Time to prove it at the dog show! In the previous post, you learned about the general facts about entering your dog and what conformation shows are all about. This time, it's about the inner workings and procedures during the event.
Dog Shows or conformation shows have only two goals: to assess the overall appearance and structure according to pure breed standards; and to evaluate its ability to produce top-quality pups. So before you can enter a dog show, you need to ensure that your furry pal is a pure breed – and only the best kind! After that, he needs to be registered with the American Kennel Club (AKC)
There's a written standard that dog show judges adhere to when evaluating candidates. However, bear in mind that these assessments are still subjective. All judges are experts on the breeds they specialize in though, so you can be sure that they're doing their best when checking the dogs.
Judges use their hands during the physical inspection. They will check the dog's head (including its features like the eyes and ears), muzzle, whiskers, teeth, tail, shoulders, legs, coat; and how all these come together to make the candidate graceful. This is based on gait (the dog's walk) and attitude (so show some charisma!).
During The Competition
The dogs are presented to each judge by the 'handler'. This could be the owner, breeder, or a hired professional. A handler's role is similar to that of a horse jockey: he or she must showcase the dog in its best light; guiding it into the arena with as much poise as possible. Dogs must obtain points in order to advance towards the championships.
Dog shows are a process of elimination, with only the highest ranking canines in the running to win Best In Show. It takes 15 points to bag a championship award, 5 points being the maximum number awarded to any dog during an elimination round. Males and females compete separately in their own breeds. There are 7 classes to participate in, based on age and canine type:
- Puppy (for dogs between 6-12 months old)
- 12 – 18 Months (open only for dogs who didn't win the championship)
- Novice (for those over 6 months old)
- Amateur-Owner-Handler (for pet owners who have never been professional dog handlers)
- Bred By Exhibitor
- American-Bred (for dogs born in the United States)
- Open (for any dog at least 6 months old)
The Road To Fame