Dog Shows – Pet tip 200
Although most dog owners have never seen a live traditional dog show, they are still enormously popular with many dog lovers. Traditional dog shows such as the prestigious Westminster Kennel Club dog show from the U.S. and the Crufts dog show in England are conformation shows which are competitions that are meant to show off the best attributes of individual dog breeds entered into the show. The attributes judged are not only the dog’s physical attributes, but also its grooming, temperament, the way it walks, moves and stands in the show ring. The dogs are not competing against each other but against the breed standard which is the ‘ideal’ for the breed. Every breed has a list of attributes that make up what the standard for that breed should be and every dog competes against that standard. The dog that most closely matches the standard for its breed wins.
In order to determine how closely each dog comes to the breed standard, a thorough inspection of the dog takes place. Everything from the coat, eyes, teeth, angles of the head and bones and even the dog’s private parts are closely inspected by judges. Notes are kept and points are taken off for any attributes that don’t perfectly match the breed standard. Each dog also has to be groomed in a specific way and they are judged on that as well. The show itself is basically a hierarchy. Groups of dogs are divided into classes and subclasses, and awards are given where winners move up in rank until the final competition. The final competition pits the finalists of all the classes against each other and that winner is crowned ‘best in show’.
If you think that you would like to enter your dog in similar competitions there are a few things that you should know in advance. First off, although mixed breed dogs are amazing dogs, they are excluded from traditional conformation dog shows. If you have a purebred dog but you don’t have papers to prove it, your dog won’t be accepted. Most show dogs (in similar fashion to racehorses) come from parents that were show dogs. They have pedigrees and paperwork that can be traced back many years and they cannot have been spayed or neutered. Even if you have a purebred dog with papers, unless you bought it from a reputable breeder that has already bred champion dogs, and you paid that breeder many thousands of dollars, your dog will unlikely do well at these competitions. That said, if you’ve done your research and do think your dog has what it takes to compete in the big leagues then go for it. For more information on competing in dog shows in Canada or the U.S.A you can contact the Canadian Kennel Club or the American Kennel Club for more information.