The Southern Maine Coastal Classic dog show returns at its new location at the Cumberland Fairgrounds from May 19 through May 22. Courtesy Photo

Maine’s largest canine event, the Southern Maine Coastal Classic, returns with four days of AKC All Breed Dog Shows and Obedience and Rally Trials at its new location, the Cumberland Fairgrounds, 174 Bruce Hill Road, Cumberland. Shows run from Thursday, May 19, through Sunday, May 22, beginning at 8 a.m. each day, outdoors rain or shine.

York County Kennel Club of Maine, Inc. and Vacationland Dog Club, Inc. invite the public to meet some of AKC’s 180+ recognized breeds and observe the various activities throughout the day. Admission each day is $5 per vehicle. There is ample parking inside the fairgrounds. A food truck will serve food throughout the day. Also, be sure to visit vendors selling dog-related items.

Each day’s activities include regular conformation, obedience and rally, concluding with a Best in Show winner.

All-American Mixed Breeds enrolled in AKC’s Canine Partners Program may enter Obedience and Rally Competitions. Go to www.akc.org/dog-owners/canine-partners/ for details.

Action starts Thursday morning. In addition to the regular activities is the National Owner-Handled Series, there will be a non-titling competition allowing owners and their dogs to compete against their peers in their respective breeds, groups and NOHS Best in Show. Professional handlers cannot compete in this series.

On Friday will be the Best Bred-By Exhibitor Competition. This is open to non-champion dogs, and the person handling the dog must be the owner or co-owner and breeder of the dog. For spectators this is an ideal way to see a particular breed and meet the breeder.

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Saturday is a full day. Older show dogs will be honored with a Best Veteran Competition. Open to dogs 7 years old and over, they compete in the veterans class, then veterans Group and finally a Best Veteran in Show is selected before Best in Show at the end of the day. The Granite State Shetland Sheepdog Club of Southeast New Hampshire, Inc., the Pine Tree State Doberman Pinscher Club, Inc., and the Bearded Collie Club of America, Inc., will support their respective breeds during the day. The Maine Golden Retriever Club will hold its Designated Specialty.

Watch puppies enter the ring for the first time in the 4 to 6 month Beginner Puppy Competition. Offered only on Sunday, this competition introduces new exhibitors and their puppies ages 4 to 6 months of age to showing in a stress free environment separate from the regular judging. AKC-recognized and “rare breeds” are eligible to compete for points toward a Certificate of Merit. This competition offers exhibitors more ring experience plus gets puppies socialized at a critical stage in their lives. Another National Owner-Handled Series competition is offered. Also on Sunday, the Pine Tree State Doberman Pinscher Club, Inc. and the Bearded Collie Club of America, Inc. will support their respective breed entries.

Junior handlers are important to the future of the sport so Junior Showmanship will be offered all four days. Open to children 9 to 18 years old, with Open, Intermediate and Novice classes, the child is judged on his/her ability to handle and present the dog rather than the dog being judged. Junior handlers must have an AKC Junior Handler number to compete at these shows.

Camping onsite is available. If interested in camping onsite, contact Pauline Goodwin at (207) 324-5400 or visit the websites to download a reservation form. Deadline for camping reservations is May 4.

Founded in 1945, Vacationland Dog Club, Inc is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of purebred dogs through public education and responsible dog ownership. For more information on upcoming events, becoming a member or checking the latest club news and events, go to http://www.vacationlanddogclub.org/.

York County Kennel Club of Maine, Inc. is a not-for-profit organization whose goals are to protect and advance the interests of purebred dogs through AKC performance events and community education activities. For more information about this show cluster, directions to Wassamki Springs or any of the featured dog clubs go to http://www.yorkcountykennelclub.org.