year’s celebration is even more meaningful, Garrett said.

This year’s competition is also different because it highlights the work MCKC, Southern Agriculture and Diamond Pet Foods are doing with Meals on Wheels of Tulsa Metro’s PAWS program. The program is designed to provide monthly servings of pet food to homebound Meals on Wheels clients.

For the past three years, Diamond Pet Foods has shipped 5 tonnes of pet food per month to Southern Agriculture, where it is collected by MCKC and Meals on Wheels volunteers for delivery to hundreds of customers and to their furry companions in need. MCKC even received the Governor’s Commendation in 2021 for its volunteer work during the pandemic.

“During the pandemic, a lot of our events had to be canceled, so we were sitting around trying to decide how we could still be involved in our community,” Garrett said. “When we first got involved with Meals on Wheels they had 80 customers – now they have over 500. Our relationship with them has continued to grow and we will keep it going.”

Two events at the dog show – the Show N’ Go and the Sanctioned B Match – will directly benefit the PAWS program. Booths from Meals on Wheels, Southern Agriculture and Diamond Pet Foods will also be open for spectators to learn more and donate.

“Our goal is not just to support (Meals on Wheels) with our volunteerism, but to raise community awareness of what they are doing in the greater Tulsa area,” Garrett said.

The contest will attract entrants from across the country, said Anna Vaughn, MCKC vice president. The dogs – divided into groups such as herding, hound, toy, terrier and more – will compete in a variety of competitions, such as all-breed shows, owner-run national series and competitions of the best exhibitors bred by the exhibitors.

For obedience trials, where a dog may be asked to walk on and off leash, and rally trials, where a dog will be asked to “sit” and “stay”, the relationship between the dog and the handler is paramount, Vaughn said.

“It really is a team sport between the handler and the dog,” Vaughn said. “It’s essential that the dog demonstrates a willingness and enjoyment to work with the handler – that’s what the judges are looking for.”

It’s nearly impossible to predict which dogs will walk away with the title of Best in Show, Garrett said.

“You’ll have the No. 1 dog in his breed or his group — or even the No. 1 dog in the country, period — coming to compete, and he’s not going to win,” Garrett said. “It just depends on that day and the performance of the dog.”

A different breed wins the title almost every year, Vaughn said. In 2017, it was a Bichon Frize; in 2018, a boxer, and in 2019, a Pembroke Welsh Corgi.

The dog show will also feature light competitions. Participants (and spectators) can enter their dogs in the dockside diving competition, where dogs will climb onto a platform above a pool, run and jump through the water to grab a toy. Then the distance covered by the dog will be measured.

“It’s one of the fastest growing sports at the American Kennel Club,” Garrett said. “It’s just hysterically fun to see these dogs jumping around.”

Competitions aren’t the only thing the dog show will offer. Veterinarians will be on hand to perform various tests on dogs whose owners are interested.

“One of our goals as owners of purpose-bred dogs is to always improve the breed and make sure it stays healthy,” Garrett said. “We will do genetic testing so you know there are no issues with a dog’s eyes, heart, hips or anything else before you decide to breed your dog. You will get a certificate from our doctors if your dog passes.

Having knowledge about your dog’s internal health is crucial, Vaughn said.

“People think we’re crazy for everything we invest in our dogs, but we want to make sure they stay healthy and happy and that any future litters improve the breed,” Vaugh said.

Even if you’re not familiar with dog shows or don’t own a dog yet, you should consider visiting the dog show, Garrett said.

Dog shows are the perfect opportunity to learn about different breeds, especially if you’re considering getting a dog,” Garrett said. “People can go out and see the dogs, talk to the owners, and find out which type is best for their specific needs and lifestyle.”

Several vendors, including Far-More Shade, Three Dog Bakery and more, will be at the dog show to sell a variety of pet-related products. Concessions will also be open.

For more information, visit tulsakennelclub.com.

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