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Dog Project Information and Forms


Species Superintendents -

Cindy Capannari, 

Hannah Capannari, 

For complete Livestock Rules and Fair Participation Requirement Information refer to the 2024 HCCFair Rulebook



For all dog projects, complete the Dog Project and Record Book each year. This project book includes the following projects: You and Your Dog, Obedience, Showmanship, Performance, and Working Dog. The Dog Resource Handbook is also needed for these projects but only needs to be purchased once and can be used by multiple family members.


  • Possession Dates – All project animals must be in the possession and care of the Junior Fair participant by the following dates

    • April 1st of the current year for dog projects.

  • Registrations - All dog projects must meet the following registration deadlines. Late or missing paperwork will make the participant ineligible to compete in the current year at the Hamilton County Community Fair.

    • 4-H Enrollment Form deadline – March 1st

    • Project Commitment Form deadline – May 7th

    • Additional Required Dog Paperwork deadline – May 7th (For additional required paperwork, see Appendix F of the Rulebook.)

  • Youth participating in the Hamilton County Community Fair Dog Show must participate in the care of the dog for the duration of the project, including being responsible for and involved in the feeding, cleaning, and caring for the dog.

  • If a Junior Fair participant does not own the dog he/she wants to use for the Hamilton County Community Fair Dog Show, special permission must be obtained from the Species Superintendents. The Species Superintendents will determine if there is adequate opportunity for participation in the care of the dog. The decision of the Species Superintendents will be final. To show at the State Fair, a Junior Fair participant must own the dog they intend to show.

  • Exhibition projects will be allowed at the Species superintendent's discretion. Exhibition projects are not allowed at the State Fair.​

  • If a family has one dog and two Junior Fair participants who want to show the dog, the dog can be shown in different classes by the two participants but not in the same class. The two participants must be in different showmanship classes, and they can divide the obedience, rally and/or agility classes so they are not in the same class. At the state level, participants cannot share a dog.

  • From the time the participant joins the dog project, which is on or before April 1st of the current year, to the dog show, he/she is required to participate with their dog in a minimum of six (6) training sessions offered by the official 4-H volunteer dog trainers in Hamilton County. Youth and dog teams may participate in training sessions given by non-4H trainers, but these do not count toward the 6 required sessions with the official 4-H trainers.

  • Required Paperwork (Vaccination, License, Permission to Participate) – ALL PAPERWORK MUST BE TURNED IN BY MAY 7th IN ORDER TO PARTICIPATE IN THE DOG SHOW.

    • Instructions for the submission of this additional paperwork will come from the Species Superintendent well in advance of the deadline.

    • Dogs must be currently licensed in their county of residence.

    • All dogs participating in the Hamilton County Community Fair shall be immunized against distemper, adenovirus (hepatitis), leptospirosis, parainfluenza, parvovirus, and rabies by a licensed, accredited veterinarian. Vaccinations MUST be given by a licensed veterinarian.

    • The Certificate of Vaccination Form for the Ohio State Fair Junior Dog Show must be filled out by the veterinarian. This form can be found in Appendix F.

    • Veterinarians must note the expiration date of the rabies vaccine and any deviations from the required vaccinations (i.e., leptospirosis vaccination not given by veterinarian or dog’s titer tested in lieu of vaccinations) on the Certificate of Vaccination.

    • All required vaccinations for dogs must be current through the date of the dog show each year.

    • A Permission to Participate Form must be filled out for all participants in the dog show. This form can be found in Appendix F.

    • The Certificate of Vaccination Form, proof of license, and Permission to Participate Form MUST be submitted by May 7th per the instructions from the Species Superintendent. Dogs will not be allowed on the fairgrounds if this information has not been provided.


  • The Species Superintendents may disallow a dog/youth team from participating in the show if they have not mastered the necessary skills to compete safely in the competition. 

  • Female dogs in season are not permitted on the fairgrounds.

  • Junior Fair participants must provide their own leash, water dish, kennel (if desired), and any equipment needed.

  • Dogs must be kept on a leash while on the fairgrounds, except when participating in the ring during judging.

  • Junior Fair participants are fully responsible for their dogs while on the fairgrounds.

  • Junior Fair participants are expected to clean up after their dogs.

  • The judge may dismiss from the ring any dog exhibiting unsafe or threatening behavior or any Junior Fair participant abusing their dog (verbally and/or physically).

  • The Species Superintendent and the members of the Hamilton County Community Fair Executive Board have the right and responsibility to remove any person being abusive to show personnel. They will be asked to leave the fairgrounds.

  • Only the 4-H dog, the Junior Fair participant, and show officials will be permitted in the ring while any class is being judged.

  • Using bait in Showmanship is allowed.

  • Food, treats, or toys are not permitted on the show floor during obedience classes.

  • Dogs must be clean and brushed, free from matted hair, fleas, ticks, and any internal and/or external diseases.

  • Purebred dogs do not have to be in regulation show clip.

  • Obedience

    • Obedience collars include well-fitting plain buckles or slip collars of an appropriate single length made from leather, fabric, or chain with two rings, one on each end.

    • Fancy collars, special training collars, or collars that are either too tight or so large that they hang down unreasonably in front of the dogs are not permitted.

    • Nothing shall be hanging from the collars.

    • Leashes may be of fabric or leather and should be 6 feet in length.

    • Chain leashes are not acceptable.

  • Showmanship

    • Showmanship collars include a chain or fabric slip collar, or martingale-type show lead.

    • Nothing shall be hanging from the collars.

    • Leashes may be of fabric or leather and long enough to allow for easy handling of the dog.

    • Chain leashes are not acceptable.


  • Junior Fair participants should be neat and clean in appearance. Long hair should be pulled back.

  • Appropriate clothing for dog show classes other than agility is dress pants or a skirt hitting just above or below the knee with a nice top for girls, dress pants, and a nice shirt for boys. Closed-toe shoes should be worn, no sandals. Ties are optional for boys, but some judges will take off a point for not wearing a tie. Hats, jeans, T-shirts, apparel with slogans, 4-H club or dog club names, etc. should not be worn in the show ring.

  • Clothing for all classes should not limit or hinder the judge’s view of the dog and should remain in place when the Junior Fair participant bends over to work with his/her dog.


  • For a description of Showmanship, see the Dog Resource Handbook and the Special Contests and Awards section of the Rulebook.

  • Showmanship questions/interviews will be conducted at Livestock Project Judging.

  • For all species, the 4-H youth must participate in his/her respective showmanship class in order to participate in other classes in the species show.

  • If there are less than 2 participants in either Senior or Junior Showmanship, these classes will be combined. The combined class will be used as the Showman of Showmen Run-Off.

  • Senior Showmanship

    • Open to all dog exhibitors 14 – 18 years old (as of January 1st of the current year)

  • Junior Showmanship

    • Open to all dog exhibitors 8 – 13 years old (as of January 1st of the current year)

  • Novice Showmanship

    • Open to all Junior Fair participants in the Junior or Senior age group showing a dog project for the FIRST TIME EVER. A participant may OPT OUT of Novice Showmanship and show in their age category but must notify the Species Superintendent. 

    • If there are fewer than 3 novice participants the Species Superintendent may choose not to hold a novice class.  In this case, the participants would show in their age category. 


  • See the Dog Resource Handbook and the Dog Project and Record Book for descriptions of the following classes.

  • Obedience                                                                      

        - Beginner Novice         

        - Pre-Novice      

        - Novice

        - Graduate Novice

        - Open

  • Rally                                                                     

        - Rally Novice         

        - Rally Advanced      

        - Rally Excellent        

  • Dog Show classes will be split into A and B classes if necessary. The Species Superintendent will make this decision.

  • If a dog is shown by a new handler, the dog and handler must start at the level to which the dog has advanced. If a handler gets a new dog, the dog and handler can start again at the Beginner Novice level.

**The Species Superintendent is not required to hold any class that has less than 3 participants. Under these circumstances, classes may be combined as the superintendent deems appropriate.


  • 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Place ribbons will be given in each dog show class.

  • 1st Place trophies will be given in each class. 

  • Top Exhibitor and Reserve Top Exhibitor Awards will be given for both Junior and Senior divisions. These winners will be the Junior Fair participants who have the two highest combined scores from the four project program areas: Project Judging, Skillathon, Showmanship placing, and Class placings.

  • To qualify for Top Exhibitor Awards the participant must participate in EACH of the four project program areas and receive a minimum score of 80% on Project Judging and Skillathon.

  • Top Exhibitors will receive a monetary award. Top Exhibitor Awards are given at the Awards Ceremony. 

  • Exhibitors showing in Novice Showmanship are not eligible for Top Exhibitor Awards.

  • Exhibitors showing in Walk/Trot (Novice) Showmanship are not eligible for Top Exhibitor Awards.



  • In order to participate in the Dog Agility Show, the Junior Fair participant must show in their age- appropriate showmanship class in the 4-H Dog Show.


  • Junior Fair participants should be neat and clean in appearance. Long hair should be pulled back.

  • For agility classes, acceptable clothing includes slacks, dressy shorts, skorts, capri or crop pants, colored dress jeans, collared blouses and shirts, polo shirts or similar attire, closed-toe shoes, rubber-soled shoes, flats, and similar type footwear. Club shirts, jeans, and shorts are acceptable.



  • The Dog Agility Show will have on-lead and off-lead versions in the following classes:

        - Standard Agility               - Jumpers               - Mad-Shape-Dash

       For an explanation of these classes, please see the state-level Agility Rulebook at


  • To be eligible for the Top Dog award, youth must complete the following:

    • Participate in showmanship AND one other class at the 4-H Dog Show or the Dog Agility Show.

    • Complete the You and Your Dog portion of the Dog Project and go through the official Project Judging.

    • Complete at least two (2) hours of community service for a dog program. For example, you could work at a shelter, volunteer at a vet’s office, help out at a show or do anything else dog-related.

    • Write an essay entitled “Why I Want to be the Top Dog.”

  • Award will NOT be given to a first-year member as perseverance was key in Ms. Schott’s life.

  • Award can be won more than once in a 4-H youth’s career.

  • To be considered for this award the Junior Fair participant must notify the species superintendent that he/she has completed the requirements and submit his/her essay by July 1st of the current year.

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