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Canines with humans strut their stuff at long-running Rose City Classic Dog Show, which takes place Wednesday-Sunday, Jan. 16-20 at Expo Center

COURTESY PHOTO - Show dogs take center stage at the Rose City Classic Dog Show.
Show dogs and their owners and trainers take over the Expo Center this week for the Rose City Classic Dog Show, which, remarkably, has been held in the same place for more than 70 years.

So, maybe the dogs could find their way to the Expo Center without guidance? They are pretty talented in areas of styling, agility and tricks, after all.

The Jan. 16-20 show is just as much about people as dogs. The presenting group, Dog Fanciers Association of Oregon, which teams with Tualatin Kennel Club to put on the show, is celebrating its 80th year.

"It's a pretty big deal," says the Dog Fanciers' Patti Strand.

The dog show has been held at the Expo Center since 1948. "We take up the whole thing now," Strand adds. "They even created parking for us. But you can also take the MAX there."

There'll be more than 180 breeds and 3,000 dogs at the show, including plenty of terriers and more than 90 Labradors on each weekend day, competing in breed judging and other exciting dog sports — Agility, Obedience, Rally, Canine Good Citizen, Tricks, Junior Showmanship and more. The Conformation part measures dogs against their breed's standard.

Each day a "Best in Show" is named.

The theme is "Dogs around the world and the jobs they do," and it'll be depicted through artwork produced by students in an annual contest. Hundreds of local kids created artwork.

Of course, there'll also be vendors.

COURTESY PHOTO - Artwork by students are featured at the Rose City Classic Dog Show.The show takes place 7:30 p.m.-7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 16 (specialty day), and 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Thursday-Sunday, Jan. 17-20, at the Expo Center, 2060 N. Marine Dr. Admission is $10 (one day) and $15 (two days); seniors 62 years or older are admitted free on Thursday and Friday. Parking is $10.

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No public dogs are to be brought to the show.

Strand says that when she joined Dog Fanciers Association of Oregon in 1982 that people were still involved who were part of the formation of the club in 1939.

"People who founded Pendleton Woolen Mills were among the original crew," she says.

The dog show was halted for one year during World War II; dog folks worked with military training dogs for the war effort.

Strand says that the beauty of dogs is the "temperament and bond" developed between the canine and the human.

"It's the oldest relationship people have with another species, and it's the closest," she says.

"You see the training, and it's clear the dogs are having fun. You watch Agility for a while, you can see how excited and amped up they are."

Whereas Conformation has long been the main part of a dog show, such as at the famous Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, young people entering the game put emphasis on the sports, Strand says.

"We have Agility, Obedience and Rally," she says. "It's fun, a hoot. They all get into Conformation, but some dogs are suited for things (sports) than others."

There has been a surge of young people involved — millennials.

It's a good thing, Strand says, because people who participate in the dog shows "are not spring chickens."

"It's a pleasant thing to go to a dog show," she says.

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