Canine Good Citizen Classes -Basic Obedience
CGCA Classes & Title
Trick Dog Classes
S.T.A.R. Puppy-Headstart Classes
Annual Dog Show INFO
2014 Dog Show Photos
Club Info on AKC
Spectators' Guide for Attending a Dog Show
Dog Show Etiquette
Do's & Don'ts
· Talking to Exhibitors/Handlers. Always ask first if it is a good time to talk! You might be catching someone as they are nervously waiting to go into the ring, or intent on grooming for an upcoming ring time. If you want to talk with an exhibitor, always wait until they are all done showing their dog. Prior to showing, they are focusing on their dog and getting ready to show. Make sure they aren’t about to go into the ring. Or, they may be just closely watching dogs they are interested in seeing. If an owner/exhibitor is engrossed in something, they will be happy to let you know when and where is a better time to talk. Sometimes, the best time to talk with handlers is in the grooming area. They’ll love to talk about their favorite breed!
· Talking at the ring. Don't talk with exhibitors when they are in the ring showing.
· Ring Entrances. Stay clear of the ring entrances/gate. It is difficult for exhibitors to get in and out of the rings when spectators are in the way of the entrance. If there are large entries, the exhibitors need plenty of room to gather to be ready to enter and exit the rings.
· Ring Markers. Do not touch the ring markers or lean over or on them—they will fall. Keep all family members on the outside of ring barrier markers.
· Empty Show Ring. Remember, an empty ring is not a playpen. Please do not enter.
· Strollers can place a child's face at the same level as unfamiliar dogs' faces. Plus, a stroller could accidentally run over lots of dogs' tails. You may need to stay in the arena seating area. If you do go onto the arena floor, park your stroller in the "stroller parking area" just outside the arena floor entrance on the East side.
· Hugs & Fingers. Never let your child hug a strange dog and please don’t stick your fingers into a strange dog’s crate in the grooming area.
· Distractions. Each dog and handler has only moments in the ring for the judge to evaluate him and any distractions (food or objects thrown into the ring, body parts hanging over or under the ring barriers, and/or loud disturbances) can throw their performance off.
· Clapping. Yes, it is okay to clap for a favorite in the show ring, but in Obedience wait until the end. Clapping from the seating area is encouraged, especially during Group & Best in Show!
· Food. Do not bring food close to ringside. Despite the fact that these dogs are all well-trained, it is not fair to the exhibitors if you are eating close to the ring, especially for the obedience exhibitors -- it is still a distraction to their dogs.
· Your Pet. Sorry, you must leave your own dog at home. By AKC rules, only dogs entered into the dog shows are allowed to be on the show grounds. Unless a special promotion has been advertised at the dog show that invites you to bring your dog to a certain location at the show for a specific purpose (such as a Canine Good Citizen test or a clinic, you are not really suppose to bring your pets to the dog show. If so, retractable Leads are NOT permitted inside the building.
· Dress. You may have noticed elegantly dressed handlers and judges at dog shows you've seen on TV, but when you go to a dog show, be sure to wear comfortable clothes and shoes. Exhibitors often dress appropriately in suits, even at small dog shows.
· Watch where you step! We’re sure you don’t want to step on any feet, noses or tails of our doggie friends. And, on another note, unfortunately not all dog handlers are considerate enough to clean up after their dogs.
· Cell phones and pagers. Be careful around the ringside areas. Best use them in the spectator seating area. If you absolutely, positively cannot be without your device, please have it on mute or vibrate. Ringing, beeping, musical tones and any other of the myriad rings, chimes, songs, etc., such a device may make, are distracting to the dogs, the exhibitors and the people standing or sitting next to you, plus they don’t want to be involved in your conversation. Please be courteous; use your manners.
· Petting the Dogs. If you or your children want to pet a dog, follow the guidelines on How to Approach a Dog (next column).
Enjoy the show!
If you have questions, locate a club member at the show!
Support the Vendors!
You may want buy your pet a great toy or bone or collar
at the show! Be sure to visit!
The role of the Judge
Judges examine the dogs and place them in accordance to how close each dog compares with their mental image of the "perfect" dog as described in the breed's official standard. These standards include qualifications for structure, temperament and movement. In short, they describe the characteristics that allow the breed to perform the function for which it was bred.
These official written standards are maintained by each breed's national club and published in AKC's The Complete Dog Book.
The judges are experts in the breeds they are judging. They examine or "go over" each dog with their hands to see if the teeth, muscles, bones and coat texture match the standard. They examine each dog in profile for general balance, and watch each dog gait, or move, to see how all of those features fit together in action.
How a Dog Show Works
Dog shows are basically a process of elimination, with one dog being named Best In Show at the end of the day. See the chart, which illustrates the steps in this process. Along the way, some dogs accumulate points toward the title "AKC Champion."
JUDGING PROCEDURE (pdf)
From Class Judging to Best in Show!
How to Approach a Dog (pdf)
Remember these steps when meeting and greeting a dog:
Always walk slowly and quietly to the dog’s owner to ask if you can pet the dog; always ask permission.
If the owner says “yes,” curl your hand into a closed fist with the back of your hand facing upward.
Extend your hand slowly to the dog.
Allow the dog to sniff the back of your hand. We recognize people on sight; dogs recognize people by scent. Dogs sniff people to learn their scent.
After the dog has sniffed your hand and has become familiar with you, pet it gently under the chin or on the chest.
Respect a dog's space. Do not stick your face into a dogs face or poke
If the dog is about to go into the show ring, wait to pet the dog. Often people have spent hours grooming their dogs. Other dogs early in their exposure to shows may be nervous at shows or may not yet be used to crowds or children. And, some dogs grab for what they may interpret as treats or they might have finicky stomachs. Once a dog has been shown exhibitors/owners are usually happy to have the dog receive some additional petting, especially if they are adding to the dog’s socialization.
Each dog that receives an award is given a ribbon by the judge. The color of the ribbon denotes the type of award the dog has won.
Blue - awarded for first place in any regular class. Also awarded for the winner of each group competition, usually in "rosette" form.
Red - awarded for second place in each class. Also awarded for second place in each group competition, usually in "rosette" form.
Yellow - awarded for third place in each class. Also awarded for third place in each group competition, usually in "rosette" form.
White - awarded for fourth place in each class. Also awarded for fourth place in each group competition, usually in "rosette" form.
Purple - awarded to the winners of the Winners Dog and Winners Bitch classes. Since these are the classes in which championship points are earned, they are highly coveted.
Blue and White - Best of Winners, either the winners Dog or winners bitch
Purple and White - awarded to the Reserve Winner, that is, the runner-up winner of the Winners Dog and Winners Bitch classes.
Purple and Gold - Best of Breed or Variety
Red and White - Best of Opposite Sex to Best of Breed
Light Blue and White - Select
About the 7 Dog Groups
SPORTING - These dogs were bred to hunt game birds both on land and in the water. The breeds in this group include Pointers, Retrievers, Setters and Spaniels.
HOUNDS - Were used for hunting other game by sight or scent. These breeds include such dogs as Beagles, Bassets, Dachshunds and Greyhounds.
WORKING - These dogs were used to pull carts, guard property and for search and rescue. Among the breeds in this group are the Akita, Boxer, Doberman Pinscher and St. Bernard.
TERRIER - This is the largest group, with breeds including the Airedale, Bull Terrier and Scottish Terrier. Terriers were bred to rid property of vermin such as rats.
TOY - These dogs were bred to be the prized companions of royalty. This group includes little dogs such as the Chihuahua, Maltese, Pomeranian and Pug.
NON-SPORTING - This diverse group includes the Chow Chow, Bulldog, Dalmatian and Poodle. These dogs share attributes but don't fit into the mold of other dog groups.
HERDING - These dogs were bred to help shepherds and ranchers herd their livestock. Among this group are the Briard, Collie, German Shepherd Dog and Old English Sheepdog.
Dog Breed Chart Learn the different breeds
Seven Groups Learn which group the breed belongs
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DOG: A two-fold word. This word is generic when it refers, for example, to the number of animals entered at the show. In reference to the sex of an animal, a “dog” is a male.
BITCH: A female canine.
CLUB: The membership is comprised of like-minded people whose primary interest is in dogs and their welfare, promoting pure-bred dogs, and the competition in the ring. When you see the words “kennel club” or “dog club” or “dog fanciers association” in a club name it usually denotes an interest in conformation. When you see the words “training club” or “obedience trial club” or “agility” in a club’s name it usually denotes members with an interest in Obedience or Agility.
AKC DOG SHOW: This is an event Licensed or Sanctioned by the American Kennel Club. A kennel club must have their event approved by AKC in order to be able to award AKC points toward a dog’s championship.
SUPERINTENDENT: These individuals/organizations are in business to help clubs produce and manage their events. They are the club’s agent in the production of the club’s dog show.
RING: The area where you will exhibit your dog. This area is reserved strictly for the actual showing of your dog. It is NOT a practice area. You may see an empty ring during the day. This may not indicate that judging is over for that ring, it may be because the judge is having a lunch break, or it may be a ring that will be used at the time the Groups are to be judged.
AKC CHAMPION: In order to become an AKC Champion of Record a dog must obtain 15 points. Within the 15 points there must be two “major” wins under two different judges.
POINTS: In order to become a breed Champion your dog must amass a certain number points. Points are figured on the number of dogs/bitches entered that actually compete on that day and how many you have defeated with your win. There are also requirements for “major” wins under two separate judges. Points
are awarded at the Winners level. The point schedule for each division is listed in the show catalog.
FINISHED: When you hear someone say their dog has just “finished” this usually means that with their win that day the dog has completed the requirements for its Championship.
TITLE: There are a number of titles offered in the various AKC events, each indicating the dog’s achievement at various levels.
In the judging program you will see numbers in parentheses
after the breed names. These numbers are translated as follows: If you see, for example, Boxers (10-14-4-3) this means there are 10 dogs, 14 bitches, 4 dog specials (champions) and 3 bitch specials (champions). Exhibitors use this information to help them determine whether there will be points within their entry.
Since judging programs are written immediately after the entries close, before any proofing or corrections are done, the numbers in the schedule could have some discrepancies between the time the program is written and the catalog is produced. If you are looking for an elusive point or a major and the totals are
borderline you may call the superintendent’s office a few days before the show to verify the total number of dogs or bitches. You are not permitted to find out, however, how many dogs or bitches are in your specific class.
WINNERS: The first-place winners in each of the regular classes compete for Winners. At the end of the dog classes Winners Dog and Reserve Winners Dog are chosen. At the end of the bitch classes Winners Bitch and Reserve Winners Bitch are chosen. The Winners Dog and Winners Bitch compete in the Best of Breed Competition for that breed at that show and compete against each other to determine the Best of Winners award. Championship points are awarded at the Winners level. If one goes Best of Winners or if it goes Best of Breed or Best of Opposite Sex from the classes it could affect the number of points it may get.
TROPHY TABLE: Located in the club area, this table has a display of certain trophies offered that day. Usually trophies are awarded in the ring. However, sometimes you will receive a trophy card in the ring at the time you receive your award. The card will usually note the award. Take that card to the trophy table and
give it to the person manning it. They may ask you to sign the card at the time they give you the trophy.
CATALOG: Each club must produce a show catalog. This book contains information about the showgiving club, a copy of the judging schedule and championship point schedule for that area and specific information about each dog entered and an index of the owners’ addresses in the back of the catalog. Some catalogs feature the owners’ addresses with the entry information. They are usually available at the club tables; sometimes the club also sells them at the admittance gates.
JUNIOR SHOWMANSHIP: This is a way for youngsters ages 9-18 to participate and compete against each other. In Junior Showmanship the handling abilities of the junior handler are judged, not the merits of the dog.
CLASSES: Another two-fold word. You enter your dog in one of the classes in order to be judged. For example, if you have a puppy, you may want to enter it in the Puppy Class. Puppy Classes are sometimes divided by age (6 months and under 9 months; 9 months and under 12 months). Once a dog has reached 12 months of age it is no longer considered a puppy. Classes may refer to the regular or non-regular offerings at the show. The “regular” classes that may be offered at a show are: Puppy, 12-18, Novice, Bred-by-Exhibitor, American-Bred, Open. Sometimes the word refers those judged prior to Best of Breed.
OBEDIENCE: These are classes that demonstrate a dog’s ability to take commands and perform certain exercises or patterns. The beginner classes are done with the dog on lead. The more advanced classes are done off lead. There are a number of titles Obedience dogs may obtain as they progress through the 11 classes at each level of experience and training.
RALLY: This is Obedience with a twist. The dog and handler must complete a course designed by the Rally judge. There are designated stations that provide instructions regarding the skill to be performed. Scoring is not as stringent as traditional obedience. And, unlike Obedience, handlers may talk to their dogs and encourage their dogs in a variety of ways. Teamwork is the key in Rally.
MATCH SHOW: There are no points available at these events. Clubs are required to have matches on their way to being approved. These types of matches are run like a point show and demonstrate the club’s ability to perform the duties required of a point show. A fun match is simply that: fun. Matches are good practice for you and your dog as well. This is an excellent way for you to understand judging procedure and your dog to be in a show situation. At a match you usually enter your dog that day and get your armband at the entry desk.
Gait - The way a dog moves; movement is a good indicator of structure, temperament and condition.
Pedigree - The written record of a dog's family tree of three generations or more.
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The American Kennel Club was established in 1884 to promote the study, breeding, exhibiting and advancement of purebred dogs. It is the largest not-for-profit purebred dog registry in the nation.
AKC approves and maintains the official records of over 11,000 sanctioned and licensed events each year. These events, which draw nearly two million entries annually, include dog shows, field trials, obedience trials, lure coursing, hunting tests, herding trials, tracking and coonhound events.
The AKC has approximately 500 member clubs and over 4,000 affiliated clubs. These clubs are more than show-giving entities. They are public service, educational organizations whose activities benefit their entire community. Some AKC club activities include: public education through school presentations, fairs, libraries, shelters, hospitals, rescue leagues, scouts and 4-H; training classes; and health clinics.
AKC registration means a dog, its parents, and its ancestors are purebred, but it does not indicate health or quality. Dogs registered with the AKC can have their offspring registered, compete in AKC events, and use AKC's full line of education and information services.
The World of Dog Shows
Showing dogs is a great sport where the thrill of competition is combined with the joy of seeing beautiful dogs. Dog shows are one of nine types of AKC dog events in which AKC-registered dogs can compete. Other AKC events include tests of instinct and trainability, such as field trials or herding tests.
At a dog show, the main consideration is the dog's conformation or overall appearance and structure.
AKC Events That your Dog Can Do--Worksheet
Register Your Dog with AKC
Showing Your Dog
AKC & Beyond
(Canine Good Citizen Program)
More AKC Education Resources