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He's your best friend on four legs. Learn to feed, care for and keep a dog healthy; groom and train your dog; and be a responsible dog owner. 

CLICK HERE to download the Spark Sheet.

Project Levels


In level 1, learn dog breeds, create a house-training plan, explore dog behavior, and learn to groom dogs.


In level 2, learn the history of dog breeds, create a dog care budget, correct undesirable dog behaviors, learn to show dogs, and learn about genetic problems.


In level 3, learn to assess a dog’s vital signs, explore careers working with dogs, learn local dog ordinances, and learn about guide and service dogs.

Resources to help you learn

  • Level 1: Wiggles & Wags
  • Level 2: Canine Connection 
  • Level 3: Leading the Pack 
  • Dog Helper's Guide

Required Training

All 4-H members enrolled in an animal project area are required to complete the online Quality Assurance and Ethics course one time in order to stay enrolled in an animal project area. The certification must be done if you are enrolled in one of the following projects: beef, dairy, cats, dogs, goats, horses, poultry, rabbits, sheep, and swine. Members who don’t complete the certification before the show will be removed from the project and not be allowed to show. Anyone who has already taken the certification does not need to retake the test. The local office has a list of those already certified. CLICK HERE to take the trainingThis rule applies to 4-H members who exhibit live animals AND poster exhibits.

State 4-H Dog Show

Jump over to the STATE 4-H DOG SHOW  event page and get all the news on this year's amazing contest at the Granny Rose Dog Facility on August 28!

State Fair Exhibit Rules

Each county may submit 2 entries total from 50135 and 1 entry from 50137.

Animal Science (SF 50135)

Prepare a display focusing on any activity related to the animal science project. Demonstrate the skills and knowledge you have gained through the animal project you studied.  The exhibit may include, but isn’t limited to, original works, objects, demonstrations, digital presentations, programs, websites, games, apps, performances, or posters which you have made. Choose whatever method best shows what you’ve learned. You must furnish any equipment you need for your exhibit. Internet service will not be provided for the exhibit. All exhibits must include something visual, such as a printed copy of a digital presentation, which will remain on display during the exhibition. Electronic equipment will only be used during your personal judging time and will not remain on display during the entire exhibit period. Live animals are not permitted as exhibits in this area. For safety reasons, exhibits cannot include glass, syringes with needles or any other sharp objects.

Animal Science Ready4Life Challenge (SF 50137) 

Open to 11- to 18-year-olds enrolled in any Animal Science project. Exhibits in this category must include the following: a) a physical representation of the career or business product such as a model, prototype or display/portfolio that includes images of accomplished work; b) verbal or written explanations that demonstrate knowledge of the related career or business fields, potential careers, and the appropriate requirements for achievement in those fields. The judging criteria for this class values thoroughness of career and/or business exploration and pursuit above the workmanship of the physical specimen on display.

Dog Maker (SF 50400)

Counties may submit 3 entries TOTAL combined from all Maker exhibit divisions.

Exhibits in this category are designed to be multi-disciplinary in nature, innovative, and must not fit into any other exhibit category. To qualify for this category, your project MUST abide by the following guidelines:

  • Exhibits must be an object or device that has an intended purpose and uses technology in either a mechanical way, digital (computer) way, or combination of the two.
  • The device must be something that can be used in everyday life by multiple people (a target audience), and MUST be manufactured/built by the exhibitor (If not fully manufactured by the exhibitor, the device MUST be modified structurally or be reprogramed to perform a different function other than what it was designed to do
  • Exhibit MUST be able to interact with the outside world. (e.g. an on off switch, input sensors, feedback, etc.)
  • Exhibits MUST include a detailed build log with instructions on how to make or build the exhibit, AND contain either a 3D rendering or detailed and labeled sketches of the device/product.
  • All parts and software used in the design/build MUST be listed in a detailed Bill of Materials including cost per item and total cost. Total time spent on the build must be documented in your build log.

In addition, exhibitors are HIGHLY encouraged to use tools such as 3-D printers, laser cutters, routers and/or other hand/power tools to help in the manufacturing process (NOTE: Simply 3-D printing or laser cutting an object without the other specifications does not qualify as a Maker Project). It is also HIGHLY encouraged that exhibits use Open Source Software and/or Hardware in the build.

New AKC Rules for Dog Shows

Illinois 4-H will be abiding by the American Kennel Club regulations for its competitions. Here is a listing of the classes:

Dog Obedience

  • Beginner Novice I Class (For inexperienced handlers and inexperienced dogs)
  • Beginner Novice II Class (For experienced handlers and inexperienced dogs OR experienced dogs and inexperienced handlers)
  • Preferred Novice Class
  • Novice Class
  • Graduate Novice Class
  • Preferred Open Class
  • Open Class
  • Graduate Open Class
  • Preferred Utility Class
  • Utility Class

Dog Showmanship

  • Junior Showmanship (for handlers age 8 to 13 (as of 9/1/18)
  • Senior Showmanship (for handlers age 14 and older (as of 9/1/18)

Rally Obedience

  • Rally Novice Class
  • Rally Intermediate Class
  • Rally Advanced Class
  • Rally Excellent Class