The A B
of Dog Shows
purpose of a dog show? Why show in the first place? What does it
If you were wondering about any of this, you've come to the right
The purpose of dog shows goes way back in time.....as long as there have
been sporting men, there have been competitions of some sort. Imagine this....two farmers
meet out in the field one day and they start talking. One mentions his hen house
was raided by a fox. The other brags he never worries about foxes because
his "Rascal", a terrier is the best in the land on varmints.
Next thing you know the other farmer has himself a terrier and the competition begins!
had humble beginnings as folk got together with someone they all
to determine just who had the best dog. Nowadays, dog shows are
with shows being held all over the world. Here in the USA, there
of governing bodies that allow shows to be held under their auspices.
the UKC, the
SKC and the
FCI to name a few. For
my purposes, I'm
with AKC, as that's the one I am most familiar with and I suppose you
of dog showing is great for two reasons: the competition and the
animals! AKC has several types of shows where AKC-registered
compete, but normally, the term - dog show is
reserved for conformation
appearance and structure of a dog and how well it conforms
standard. All AKC breeds have a standard of perfection and these
be found in the AKC's Dog Book.These official
standards are maintained
by each breed's national club .
go to a local show, here's what's going on.......
Role - The
judges examine the dogs and
place them according to how close each dog compares with the mental
of the breed's standard of perfection. Standards include descriptions
structure, temperament and movement. These standards were most likely
long, long ago and described the characteristics of dogs that best
the function for which the breed was used. The judges are considered
by virtue of their time and experience in the sport of dogs. Each judge
must prove their knowledge of each individual breed and be tested on
knowledge before the AKC will "license" them to judge a breed.
see in the ring is the judge examining each dog in profile for general
balance and watching each dog gait, or move, to see
how all of these
things fit together in action. They also have to look at the dog's bite
( to see how the teeth align ) and feel for muscle conditioning and
texture, if called for in the standard.
3 types of dog shows....Specialty
- these shows are limited to dogs of a specific breed....like Rhodesian
Ridgebacks. Group shows
- these are limited to dogs from one of the seven groups, like
- these are open to all breeds and are the ones you'll most likely
are actually just a process of elimination. One dog will be declared
BEST IN SHOW at the end of the day, but along the way there will be
accumulating points toward the title of Champion!
Most of the
dogs are there to compete for points. It takes 15 points, including two
majors ( majors are wins of 3,4 or 5 points) under
at least 3 different
judges to become a Champion
Dogs that attain their championship are allowed the designation of "Ch"
before their name. At one show, a dog can earn from 1 to 5 points
it's title. All depends on the number of males or females in actual
in the breed. How many it takes depends on the section of the country
are in. The number of dogs for each point division can be found by
in the catalog for that show at the end of each breed's entry. Once a
becomes a champion, it can continue to compete for Best of Breed
having to win in other classes.
classes - The regular
classes are usually
divided into puppy, 12-18 mos., novice, bred-by-exhibitor,
and open. In addition, males (dogs) and females (bitches) are judged
Puppy - 6-9
mos or 9-12 months
for dogs who have never won a blue ribbon or less than 3 ribbons in the
Bred By Exhibitor
- the exhibitor is also the handler
Bred - Dog's parents must have been mated in the USA and the dog born
Open - any
dog of that breed
classes are judged, all the first place winners compete to see who is
best of the winners. This is done in both the males and female
The dog and bitch chosen as best, ie Winner's Dog
Bitch receive the points. A reserve winner is given in each
the runner-up and in case of a mis-entry or something else, will
the points....minus the winning dog.
The WD and
WB get to then go on to compete for Best of Breed and the right to
it's breed in the Group. In addition to BOB, there is Best
of Winners - the dog
judged as the best between
the WD and WB. Best of
- the best dog that is the opposite sex of the Best of Breed winner.
recognized breed fits into one of 7 group classifications. Only 4
are awarded in each group and only the first place winner advances to
Best In Show
- These dogs were bred to hunt game birds both on land and in the
The breeds in this group include Pointers, Retrievers, Setters and
- These dogs were used for hunting other game by sight or scent. These
breeds include such dogs as Beagles, Greyhounds, Bassets and Rhodesian
- These dogs were used to pull carts, guard property and for search and
rescue.....Boxers, Doberman Pinschers and Bullmastiffs are some
- These breeds were used to rid property of vermin such as rats and
This is the largest of the groups and some breed examples are Scottish
Terriers, Wire-haired Fox Terriers and Border Terriers.
- These dogs were bred to be the companions of royalty. This group
Maltese, Pugs and Papillons.
- This is the most diverse group of dogs. These dogs share attributes
don't fit into the mold of the other dog groups. Examples would be the
Chow Chow, Dalmatian and Bulldog.
- These dogs were bred to help shepherds and herd livestock. The German
Shepherd Dog, Border Collie and Old English Sheepdog are examples.