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University of Minnesota Extension

4-H clover 4-H Dog Project

How is a German Shepherd different from a Schnauzer? Should my dog sleep in a crate? What should I feed my dog? Learn how to train the ideal pet or compete in a dog show! 

What you'll learn and do

  • How to care for and train a dog
  • Leadership, sportsmanship and teamwork
  • Careers that involve working with dogs
  • Compete in a 4-H dog show

Topics include

  • Diseases
  • Breeds
  • Grooming
  • Health and nutrition
  • Responsible breeding
  • Service dogs and therapy dogs
  • Careers working with dogs

4-H dog events year round

kids showing their dogs

Every September, 4-H'ers and their dogs compete in agility, obedience, showmanship and rally. This 2-day event takes place at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds. 

Spectators are welcome and admission is free. This is a fun family event. If you go, get our app for a detailed schedule, real-time judging results and more

girls studying
Teams of 3-6 youth compete on their knowledge of dairy cattle, dogs, general livestock, horses, lamas, poultry, rabbits and wildlife.

Youth from the Minnesota 4-H Dog Project showcase their dogs in the 4-H Building and the pet center at the Minnesota State Fair.

dogs getting trained
Learn how to train dog trainers. You will teach trainers to teach youth how to show their dogs in 4-H dog shows. This is only for youth leaders of high school age and adult leaders who train others in local programs - not for youth or parents who want to experience more of the Minnesota 4-H Dog Project.
2 girls holding puppies

4-H dog project members bring their dogs to this training and networking workshop.  All youth age third grade and older, their families, trainers, youth and adult dog project leaders are welcome.

Typically held in spring.

    Levels of learning


    Already enrolled in the 4-H Dog Project?



    You can choose to compete with your dog in agility, obedience, rally or showmanship.  Start at your county fair and if you do well you could make it to the Minnesota 4-H State Dog Show, held every September at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds in St. Paul. 


    Fairs and exhibits


    Future study

    You could study veterinary medicine at the University of Minnesota


    Sharon Davis, davis051@umn.edu, 507-369-6896

    Reviewed in 2020

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