Dog Show 101

Here are the basics for first time spectators visiting our dog show.

When is the show?

The Country Music Cluster consists of four (4) separate dog shows hosted by two Kennel Clubs. The Nashville Kennel Club show days are Thursday and Sunday. The Tullahoma Kennel Club hosts the shows on Friday and Saturday.
The show runs from 8:00 AM until approximately 4:30 PM.
Breed classes begin in the morning, followed by Groups and finally by Best In Show.

Where is the show?

The Country Music Cluster is held at the Williamson County Ag Expo Center, just south of Franklin, TN at exit 61 off I-65.

Does it cost anything to get in?

There is a $5 charge per vehicle for parking, but there is no admission fee to watch the dogs compete.
Get a big SUV and bring your friends!

How do I know when my favorite dog breeds will compete in the ring?

Once the show entries are compiled by our show superintendent, Onofrio, they will publish a Judging Program. This will have all the information about what dogs show at what time. The Judging Program is available for viewing on our site.
Scroll down to the bottom of the page to see the overview of dog ring and show times.
At the show, you can also purchase a copy of our catalog that has information on all the dogs entered in the show, as well as the ring times.
This year, there are lots of coupons and discounts included, so be sure to pick up a copy–it pays for itself!

How does the dog show process work?

Competition begins early in the day with individual breed classes. Dogs and bitches compete with each other to determine Best of Breed for over 150 different breeds recognized by the AKC.
Pick up a copy of the show catalog to get more information about all of the dogs entered in the show.
Once the Best of Breeds have been determined, those dogs or bitches compete in Groups.
Groups are various dog breeds related by function. For example, the Toy Group consists of breeds that were created as companion animals, while the Herding Group consists of breeds that assist shepherds and herd livestock.
There are seven groups:
  • Sporting
  • Hound
  • Working
  • Terrier
  • Toy
  • Non-Sporting
  • Herding


Once the 7 Group winners have been determined, those seven dogs or bitches continue on to Best In Show competition. From these, the judge will determine which is Best in Show. Here’s an illustration of the process:

Can I touch the dogs?

ALWAYS ask the dog’s handler (person on the other end of the leash) before petting the dogs.
Often, dogs have spent many hours being groomed for the show ring. Though you may not be allowed to touch a dog prior to it going in the ring, many exhibitors will let you pet them after.
Most exhibitors love talking about their dogs and are more than willing to share details about their breed with you.

Why can’t I bring a baby stroller into the show site?

The no stroller rule is for the safety of small children and the dogs.
It can get very crowded around the rings as dogs wait to show–accidentally rolling a stroller over a dog’s tail could cause it injury.
Also, strollers put babies at the precise height for inquisitive tail grabbing or touching, which can startle an unsuspecting dog.
Please carry your young children and keep them under close supervision. Safety first, then fun!

Can I bring my dog?

Unless you are bringing your dog to one of the clinics, please leave your beloved pet at home. But feel free to shop for Fido at our vendors!

Show times by breed

Once the show schedule has been set, look for your favorite breeds below to see what time they will show during the four days of the Country Music Cluster.  When you get to the show, simply look for the signs above each ring to find your favorite dogs!