The Kennel Club sets a Breed Standard for every breed of dog it recognizes, which represents the ideal conformation and characteristics for that breed. At shows, the Judge must compare each dog with the Breed Standard to find the dog nearest to that ideal picture of the breed.
Fit for Function, Fit for Life is also a consideration.
Dog Showing is the most popular canine activity in the country and is a great way to show others why your dog is the best in the world. All pedigree dogs can take part in Dog Showing
Getting Started in Dog Showing
Ensure your dog is registered with the Kennel Club and is 6 months of age or over.
Enter a class in a show that is suitable for your dog for example Minor Puppy (age 6 – 9 months), Puppy (age 6 – 12 months), Junior (up to 18 months) etc. Schedules for shows usually list definitions of classes. Not all classes are scheduled at each show.
Championship Shows , if CC’s are on offer, usually split the classes – one set for dogs and one set for bitches. The winner of the Dog CC and Bitch CC will then compete for Best of Breed.
Reserve Dog and Bitch tickets are also awarded, along with Best Puppy Dog and Best Puppy Bitch, who then compete for overall Best Puppy.
Certain classes at Championship Shows and certain Best of Breeds at Premier Open shows qualify you to enter Crufts – the only show that has a qualification requirement.
Check the Kennel Club website or the schedule for the Championship Show or Premier Open show you are entering for which classes carry this qualification.
As the breed is traditionally docked you will see that schedules are usually noted with the following:
‘Only undocked dogs and legally docked dogs may be entered for exhibition at this show’.
This means that if you qualify for Crufts and your dog is docked after 6slth April 2007 you are unable to enter (Crufts). This is because the public pay an admission charge to enter the show. The only other show this affects is LKA.
Depending on the show, as well as the cost of your entry fee, for each class, you can also purchase catalogues that show who is entered in each class (your competitors).
Championship Shows may also charge for Car Parking.
A Best of Breed and Best Puppy, if any are present, is awarded by the judge and those dogs will represent the breed in the group, if the show is judged on the group system, or in the line up Best in Show when all breeds have been judged, later in the show, for Best in Show and Best Puppy in Show.
How can I prepare for a Dog Show?
A great way to find out whether dog showing is for you is to visit a show or multiple shows and see what it’s all about.
Attend ring craft – clubs are usually very sociable, where groups of like-minded people meet on a regular basis and get great enjoyment from training their dogs. The ideal Ring craft club should have classes, for the beginner, and in particular the puppy before it goes into the show ring, through to classes for more experienced dogs and handlers in order to keep them in the peak of training.
Some Ring craft clubs not only run training classes for your dogs, but competitions such as Matches and Companion Dog Shows so that members can see how they are progressing.
You can find your nearest club on the Kennel Club website.
Levels of Dog Show
A Limited Show is an entry level show which is restricted either geographically or by membership
Open to all levels of pedigree dog exhibitors. Open Shows are an excellent place to hone your skills as the atmosphere is slightly more relaxed than Championship Show
Premier Open Shows
Open to all levels of pedigree dog exhibitors. Premier Shows are a larger version of an Open Show but here exhibitors can qualify for Crufts.
Championship Dog Shows
Championship Shows are open to all exhibitors but there is a higher level of competition as it is here that dogs can both win a Challenge Certificate (also known as CCs, or tickets) and also qualify for Crufts. Once you acquire three CC’s your dog will be a Show Champion which is one of the highest accolades in the show world.
Types of Dog Show
Single Breed Show (Open or Championship) – Open to a single breed only e.g. ‘The German Shorthaired Pointer Association Championship Show ‘and will usually only be a one day show.
Group Show (Open or Championship) – Open to one group of dogs for example ‘Gundogs’ for example The National Gundog Association Championship Show
General Shows (Open or Championship) – This type of Show is the biggest, taking place over several days, and will hold classes for all dog groups. An example of this type of show would be Windsor Championship Dog Show.
Companion Dog Shows
One other alternative to taking part in a Breed Show is to take part in a Companion Dog Show. Companion Dog Shows are fundraising events held throughout the year and the shows are mostly organized in conjunction with fetes, charity open days or similar events to raise money for charitable causes. The shows are very relaxed and fun and give you the opportunity to practice your teamwork and build confidence with your dog in the show ring.
Shows can be found on various websites and entries can be made on line, in most cases, or by posting a paper entry to the Show Secretary.
Example websites are Higham Press and Fosse Data, however there are others.