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Maine's largest annual dog show is this weekend at the Cumberland Fairgrounds

The Chickadee Classic Dog Show has more than 3,000 of the best dogs in the US and Canada vying for best of breed and other categories. The event is free.

CUMBERLAND, Maine — This weekend, Northern New England's biggest dog show will happen at Maine's Cumberland County Fairgrounds. More than 3,000 dogs are expected to participate, representing 170 different breeds. Many come from out of state.

Owners of participating dogs said a lot goes into this huge show. Organizers said it has an economic impact of about $1.7 million.

Winners of each stage of the competition accumulate points toward American Kennel Club Champion designation. Dogs that have reached that level may compete for Grand Champion. Nearly 60 different breeds are represented in this year's shows.

The four-day show, which runs Thursday through Sunday, also offers food and vendor trucks selling pet-related items.

"While a dog show may look like a beauty pageant, it is not. Dogs are not being compared to each other; they are being measured by how closely they conform to the standard of their particular breed," Nancy Daniels, the event's co-chair, said. "That is because the closer a dog's appearance is to the breed's standard, the better that dog's ability will be to produce puppies that meet the standard."

Each show begins with individual breed competitions taking place simultaneously in six different rings. The Best in Breed winners then compete in their groups (herding, hound, non-sporting, sporting, terrier, toy, or working) for Best in Group. After that, the seven Best in Group winners compete in Ring 1 for Best in Show.

Shows start at 8 a.m. and go until 6 p.m.

Anyone is welcome for free, but donations will be accepted for the Penobscot Valley Kennel Club's dog food donation effort to help feed hungry dogs and cats in Maine. The money collected will go straight to local food pantries.

For canine health and safety reasons, organizers ask that spectators not bring their companion dogs to the shows. 

The show entrance is at 107 Blanchard Road in Cumberland.

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