Dog shows are known for perfect-looking purebreds, fierce competition, professional dog handlers and high-strung owners. The Community Dog Show this Sunday in Portland will be quite different.

“Some dog shows are so intense, and this isn’t like that,” said Angie Langley, enrichment coordinator at the event’s host, the Woods at Canco. “It’s more of a dog parade, and all the dogs get an award.”

Now in it’s fifth year, the show takes place at 11 a.m. at the retirement community. All dogs are welcome to participate, whether they’re a purebred or a mutt.

No matter the dog’s pedigree (or lack thereof), all the owners do their best to pretty up the pooches before the official parade.

“They always like to dress up the dogs,” Langley said. “A lot of them come with bows in their hair, and you can tell they’ve been to the groomers in the past few days.”

Each owner will parade his or her dog along the drive in front of the main community building. Here, dog owners will not only have the chance to show off their pup’s fashion sense, but will also get them to demonstrate any tricks that may wow the judges.

Should the weather not cooperate, the show will take place under the portico over the main entrance and in the indoor activity room.

Langley will judge the show along with a representative from the Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland.

“If there are little kids around, I’ll pull them in and ask them who they think the winners should be,” Langley said.

All dogs will leave with an award, but these won’t be your typical Best in Show and Best in Breed awards. Instead, past years have seen awards given out for Best Dressed, Best Trick, Biggest Dog, Smallest Dog and Waggiest Tail.

Langley said one owner is already lobbying for her dog to take home an award for Best Blind and Deaf Dog.

“We kind of make up the categories based on the dogs,” Langley said. “We have a couple dogs that have been coming every year. I usually give them the Veteran Dog award.”

The Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland will bring a dog available for adoption to the event. And while admission to participate in or watch the show is free, attendees are encouraged to make a cash donation to the Refuge League or bring an item on the organization’s wish list (see sidebar).

The event will also serve light refreshments for both humans and four-legged friends.

“In years past, we’ve had the chef make homemade dog treats that we’ve given out,” Langley said. “Hopefully, we can do that again this year.”

For any dog owners who are on the fence about entering their canine in the contest, Langley has some words of advice:

“Remember, it’s supposed to be fun,” Langley said. “No matter what kind of dog you have and what kind of condition he’s in, we all love animals and love to show them off, so just have fun with it.

“It’s a nice way to spend an hour on a Sunday morning.”

Staff Writer Avery Yale Kamila can be contacted at 791-6297 or at:

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