More than 1,500 purebred dogs of more than 150 breeds will compete this week in the annual Heart of America and Leavenworth Kennel Club dog show.

The event will be held Thursday through Sunday at Hale Arena in the American Royal Complex in the Kansas City Stockyards.

The event is free and open to the public. The show will run from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day. The arena is located at 1701 American Royal Court, Kansas City, Missouri.

The event will feature numerous winners from the recent Westminster Kennel Club show at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

The dogs in the KC show will feature all shapes and sizes that will be competing for championship points. Some of the top dogs will be vying for the coveted red, white and blue ribbon as Best in Show. Children 18-under will be competing in a junior showmanship competition.

All of the dogs in the show are registered with the American Kennel Club.

Owners and handlers will be competing for an invitation to the AKC National Championship in Orlando, Florida, in December.

There is no prize money awarded to the top dogs and the dogs are not for sale.

Nancy Jones, president of the Leavenworth Kennel Club, said professional handlers have refined their skills on how to show certain breeds.

“You don’t present a Scottish terrier the same way you would present a golden retriever,” she said. “We encourage people to talk to the breeders. Get to learn about the breeds.”

This annual show is the only one of the year for the Leavenworth Kennel Club.

“It takes a lot to put this on,” she said. “It takes all year. Judges are hired years in advance because there are a limited number of them. We are hiring our judges for 2021 right now.”

Jones said there are dog shows held each weekend of the year somewhere in the United States.

She said most dog shows in the Midwest are non-ticketed shows.

Spectators may sit in folding chairs that are offered free of charge right outside of the show arena. No baby strollers are allowed in the arena.

Fans are also welcome to walk through the grooming area to look at the breeds and visit with the owners about their dogs.

“Everybody loves to talk about their dog,” she said.

Numerous vendors will be on hand during the event selling canine-related merchandise.

Daily results of the show can be found online at www.heartofamericakc.org or on Facebook.

For more information about the show or the Leavenworth Kennel Club, call Jones at 816-804-0775.