Downeast Dog News

Field Announced: 17th Annual World Championship Boatyard Dog® Trials at the Maine Boat & Home Show

By Gretchen Piston Ogden | Aug 01, 2019
Photo by: Debra Bell Zola the Returning Champion

The annual Maine Boat & Home Show, August 9-11, on the waterfront in Rockland, Maine, will, as always, feature boats in the water, boats on land, marine gear vendors, fine furniture and home wares, arts, architecture, live music, and delicious food. It will also highlight the antics and skills needed to become a World Champion on Sunday morning at 10:30 during the light-hearted World Championship Boatyard Dog® Trials.

Show attendees are invited to watch from the seawall as two-time champ Zola the Wonder Dog defends her title against a field of wannabes. Zola won a hard-fought competition last year with her Frisbee-chasing prowess and her ability to make her handler jump into the chilly waters of Penobscot Bay to swim alongside.

The 2019 Field of Challengers has been chosen:

Cooper (springer spaniel) – “Anything to do with a tennis ball, I’m on it!” Handlers: Saylor and Jeanine Salica

Sassy (golden retriever) – “I love, love, love the water!” Handler: John Crawford

Tache (curly-haired) – “That’s French for spot!” Handler: Viking Gustafson

Tattoo (papillon) – “10 tons of ’tude in a 7-pound sack!” Handler: Lisa Lane

(Alternate: Charlie (dachshund) “A registered ground-support service dog!” – Handler: Paul Schafer)

Zola and challengers will stand up, sit down, roll over, and act silly (or not at all) before an adoring crowd. This year’s chosen dogs will be expected to complete three events within an 8-minute time limit:

Dockside Obstacle Course — Dog and handler will negotiate a maze of lobster traps, piles of rope, buoys, and other funky dockside paraphernalia.

Dinghy Hop — Dog and handler will scramble in and out of a very unstable dinghy that’s tethered to a float.

Freestyle — Each dog (and their person) will show off his or her special talents…. No holds are barred during this segment—dogs have tied bowlines, sung sea chanteys, climbed ladders, danced in costume, and “cooked” lobsters in the past. There’s no telling what this year’s crop will come up with to entertain the crowd..

The 2019 Esteemed Panel of Judges will be April Thibodeau from long-time sponsor and local pet-supply emporium Loyal Biscuit (stores in Bangor/Brewer, Belfast, Camden/Rockport, Rockland, and Waterville); Katie Griffin, certified canine swim coach and owner /founder of Water Bark Wellness in Camden; and Ruth Woodbury Starr from 250 Main Hotel in Rockland, “where dogs are welcome, and if your dog will vouch for you, you are welcome too!” The verbal antics and howling puns of emcees Mike Joyce and Alan Sprague, from WERU-FM’s call-in show “Boat Talk” will add to the fun.

New this year will be a water-rescue demonstration, in which a burly Newfoundland will show off their safety and retrieval skills for the crowd.

The pawsome event will kick off with a furry procession of canine competitors at 10:15 on the show grounds. The official trials will begin at 10:30 a.m. on the waterfront. Admission to the trials is included in the price of a show ticket; children under the age of 12 always get in free.

Please note: Only pre-entered dogs may compete and only service animals (preferably marked as such) are allowed on show grounds. Please leave Fido and Fifi at home—you can tell them all about it later!

As always, Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors magazine and the Boatyard Dog® Trials will offer show attendees a chance to help support local midcoast animal shelters. Anyone can come by Tent B to make a donation to the shelters at any time during the show weekend. The trials competitors will also be encouraged to bring shelter donations.


The Maine Boats & Home Show is produced by the internationally acclaimed Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors magazine. For more information, call 800-565-4951 or visit

The 2019 Boatyard Dog sponsors are: 250 Main, Bell’s Furry Friends Pet Photography, Casco Totes, Hamilton Marine, Loyal Biscuit, and Water Bark Wellness.

Overall show sponsors are Awlgrip/Interlux, Bangor Savings Bank, Camden National Bank, CedarWorks, Courier Publications, Epifanes, LCI Fiber Optic Networks, Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors magazine, Owls Head Transportation Museum, Rock Harbor Brewing, US Harbors, and Yarmouth Boat Yard. The support of the City of Rockland, the Rockland Main Street program, and West Bay Rotary is also much appreciated.