With well-groomed coats, practised movement and wagging tails, more than 400 pure-breed dogs, with their owners and handlers, will descend on Dannevirke for the annual Ruahine Kennel Association's All Breeds Show this coming weekend.

"Entries are down just a bit, probably because the nationals were held this year in the South Island just two weeks before ours and the effort and cost of entering those shows - and getting to and from Christchurch - might have made things a bit stressful for both dogs and handlers from the North Island, where most of our entries come from," RKA president Tim Delaney said.

"We have three very experienced judges - two from Australia, and one from New Zealand - and we love the opportunity to give them and our more than 300 exhibitors a taste of Dannevirke hospitality."

The Dannevirke show is known as the happy show, because, Mr Delaney said, organisers try to run things in a relaxed, friendly and stress-free way.


"We've also been holding a very popular Kidz 'n K9s event for the past few years," he said.

The Kidz 'n K9s is held on Saturday at noon and is open to all families.

"Just bring your fur children, along with your human ones and they can take them around the ring, get looked at and admired by a judge (not a real one), and get a taste of what it's like to handle a dog at a show.

Families get a chance to look at all the breeds being shown in the main event, including some lesser knows breeds and who knows, may fall in love with a particular breed. Everyone's a winner."

However, this may be the last time the annual show is held in October.

"Because we have had some pretty wild, even damaging, spring weather in the past few years, we have asked for and received new dates from the New Zealand Kennel Club, our parent organisation," Mr Delaney said.

"We are fortunate some early autumn dates have come available for us from both the NZKC and our local A&P Association for use of the grounds, so next year's shows will be held on Saturday and Sunday, April 8 and 9. Plans for those events are already under way.

"We are a bit sad we won't be a part of the Spring Festival as a result of this change of dates, but we are very hopeful the weather will be an improvement."

Going to the dogs:

* The Ruahine Kennel Association's show is held at the Dannevirke A&P Showgrounds on High St, Saturday, October 15 and Sunday, October 16.
* Both days begin at 8.30am.
* Free entry for the public.
* Kidz 'n K9s is held at noon on Saturday.