By the end of the weekend more than 1,000 purebred dogs and 650 owners and exhibitors will have strutted their canine stuff in Charles County.
The Blue Crab Cluster, as the group of dog shows is known, begins with the Potomac Hound Show, which is a specialty show for all types of hounds.
The show opens the five- day event with a Casting of Hounds by De La Brooke and the Blessing of the Hounds afterward.
The show will include all dogs from the hound group of the AKC standards including foxhounds (both American and English), greyhounds, whippets, wolfhounds, elkhounds, otterhounds, deerhounds and pharaoh hounds.
The Potomac Hound Club is also sponsoring a canine good citizen test all during the day for all breeds.
Started in 1989, CGC is a certification program that is designed to reward dogs who have good manners at home and in the community.
The cost is $15 and pet owners are asked to bring some supplies to the testing, according to a press release.
See www.smkc.org for details.
On Friday and Saturday, Southern Maryland Kennel Club will hold two back-to-back all-breed AKC dog shows with conformation events and obedience trials.
Conformation events concentrate on the distinctive features of each breed of dog. Dogs are judged against individual breed standards, which have been established for the ideal size, color and temperament of each breed, as well as correct structure and movement.
Obedience trials test a dog's ability to perform a prescribed set of exercises. People considering getting a new puppy who haven't selected the breed yet, can see all types at the show.
This year's show also has added rally trial events.
Rally is a fairly new timed sport in which the dog and handler complete a course with 10 to 20 stations, depending on the level.
Each station has a sign providing instructions regarding the skill required. Some skills are sit, stand, figure-8, come and they get harder from there.
The team is scored on the time and performance of each skill.
On Saturday, the American Kennel Club's registered handler program will present Handlers of Tomorrow, or HOT, a rap session with experienced older handlers.
Time will be announced at the show. Young participants will have an opportunity to receive individual instruction.
The last two shows on Sunday and Monday are sponsored by Rock Creek Kennel Club and are all-breed conformation events, obedience trials and rally events.
Spectator parking is $6. Call Lisa Miller, show chairwoman, at 301-884-4163 for more information.