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Originally published March 5, 2014 at 4:27 PM | Page modified March 8, 2014 at 7:59 PM

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Seattle goes to the dogs

The always-popular Seattle Kennel Club All-Breed Dog Show comes to CenturyLink Field Event Center on March 8-9.

Seattle Times staff

Seattle Kennel Club Dog Show

Time: 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday-Sunday; showcase and canine good citizen testing, 6-8 p.m. Friday.

Cost: $14; $12/ages 62 and older, $7/ages 4-14. Friday evening free.

Location: CenturyLink Field Event Center, 800 Occidental Ave. S., Seattle

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Dog stars, exotic breeds, familiar favorites and legions of their human fans will fill the Seattle Kennel Club All-Breed Dog Show this weekend at CenturyLink Field Event Center.

Three Grand Champions from last month’s nationally televised Westminster Kennel Club dog show in New York — a soft coated Wheaten terrier, a Tibetan mastiff and a Shiba Inu — are among the thousands of dogs entered in this weekend’s show.

Two breeds recently recognized by the AKC, the rat terrier (named for their vermin-hunting abilities, not their appearance) and the Portuguese pondengo pequeno, are competing here for the first time and were a “huge hit” at Westminster, according to show Communications Director Ranny Green.

Along with many exotic breeds you’re unlikely to see at your local dog park, well-known breeds will be represented. Labrador retrievers, the longtime most popular dog in America, lead the way in show entries with 50 each day.

Conformation competition, judged by ideal breed standards with first prize of Best of Show awarded each day, is the signature event at an AKC dog show, though agility competition, navigating an obstacle course with speed and accuracy, is now the most popular AKC sport with both dog owners and spectators, according to Green.

More than 40 local dog clubs host the “meet the breed area” with dogs and owners to help showgoers choose a dog to fit their lifestyle. Educational and animal-welfare groups also have dogs on hand along with lots of information for current and prospective dog owners, and 60 dog-related vendors encourage visitors to buy something to take home for their canine best friend.

Entertainment both days includes dancing dogs, herding dogs, police dogs and Reading With Rover dogs that help kids develop reading skills.

A new feature this year showcasing rare American Kennel Club Foundation and Miscellaneous Breeds is 6 to 8 p.m. Friday with free admission. Only a few dogs are expected to participate. The event also offers AKC “good citizen” testing open to all well-behaved mixed-breed and purebred dogs for $20 per test.

Strollers and other wheeled child carriers aren’t allowed at the show, and leave your pets at home; only participating dogs are allowed in the venue. The always-popular guided tours of the show are already full for the weekend.

If you’re going to the show Saturday, be prepared for big crowds in the area. Seattle Sounders FC’s first home game of the season is noon Saturday at adjacent CenturyLink Field.

Madeline Mckenzie:

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