Helsinki is set to host the annual Dog Fair, organized by the Finnish Kennel Club, on December 16-17, 2023, at the Exhibition and Convention Centre. This event is a must-visit for dog lovers, offering a chance to explore various dog breeds, witness dog shows, and learn about dog-related hobbies. Special awards will be presented to Hero and Service Dogs, and there will be dedicated activities for children and young attendees.
The two-day event will feature four dog shows and a range of family-friendly activities. Over 40 breed associations will participate in the Breed Square in the main hall, showcasing different dog breeds. The Kennel Club's HauLife section will provide advice on acquiring and caring for dogs, including breed presentations.
Visitors can explore various dog hobbies in the main hall's event ring, such as AgiDance, ball herding, and DogParkour. The fair also offers tips on dog activation. The Finnish Association of Animal Trainers will present a show on positive reinforcement techniques for dogs in the show ring.
Kennel Club's companion and reading dogs, as well as youth activities, will have their dedicated stands. A toy dog competition for the youngest attendees is scheduled for both days at noon, with registration starting at 11 AM.
The fair also hosts over a hundred dog accessory sellers and brands, making it an ideal place for Christmas shopping.
The Exhibition Centre Arena will feature various programs each day, including award ceremonies and exciting final competitions of dog shows. The Nordic Championship in Dog Dancing, including freestyle and heelwork to music categories, will take place on Saturday morning and Sunday morning. Team and individual competitions will be held.
On Saturday, at 15:15, the Arena will host the award ceremony for the Year's Service Dogs from the Police, Defence Forces, Border Guard, Prison Service, and Customs. The awards will be presented by Esa Kukkonen, Chairman of the Kennel Club's Board.
The Kennel Club annually honors Hero Dogs that have played a significant role in saving human lives. This year, 22 dogs will receive the Hero Dog title and will be awarded on Sunday at 13:15 by Helena Suni, Honorary Chairperson of the Kennel Club, and Toni Lahtinen from Team Roka.
Approximately 15,000 dogs are registered for the Dog Fair's exhibitions. The Helsinki Winner 2023 show on Saturday will feature over 6,500 dogs, and the Puppy Show will have 850 dogs. The international Winner 2023 show on Sunday will have nearly 6,700 dogs, with the Puppy Show featuring around 850. Visitors can learn about 342 different dog breeds.
This year, welfare advisors will roam the halls to ensure exhibitors prioritize dogs' well-being. These advisors, trained by the Kennel Club, will offer guidance and intervene if necessary to protect a dog's welfare. They will also award the 'Nice Dog Pair' rosettes to exhibitors whose dogs seem particularly comfortable and relaxed.
The dog evaluations in the show rings begin at 9 AM, and the final competitions start at 4 PM.
The Dog Fair, open from around 9 AM to 5 PM, is a ticketed event, offering a comprehensive program for the public.