If you are, maybe it's time to let the whole world know! Dog shows (also called conformation shows) are a good way of showcasing your pet; especially his looks and his breed. For years, animal lovers everywhere have been participating in dog shows and other similar contests. Even if there is typically no money involved, the mere satisfaction of seeing beautiful canines and bonding with your dog is enough of a reward.
If you're considering a shot at the big league, here are a few tips to get you and your furry pal ready:
The American Kennel Club or AKC is the governing body when it comes to dog shows and canine studies. They have the largest purebred registry in the country, with more than 500 member clubs. Established since 1884, the AKC promotes the breeding, study, and exhibition of purebred dogs.
If you want to enter a dog show, you must ensure that your canine friend meets the qualifications of the AKC. After that, you need to have him registered with your local Kennel Club. To be familiar with all their guidelines, order their rule book through their Customer Service line or at their online store.
Let's say your pet has passed registration and is now officially on his way into the show. Now you'll need to know what goes on during the competition and what the judges are looking for. Generally, dog shows are intended to assess breeding stock only – that pertains to physical appearance, structure, and the ability to produce quality puppies.
You can choose to join in any of these three types of dog shows:
- All-Breed Shows – a contest among ALL the different types of breeds registered under the AKC. This is typically broadcasted on television.
- Specialty Shows – this kind of competition is limited to a specific breed, or the different varieties of one breed.
- Group Shows – a contest for dogs belonging to either one of the 7 main groups (Hounds, Working, Toy, Terriers, etc.)
For your first time, attend dog shows you'd want to participate in to observe the techniques and rules they follow. This is also a good way of seeing exactly what the judges want (reading about them is often not enough).
Don't forget to prepare for the contest by investing in pet accessories. Items such as grooming necessities and supplements are needed months before the big event. On the day of the competition, ensure that your pal is wearing his best dog leash. Canines are not allowed to roam freely on dog shows. Make your travel convenient for both of you by purchasing quality dog carriers and bags (useful for toy breeds).
Dogs and owners competing in these shows should all be in their best behavior – so you should too! Your beloved pet must be in a calm state of mind before entering the field; otherwise, he might growl or bark, disqualifying him from the tournament. Pack in his favorite toys, some snacks, as well as his grooming aids so he can stay neat, clean, and pretty for the big event.