Conformation Shows For Beginners
Dog shows are held so that people can share their love of a breed and maintain a set of characteristics found within a specified breed description (the Standard). The ultimate objective is to improve the quality of breeding dogs by having them compete one against the other, to determine which dog is the closest match to the Standard. This is a place where breeders can have their breeding stock evaluated by others who are qualified to do so. There are more than 190 breeds of purebred dogs recognized by the Canadian Kennel Club (also known as the CKC). The various breed are dogs are dividing into 7 groups, depending on what the dogs were originally bred to do.
the shape or structure of something, esp. an animal.
"the judges run their hands over the dog's body and legs, checking its conformation"
All breed shows are just that, shows that showcase all breeds recognized by the CKC. Fraser Valley Dog Fanciers is an example of an all breed club that will host several days of shows during the year.
To participate, dogs must be purebred, and be registered (or eligible for registration) with the CKC. Conformation shows are primarily for dogs capable of breeding (unaltered – not spayed or neutered).
Dog shows are a giant elimination contest. In every breed, non-champion males are judged first, then non-champion females. Dogs are entered in classes based on age, ownership or place of birth and the judge evaluates each dog, awarding first, second, third and fourth placments depending on the number of entries in the class. First place in each class then competes for Winners, and that dog is awarded points towards it's championship, based on the number of males (or females) competing. There is also a Reserve Winners chosen, which is a runner-up award. After male and female Winners have been awarded, then the dogs entered for Specials Only, along with the Winners Male/Female, compete for Best of Breed, Best of Opposite Sex, Best of Winners, Best Puppy In Breed, as well as Select Male, Select Female
Each Best of Breed dog then competes against other Best of Breed winners in the Group, which is placed First through Fourth. At the end of the day, the 7 group winners compete for Best in Show and Reserve Best In Show.
Classes that are offered at shows are:
- BABY PUPPY (as of Dec 24, 2011 – this is a class that is an option for show giving clubs) for dogs between 3 months and under 6 months of age;
- JUNIOR PUPPY for dogs between 6 months and under 9 months of age;
- SENIOR PUPPY for dogs between 9 months and under 12 months of age;
- 12-18 MONTH CLASS for dogs 12 months of age and under 18 months of age on the day of the show.
- CANADIAN BRED for dogs born in Canada. Champions of any country are excluded;
- BRED BY EXHIBITOR for dogs which are owned and handled in the ring by the breeder. The handler must be the owner/co-owner and breeder/co-breeder of the dog. The owner/breeder must handle the dog in this class, but need not handle the dog for further awards;
- OPEN for all dogs. Usually the older and more experienced show dogs are to be seen in this class;
- SPECIALS ONLY Dogs which have a recorded CKC registration, Event Registration Number (ERN) or Miscellaneous Certification Number (MCN) and have attained the required number of points for Championship status. Dogs entered in this class are eligible to be considered for Best of Breed, Best of Opposite Sex and Best Puppy (if eligible).
- EXHIBITION ONLY for all dogs who will be at the show, but will not be going in the show ring, or will be competing in a non-regular class, such as Brace (two identical dogs shown together with one handler).
Specialty shows will often offer VETERANS CLASS for dogs 7 years of age and over on the day of the show, as well as sub dividing the various classes based on colour or age limits. Speciaties also may offer classes based on working ability or working titles, such as Junior or Senior Hunter, or Sled Dog, depending on the breed and it's purpose.
In order to become more involved with the sport of Purebred Dogs,
visit the Canadian Kennel Club website and familiarize yourself with the goals, objectives and rules of conformation dog shows. The CKC is the governing body that sets out the rules and guidelines for conformation shows within Canada.
Attend a show or two. See if you like the atmosphere. Watch the judging in action. Talk to fellow enthusiasts and club members. A list of approved events is available on the CKC website, or, there is also the Canuck Dogs website.
Take show handling classes. Learn the best way to present your dog and condition it to an event not unlike a real show.
Enter a show. Go for it!